ATVs throwing serious dirt By Juli Moore/Dirt n Dunz Photography
The Professional Sand Drag Association (PSDA) brought world-record ATV sand drags back to the West Coast for the Arizona ATV Nationals. This race was held at Dome Valley Raceway just outside of Yuma, Arizona. After a three-year lapse on the West Coast, this event had racers from across the country getting bikes ready to compete at the highest level. This is where world records are set! Racers from all over the U.S. and Puerto Rico traveled through snow and ice to participate at the sunny Southwest track.
The PSDA does everything possible to make sure that it is an even playing field for all racers involved regardless of the location of the track. Bikes are entered into classes based on displacement, as well as index times. These are factored with test passes down the track, fuel checks and weigh-ins. Power adders like nitrous and nitromethane are common at these events.
Just like horse racing, a lot of bike builders and owners use “jockeys” to try and get their bike to go as fast as possible. With titanium and carbon fiber chassis components, these bikes often weigh under 200 pounds ready to race, not counting the lightweight jockey riding them. Horsepower is all over the board with bikes from 80 to over 500 horsepower. You will see ATV, snowmobile, and street bike engines in every shape and size filling the pits.
Thursday started off with a bracket class with $2000 for first place. It was a popular race with many entries. Oregon’s Andy Seiver ultimately won the $2000 pot. Friday was the kick-off to the Limited classes, which does not allow nitrous or nitro to be run. Many of the bikes will compete in both the limited and unlimited classes, removing the nitrous and power-adding fuels to compete in these races.
When a record time has been run, the racer must immediately come to the race tower and get their fuel checked for specific gravity by one of the PSDA board members. After that, they will get their time slip signed to make their record time official. In order to set a world record, you must back it up with a second pass within 2-percent of the original time.
Weight is everything in this kind of racing. Racers wanted to have a class where everyone could afford to build a motor and race their own bike. Therefore, the 450/475 class was brought to life. In this event, the weight of the rider and bike combined cannot be under 450 pounds, and the bike can be no more than 475cc. Weigh-ins are required after every winning pass. If they are less than 450 pounds, they are disqualified. On Saturday afternoon, Brett Sanderson with ATVDragRacer.com and Brad Christophersen with SanddragR oversaw the weigh-ins and organized the donations for the cash pot. With big money up for grabs and bragging rights, previous winner Andy Seiver won the 450/475cc class and claimed another $2000 in the winner-take-all race.
As the temperatures dropped in the evening, the excitement grew as the Unlimited bikes came out to try and set their record time in the cool night air. With passes running to the early hours of Sunday morning, several bikes went 300 feet in just a little over 3 seconds and over 100 mph, so imagine an entire football field in less than 3 seconds. Overall, it was a very successful trip for most, with several world records being set and raising the bar a little higher for the next racer.
There are two more PSDA drag races scheduled for the 2021 season: PSDA Bourbon Nationals at Little Sandy Raceway, Grayson, Kentucky, on June 8–11, 2021; and PSDA Cajun Nationals at the Northeast Louisiana Sand Drags, Gilbert, Louisiana, on October 18–23, 2021.