2004 RACING SEASON PREVIEW–FEB 26
The 2004 ATV racing season will be the busiest ever. There are over ten major series offering number one plates for champions. If you have ever wanted to test your skills on the track, this is the year to do it. All of the sanctioning bodies we’ll cover offer classes from bone stock beginners to the seasoned veterans and high-paid pros. It is conceivable that you could criss-cross the country and race a major ATV event every weekend throughout the year. That was unheard of a few years ago.
Of course, the big series to look into are the ATVA Nationals. Some people might get intimidated by the name “Nationals”; however, you don?t have to be. It?s not like you have to qualify to race or anything; just show up, pay your entry fee, pick a class that best suits your ability, and race. Plus there is a National series for every type of racing; motocross, TT, flat track and cross-country. It?s a chance to race against lots of competition with riders from all over the country.
The big news for the year on the National scene is expansion. For the first time in over fifteen years, the MX series will travel west of the Rockies. Round one will be in San Bernardino, California, at Glen Helen Raceway. Then the series travels to another new venue in Gainesville, Florida, for round two a month later. The racing circuit will then make its usual stops in the eastern states including Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Maryland and more. The final will be back at Loretta Lynn?s ranch in Tennessee around mid-August.
Other headlines include the return of factory supported riders. Doug Gust and Tim Farr will be trying to give Suzuki and Honda a title in the Pro class. Yamaha has a host of racers riding blue and has the best shot at a title. Kory Ellis made a good showing last year aboard the Yamaha and the Ironman, John Natalie, is looking like the guy to beat for 2004. He will also be riding a Yamaha YFZ450. This year, there will be only one premier pro class that is based on production rules. That means stock frames and stock engines have to be used. The amateurs will still be able to run their aftermarket equipment. However, there are new Amateur Production classes as well. Check out the complete list of rules and classes at atvaonline.com
TT & SHORT TRACK
As always, the guy to beat on the TT circuit is Shane Hitt. The West Virginia resident also landed some Factory Blue sponsorship and should be unstoppable on his YFZ450. He will have some competition from Jackie Meadows on his Kawasaki and Honda?s Tim Farr, who will be going for the TT title in addition to MX. Again for the pros, production rules apply. No aftermarket frames and no motorcycle engines. Displacement is limited to 450cc.
This season will run from May thru October and the races are usually under the lights on small stock car tracks. Travel for these races will be limited to the East Coast except for the final round in Brashear, Texas, on October 16th.
Like the MX schedule, the cross-country circuit will start off the season with a brand new venue. They will travel west to Gilmer, Texas, for the opener. Then it?s business as usual with stops in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Virginia and many more eastern and midwest states. The season ends up in Crawfordsville, Indiana, late October.
A completely different crop of riders are shooting for the cross-country crown. Defending champion Bill Ballance has switched from his trusty LRD 250R to a new factory Yamaha YFZ450 along with Chad Duvall. William Yokley will be the only other factory hotshoe in the Pro class aboard his Yoshimura Suzuki Z400. Again, Production frame and engine rules apply. However, there is no displacement limit for the cross-country riders.
Kawasaki has the amateur, 4×4 and utility fields covered with their hand-selected Team Green riders. Most of them are riding V-Forces and Prairie 700s.
In this series it is not unusual to see 500 racers on the ten-mile tracks at one time. But don?t worry, there is room to pass or be passed. Plus, like skill levels are on the track together.
At every event there is a race that starts at 10 a.m. with all the amateurs, women, 4x4s, utilities and seniors vets. Then at 1 p.m., after the course is good and chewed up, the pros take the field. Along with the pros run the expert A and B riders.
12 HOURS OF ATV AMERICA
Just after the ATVA Nationals wrap up in October, Fast Trak Promotions holds the biggest money race of the year?the Maxxis 12 Hours of ATV America in Fort Dodge, Iowa. This team race combines the skills of motocross, TT and cross-country into one event. Three-rider teams compete for a purse in excess of $30,000.
This year there will be three six-hour events throughout the year as a prelude to the 12 hours. Winning teams of the 6-Hour events receive a free entry to the 12-Hour (except pros).
Last year, riders from all over the nation came to test their skills. Cross-country riders Chris Borich, Matt Smiley and Mike Krachen took home the cash. Check www.atvscene.com for more info.
