Kawasaki Teryx

Did you know you could actually go to your Kawasaki dealer and purchase the same products Josh Creamer and Chad Wienen used on their 2009 KFX450R racers? From Walsh Racecraft A-arms and Fox Shox to Pro Circuit engines and exhausts, the dealers sell and install these items as part of their Performance Parts Catalog.

Most of the LOORRS tracks are set up with huge, 100-foot table tops. They are built for an 800-horsepower truck to clear. At a top speed on the track of 57 mph, we jumped about halfway across.

The same can be said for Teryx UTVs as well. You can completely outfit any year Teryx with a host of performance parts, making it virtually race-ready, all through your dealer. Not only will the dealer do the installation, you can even finance some of the costs through them if you wish.

The Performance Parts Catalog has suspension packages from Dragon Fire Racing (DFR) equipped with Fox Shox or from Funco Motorsports equipped with King brand shocks. Other chassis components offered include ITP tires, DFR wheels, seats, bumpers, lights and racing roll cages.

For the engine compartment, Muzzy and DFR exhaust systems are available, as well as PWR radiators, Dalton Clutches, DFR intakes, ECU’s and EFI systems. Other odds and ends include Trail Tech instrument panels and billet rearview mirrors.

Luis Soto and other Kawasaki employees turned the wrenches on this modified Teryx project. All of the parts that were installed can be purchased and installed at your local Kawi dealer.

We had Kawasaki build us a full race Teryx that we could try out at the local round of the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series (LOORRS). The Limited class we entered is basically a bolt-on production class with an 800cc limit. LOORRS also has an Unlimited class that allows competitors to use custom chassis and fully modified motors.

For suspension, our car was outfitted with the Dragon Fire Black Magic suspension system and four Fox Racing Shox. The boxed A-arms are made out of stainless steel, are six-inches wider than stock and nearly double the stock suspension travel to 14 inches at both ends. The A-arms, extended tie-rods and shocks sell for a package price of $5180. A set of extended drive axles was also required for an additional $820.

The four corners of our car were outfitted with ITP’s brand-new short course race tires called Holeshot ATR, mounted on ITP’s C8 beadlock wheels. This tire has a Holeshot-type tread pattern and a rounded, low profile to provide instant hookup and improved cornering. For a desert car build-up, ITP’s BajaCross tires are also available through the Kawasaki catalog.

In the cockpit, the Kawasaki guys installed a host of other Dragon Fire Racing products, including a bucket seat ($384), a three-panel mirror ($200), a steering wheel with quick-release hub ($199), a quick-steer rack and pinion ($900) and a DFR competition roll cage. The cage bolts on, replacing the stock cage. However, per the LOORRS rule book, our cage had to be welded in place. More driver’s compartment safety items included a Master Craft five-point harness and window net.

To modify the engine while still staying within our Limited class rules, we installed a set of DFR high-compression pistons, a pair of Stage 2 camshafts, the DFR adjustable ECU ($2000), DFR’s 45mm throttle body set ($1500) and a Dalton Clutch kit at $350. A summit Racing fuel cell was mounted behind the driver’s compartment in the area that used to be the bottom of the dump bed. Which, by the way, was removed to save weight. We ran VP Racing fuel on race day.

After the race, we took the modified Teryx and drove some laps around our trail loop alongside our stock Teryx test unit to see how they compared. Performance was night and day better in the modified machine. With a thick set of skid plates and a larger fuel tank, this racer could compete in the desert just as well.

Editor Cain Smead was picked to race the modified Teryx at the Lake Elsinore round of LOORRS. Kawasaki sent him and mechanic Luis Soto to the track and hoped for good results. Luis had spent weeks bolting on the components and making sure the machine was going to win. Cain prepared by eating doughnuts, drinking Monster energy drinks and watching Nascar.

The race weekend had Smead and Soto competing in one main event each day. The competition in the Limited class was light, with one other similarly equipped Teryx and a modified Yamaha Rhino giving Cain any challenges. So we set our sights a little higher to see how many fully modified UTVs this Teryx racer could beat. That class was stacked with highly modified Teryxs, Rhinos and Polaris RZRs. All of the cars started and ran together on the track at the same time.

We took the modified Kawasaki Teryx to a local round of the Lucas Oil Off Road Race Series. Only days before the race, ITP shipped us a set of their new short-course racing tires to try out. The low profile helped us corner hard, and their rounded cap eliminated any unexpected high siding.

In between practice sessions, we had the Fox Shox engineers stiffen up the shocks to our liking. The 14 inches of travel made flat landings off the Lake Elsinore jumps pillow-soft. The low-speed compression was just stiff enough to slow down body roll in the corners. We ended up with a good race setup that flew straight off the jumps, cornered well and landed plushly.

If we had a little more time to test, we would have lowered the ride height and added some high-speed compression dampening to soak up any on-track mistakes we made. You never know when you might get out of a corner slowly and not have enough drive to make a double jump or even over-jump a table top. This is when you need that extra bit of dampening to soak up a hard landing.

For basically a stock-sized motor, the DFR-equipped V-twin was faster than every UTV in the Limited class and many in the Modified class. The DFR dual-exhaust system was loud, but not too loud for a racing situation.

Power mods from all of the DFR components allowed us to reach a top speed of 57.8 mph down the front and back straights of the Elsinore track.

Out of the corners, the engine and tires had great hookup in the loose and packed terrain. There was not enough power to pull the front wheels off the ground, but that would not have been good for cornering anyway.

When you have a full roll cage, five-point seat belt and a window net, you feel a lot safer and can drive more aggressively than in a stocker. We ended up beating all of the Limited class machines both days and half of the Unlimited UTVs as well. With a few more miles of fine-tuning on the shocks and slightly more horsepower, Cain claims he could have ran with the leaders of the Unlimited class for sure.

After the race, we took the machine home to drive it on some of our local trails alongside a stock Teryx. In a drag race, the modified unit got a killer holeshot over the stocker. By the end of a 100-foot run, the stocker was topping out at 48.1 mph, while the racer was still accelerating at over 55 mph.

We were surprised how well the short-course racer did in a desert setting. We took the Teryx around our desert test track with awesome results. We feel with a larger fuel cell and some thicker skid plates, plus a slight clutch modification (for more top speed), we could take this machine to a desert race and do as well as we did on the Lake Elsinore short course.
Kawasaki did an awesome job sourcing the right products and suppliers to include in their Performance Parts Catalog.

From suspension and tires to engine and safety mods, if you have the need to soup up your Kawasaki Teryx, spend a little extra time right at your Kawasaki dealer. Visit the www.kawasakiteryx.com site to find out even more. You can also find out more about the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series at www.lucasoiloffroad.com. Or check out www.dirtwheelsmag.com for more pictures from the race and desert test.

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