By: Jason Giacchino
February 2010 - Off The Pegs
The Ultimate Guide to
Dear ATV Source:
I was wondering if you could help me out with
understanding the types of ATV racing and
equipment needed to compete. I’ve wanted to race
for a few seasons now but get overwhelmed when I
read about all of the different series/quad set
Absolutely, we’re here to help. It can be
understandably intimidating not to mention
frustrating in trying to make sense of the many
ATV classes and quad configurations to consider.
Let’s start by dismissing the common
misconception that to be competitive, your quad
has to be extensively modified. There was a time
when this was the case (back when racers were
competing on 2-strokes), but these days there
are literally dozens of bone-stock quads that
can hold their own in motocross competition on
down to hare scrambles and poker runs. The key
is to determine which type of terrain you feel
most comfortable with.
Safety gear is critical in just about any
form of competition (much of which should be
considered even when trail riding). Obviously a
full-face helmet, goggles, gloves, a long
sleeved jersey and boots that extend over the
ankles are all a must. We’re also advocates of
as much protection as humanly possible and
recommend a neck protector or at the very least
a chest protector (to deflect roost).
As far as the machine itself is concerned,
most forms of ATV competition require a tether
cable/ kill switch which turns off the quad’s
ignition should rider and ATV go their separate
ways. This is something you may wish to ask the
track promoter before installing as the
requirement varies from facility to facility.
Likewise, racing with close quarter situations
will most always require the use of nerf bars/
nets to prevent pileups when bumping together.
Again, if in doubt, call or e-mail the promoter
Finally, noise pollution has been a major
factor at many facilities of late so keep that
in mind when setting up your ATV. Most stock
systems meet the minimum sound requirements
98-96 dB, but not all aftermarket setups do.
Have your system tested before race day if in
Head of the Class
Next up is to do a little research to the
type of classes the facility you’re considering
offers. If you’re a mini rider, it’s unlikely
you’re going to be lining up against a row of
450s. Likewise you probably don’t want to have
to run down a field of Banshees in your Side x
Side. Check the track’s website or place a call
to find out how the ATV classes break down and
don’t be afraid to ask specifically where you
would fall in based on your machine’s
displacement, riding experience, age and so on.
At this phase it may not be a bad idea to
inquire about number plates/number requirements.
Some tracks make different classes
distinguishable by the background of the number
plate and others have requirements as to the
size of the numbers on your plates for scoring
purposes. Be sure to ask.
The Major Players
While the country (actually, the world) has
more local tracks than we could possibly delve
into here, let’s talk about some of the larger
series in the U.S. that allow riders of nearly
every skill level to enter.
GNCC/ Grand National
Each of the 13 GNCC rounds has a first-time
racer class that doesn’t pay series points.
Additionally, these races have classes for
different age groups, engine displacements, and
experience (like novice, amateur, expert, and so
on). They offer classes for 50cc minis up to
AMA ATV Hare Scrambles
Ten classes (but not
minis/minimum age class is 16), the AMA ATV Hare
Scrambles series goes ten rounds on courses that
are at least 5-miles in length. Like all
AMA-sanctioned events, AMA membership is
required ($39) and can be acquired at the event.
AMA Hare & Hound
These events are structured
similarly to the AMA’s Hare Scrambles events
except there are only two classes (A&B), and
courses can be very long (loops sometimes
stretching for 40 miles). Fuel consideration and
rider hydration can definitely be factors at
these events. Like always, AMA card is required.
WORCS/ World Off-Road Championship
Eleven Adult and 18 Youth
classes means it’s pretty much impossible not to
find a class to compete in here. They also offer
practice from 8-10 a.m. on Saturday with the
official racing starting at 7:45 a.m. on Sunday.
Unlike a GNCC event, however, you pay for each
class you enter in WORCS.
SCORE and Best in the Desert
(BITD) are, like you might have guessed, desert
racing promoters. They offer several ATV & UTV
classes as well as classes for off-road trucks,
cars, buggies, and so on. Expect a pretty
thorough tech inspection as high speeds and
wide-open spaces don’t mix well with
unreliable/unsafe vehicles. Pits are mandatory
as are chase trucks, so preparation is the name
of the game if planning to race one of these
Amateurs have the option of
racing all eleven rounds with eight of them
counting toward championships. There are a
whopping 31 amateur classes from which to choose
ranging from 50cc minis to 450A. Each class runs
two motos and tech specs are enforced (50- inch
maximum width/ 98 dB exhaust). Like all AMA
sanctioned events, AMA membership is required.
Extreme Dirt Track, TT, Supermoto and so on
There are a variety of other racing
disciplines that we lack the space to cover
including flat track and Supermoto (racing on a
track blending pavement with dirt). The key is
to do a little online research to determine
requirements, entry fees, race dates, and times.
Here are a few other links to check out: