PROJECT UTV: Monster Energy RZR XP 1000

We have featured a lot of custom RZRs over the last few years. They are by far one the most popular offroad machines sold today. With tens of thousands of them in service, it’s easy to find out what minor things can go wrong with them over time. So when you are building a desert race machine, you want to make sure all of those little issues are addressed before you take the green flag. If a $20 part ruins a race that you spent $2000 to enter and thousands more to prepare for, you would not be happy. So when Matt Burroughs, an employee at Monster Energy, built his Polaris RZR XP 1000 to go racing in the Best in the Desert series, he did his homework and set up the race car not to fail.


After getting his feet wet in the Pure UTV series ( in California City, California, Burroughs made his first of many good decisions by teaming up with SxS Performance (www.sxsperformance .com), a local Southern California shop that specializes in race and play cars and has a lot of connections to get additional support. The shop secured seats and storage from PRP for the race car, as well as OMF NXG2 beadlock wheels and 30×10-15 GBC Mongrel tires. For the nighttime action, KC Highlights lighting
were ordered as well and placed up front in two locations and facing rearward as warning brake and taillights. These components can be purchased for any brand race or play UTV at great prices directly through SxS Performance by calling (855) 7977373.


If you just go to the line of people not finishing races in a UTV desert race and ask them what took them out, you will have a varied list of small items. This goes for any brand and any style of race machine. Desert races are that brutal. On this RZR Burroughs has covered all his bases. Along with typical prep, Burroughs has learned to replace all shock and A-arm bolts for every race. He now uses grade 8 automotive hardware. This is the same attention to detail the Trophy Truck teams do. Another $2 part Burroughs pays attention to is the front transmission seal that has known to work itself loose in a long, hot race. Burroughs places J-B Weld on the seal so it doesn’t back out. In the Silver State 300 this past spring, the front tubular engine mount cracked so it is now replaced with a $149 UTV Inc. mount. Both fuel-injector wires have been replaced with new plugs and wires from Napa (part #EC264). All four castle nuts on the axles have been equipped with ultra -strong cotter pins, and the axles are shimmed to the perfect length. ARP wheel studs replaced the stockers for even more strength. Finally, the four power-steering motor bolts have been replaced and Loctited in place.

Monster wheel

Cognito suspension is used underneath the car to give it a little extra travel and extend the wheelbase a few inches. In off-road racing you want wheelbase. It equates to a smoother ride. That’s why you see some racers start out with a four-seat chassis and convert it into a two-seater. The double A-arms up front and trailing arms in the rear are outfitted with Fox 2.5- and 3-inch shocks, respectively. These are the race-spec shocks with full adjustments, dualrate springs and crossover rings. You can’t get a more sensitive shock package than this. The sway bar was upgraded with a Currie unit with new mounts. The longer axles are supplied by Summer Bros.

Monsterdash MonsterSeat

To be legal for desert racing, you have to do much more than install an aftermarket roll cage. The cage itself must be made of better material and be welded to the chassis well below the stock mounting point. This car is not unlike many others, which gets all-new tubing, except the lower frame rails and upper shock mounts, which must remain in the stock location to fit within the rules. Vendetta Motorsports took care of all this fab work. They also relocated a 20-gallon Harmon fuel cell behind the driver’s seat and relocated the PWR radiator back there as well. The driver is closely protected with window nets and five -point seat belts. PRP took care of those duties in this car, as well as the large racing seats.


When you climb into the cockpit of this racer, you feel like a caged animal. There’s safety gear all around you, so you don’t feel one bit vulnerable. The stock keyed ignition brings the beast to life. Burroughs left the engine completely stock in his racer, so the ride here is more about suspension than anything else. You can pretty much stab the throttle and hold the engine wide open over any terrain. The shocks and tires soak up holes more than a foot deep without even feeling the shocks move. The 2- and 3-foot-deep bumps and G-outs can be taken at speed as well. If the machine does bottom out, the car doesn’t kick or get out of shape in any way. Plus, it will hit a 3/8-inch-thick Factory UTV skid plate, totally protecting the underbelly. It tracks straight forward, and the Momo steering wheel gives you much more of a race car feel than the stock plastic wheel does. The car doesn’t feel tippy or top heavy around corners. The Currie sway bar and low-speed shock tuning lets you set the car up for turns and drive right through them. Acceleration out of the corners is good too, as long as you can keep some momentum up. With any CVT belt-driven car, you don’t want to be hard on the throttle out of corners. Anything over half throttle will usually just put unwanted stress on the belt, or spin the tires too hard to get traction. The key to making a belt last, especially in long desert races or rides, is to roll on the throttle and not stomp on it. That tip will win a lot of races for people.

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