2023 DUNEFEST: BANSHEES, BIKES AND, YES, UTVs HAVE TAKEN OVER HERE, TOO

By the staff of Dirt Wheels

For 20 years the event known as DuneFest has been the yearly gathering of OHV sand addicts on the Oregon coast at Winchester Bay. In the past it has been focused more heavily on the ATV and dirt bike crowd. For 2023, the event saw a new owner—Lockdown Performance—take on the task of producing the huge event.  Lockdown Performance is a company based in the Pacific Northwest, like Red Bull, that promotes events, as well as sells an energy drink (i.e., Infiniti). According to the people we spoke to, this year had some growing pains, and a few things needed improvement. Sure, it’s not the same as it once was, but hardly anything is anymore. 

The show-and-shine is always a favorite of ours. Here you can see all of the coolest machines in one place. The vendors like it, as it brings people by their booths.

There’s a new way to buy or sell your used machine. ToyTrader.com will list and promote your ATV/UTV on their site to a worldwide audience interested in exactly what you are selling. Looking to buy? Check them out first, as their inventory is always growing.

On the good side, the Winchester Bay area has numerous places to camp—from dry sand spots to grass-lined, harbor-view RV parks that you could ride to and from the event. The event was well attended, the weather was perfect, the vendor area was packed at times, the activities were exciting and the dunes were great for riding. As usual, we recommend attending events like this if you want to get familiar with a new area or to meet up with old friends. With all of the camping and the entrance being on one end of the ride area, it was actually easy to head out to the dunes a mile or two and have relatively smooth sand and no crowds. However, head back north near the lakes and Banshee Hill and things got crowded. It’s the same at Camp RZR. The closer you get to the store or vendor village, the busier it gets; the further away from it all, the quieter.

The engine and front nose piece and a small section of frame are all that’s left on the custom Yamaha Raptor drag machine. The old-versus-new drag race was too close to call this time. Next year’s DuneFest will be held July 30th through August 4th, 2024.
We spotted the team at Shock Therapy at DuneFest testing a new electronically controlled sway-bar link. We are told it will work similar to Live Valve shocks. We just hope it will have a full disconnect mode, too.
At any event, we try to scour the booths looking for new products to feature in the magazine. This is a hub tool by Gambit Off-Road (www.gambitoffroad.com) that will allow you to drive your UTV back to camp in the event you break and need to remove an axle. It works on Can-Am X3s and most RZRs, including the new ones with unitized hubs. Equip any tool bag for you or your friends by calling (209) 743-7558. Tell them Dirt Wheels Magazine sent you.
Segway reps were rolling around the Oregon dunes testing a hop-up kit for the Villain. We are looking forward to getting more seat time in this machine. You can watch our first test video on our YouTube page: www.youtube.com @UTVActionMagazine.

 

We were there, set up in the vendor area, to hand out magazines, talk to life-long readers, as well as discover new products. Here’s a quick glimpse of what 2023 DuneFest was all about.

Winchester Bay goes by the nickname “Windy Bay” and is known for this iconic landscape feature, “Banshee Hill.” Back in the day, only Banshees could shoot through the trees and make it to the top. Over time, the sand has been relocated by thousands of paddle tires from the top to the bottom. It’s still our first stop when heading out deep into the dunes.
Infinity Huck winner @Matthew_mann234 shows off the mods he made to his RZR that let him fly so high yet land so soft. You are going to start seeing bump-stops on side-by-sides more often in the future. If you need a set, Elka sells them at www.elkasuspension.com.

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