NATIONAL QUAD RACING ASSOCIATION
New on the racing calendar this year is the NQRA. The same people who bring you the Virginia Beach race every spring have a full schedule of racing this year. Starting off the season, round one will take place during Daytona?s Bike Week and the series will travel up and down the eastern seaboard and it will end up on Labor Day weekend in Georgia. Plans are in the works to expand the NQRA into a true “National” series in the future. The NQRA will have classes and racing for MX, TT and drags, with the drags being scored separately. Call the NQRA for more details at (866) 851-4415.
We haven?t got word yet on rules or prize money figures yet; however, since most of the NQRA races do not conflict with the ATVA Nationals, there should be a solid pro turnout at most rounds. And, of course, Dirt Wheels will be there to cover this year?s beach race on May first and second. Don?t miss it.
WORLD OFF ROAD CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES
The WORCS is fast becoming the premiere offroad stage in the West. In only its third full season of existence, WORCS is a major alternative to
the ATVA Cross-Country series. Amateurs race one-hour motos on five to ten-mile grand prix style courses on Saturdays, while the Pros compete for eighty minutes on Sundays. For 2004, new Utility and Production classes have been added.
The WORCS schedule runs from January through October with two regions of competition. At selected centrally located rounds both regions compete head to head. Region one has stops in California, Nevada, Arizona, Washington, Utah and Idaho. Region two competes in its own rounds in Colorado and Texas while sharing the Nevada, Utah, Arizona and Idaho rounds. Even though Doug Eichner dominated the first two years of WORCS racing, many riders and manufacturers want to take the title away from him and Honda. Find out more of the details at www.worcsracing.com
DESERTSCORE and Best In The Desert are the two premier titles to contend for in this arena. SCORE runs three races a year in Baja Mexico, which is not far from Southern California. The races range from a short 250-mile sprint to the grueling Baja 1000-mile test. In SCORE races, pro teams can have as many riders as they need to be competitive. The rules are wide open. No chassis or engine limits here. John Gregory won the title last year with the help of the new Honda TRX450R (see story elsewhere in this issue) and Jimmy Stephenson had the crown before that. Look for Stephenson to be back on top this year with his new very high-speed, chain-driven Skat Trak V-Force 700. Check out www. score-international.com
In BITD racing the pro teams are limited to two riders; however, machine rules are kept open. This series races in the deserts of Nevada and Arizona. They have four rounds to compete in, with courses in the 200 to 500-mile range.
The big news that came from last year is when William Yokley beat all the other pro teams by himself on his cross-country Yoshimura/Elka/ITP, Suzuki Z400. Amazing. Other hot names in the Best In The Desert series are Greg Stuart, Doug Eichner, Jimmy Stephenson and Wayne Mattlock.
At this level, desert racing is for expert and pro riders only. The ATVs run on the same track at the same time as 130-mile per hour racecars and trucks. To race in the desert you need a large support crew and lots of cash. Entry fees alone can be $500-$1000. To find out more go to www.bitd.com
CA REGIONAL EVENTS
Two local series in California are gathering lots of attention these days. For motocross it?s the ITP Quad Cross series at Glen Helen Raceway in Southern California. Quad Cross has seen upwards of 400 different riders in the first year alone.
Top pros like Kory Ellis, Jeremy Schell, and Doug Eichner make regular appearances at Quad Cross. In the near future the Quad Cross series plans to expand to other tracks in the SoCal area. See www.itpquad
Plus, on April 18th Glen Helen will hold the 20th annual White Brothers World Four-Stroke Motocross. For info on this event, go to www.glen
The other local series making a presence lately is the AMA Big Six Grand Prix series. Dirt Wheels uses these one-hour races as a test bed to test out the durability of new products and setups. Last year, Kawasaki contracted Jeremy Schell to race the series aboard a V-Force 700. He was the only factory ATV rider racing strictly in California. This series offers all ATV classes and runs on a monthly schedule with a break during the hot summer months. Go to www.district37ama.org/big6/
ATVA National MX
1 Feb 7-8 San Bernardino, CA
2 Mar 6-7 Gainesville, FL
3 Mar 20-21 Lizella, GA
4 April 3-4 Ringgold, VA
5 April 17-18 Leonardtown, MD
6 May 1-2 Blountville, TN
7 May 22-23 Buchanan, MI
8 June 5-6 Casey, IL
9 June 19-20 Pennsylvania
10 July 3-4 London, KY
11 July 31-Aug 1 Southwick, MA
12 Aug 14-15 Hurricane Mills, TN
ATVA National TT & ST
1 May 15-16 Orrville, OH
Also holding Short Track Round 1
2 July 10 Ringgold, VA
3 July 24-25 Ashtabula, OH
4 Aug 28-29 Elizabeth City, NC
Also holding Short Track Round 2
5 Sept 11-12 Paducah, KY
Also holding Short Track Round 3
6 Sept 25 Greenbrier, AR
7 Oct 16 Brashear, TX
ATVA National Cross-Country
1 Jan 31-Feb 1 Gilmer, TX
2 Feb 29-Mar 2 Palatka, FL
3 Mar 6-7 Washington, GA
4 Mar 20-21 Morganton, NC
5 Apr 3-4 Union, SC
6 Apr 17-18 Hurricane Mills, TN
7 May 1-2 Sparta, KY
8 May 15-16 Valley View, PA
9 June 12-13 Petersburg, VA
10 June 26-27 McHenry, MD
11 July 10-11 Millfield, OH
12 Sep 25-26 TBA
13 Oct 9-10 St. Clairsville, OH
14 Oct 23-24 Crawfordsville, IN
NATIONAL QUAD RACING ASSOCIATION
1 Feb 27-29 Orlando, FL MX & TT
2 Mar 12-14 Montgomery, AL MX & Drag
3 April 24-25 Wilson, NC TT
4 May 1-2 VA Beach, VA MX & Drag
5 June 12-14 Richmond, VA TT
6 July 16-18 Tremont, PA MX
7 Aug 21-22 Budds Creek, MD TT
8 Sept 3-6 Washington, GA MX/TT/Drag
WORLD OFF-ROAD CHAMPIONSHIPS SERIES
1 Jan 16-18 reg 1-2 Mesquite, NV
2 Feb 20-22 reg 2 Austin, TX
3 Mar 12-14 reg 1-2 Lake Havasu, AZ
4 Mar 26-28 reg 1 Goldendale, WA
5 April 16-18 reg1-2 Price, UT
6 April 30-May 1 reg 2 Ignacio, CO
7 May 21-23 reg1 Milford, CA
8 June 11-13 reg 1 Washougal, WA
9 Sept. 3-5 reg 1-2 Monticello, UT
10 Sept 17-19 reg 1-2 Payette, ID
11 Oct 15-17 reg 1 Devore, CA
12 Oct 29-31 reg 2 Decatur, TX
1 Feb 27-28 San Felipe, Baja Mexico
2 June 4-6 Ensenada, Baja Mexico
3 Nov 18-21 Baja Mexico
www.score-international.com (818) 225-8402
BEST IN THE DESERT
1 Jan 9-10 Parker, AZ
2 April 23-25 Pahrump, NV
3 June 24-27 Las Vegas, NV
4 Dec 3-5 Las Vegas, NV
1 Jan 18 Glen Helen Raceway. San Bernardino, CA
2 Feb 21 Los Angeles County Raceway, CA
3 March 13 Los Angeles County Raceway, CA
4 April 4 Glen Helen Raceway. San Bernardino, CA
5 May 2 Glen Helen Raceway. San Bernardino, CA
1 June 27 Glen Helen Raceway. San Bernardino, CA
2 July 17 Los Angeles County Raceway, CA 3 Aug 1 Glen Helen Raceway. San Bernardino, CA
4 Sept 18 Los Angeles County Raceway, CA
5 Oct 24 Glen Helen Raceway. San Bernardino, CA
6 Dec 5 Glen Helen Raceway. San Bernardino, CA
AMA BIG 6 GRAND PRIX
California (714) 377-0609
1 Jan 1 Taft
2 Mar 6 Glen Helen
3 April 3 29 Palms
4 May 1 Mojave
5 Oct 2 Ridgecrest
6 Nov 11 Gorman
Maxxis 6 Hours of ATV America Preliminaries:
1 Feb 28 Greenville, TX – Caddo Point Motorsports Park
2 TBA Washington, GA – (tentative)
3 TBA Rausch Creek, PA – (tentative)
Maxxis 12 Hours of ATV America – Oct 30, 2004
1 TBA Fort Dodge,IA