PROJECT ATV: Desert Dueler Honda Tank

Themed race machines are common in both monster truck and boat racing, but it’s not really heard of in the ATV world. That is until we ran into Fasst Company’s Colt Brinkerhoff. For the 2013 National Hare and Hound season, Brinkerhoff contested the season on board a nicely styled, John Deere-themed Honda TRX450R. Not only did the machine garner some attention from fans and competitors, it helped him win the season’s championship.

This season, with the help of his counterparts from Fasst Company and the graphics design work of Sam Holmes of Dirt Fiend Racing, they have come up with a new race quad, dubbed “The Tank”!

BACKSTORY
Going back a few years, Colt has had successful seasons aboard Hondas in motocross racing. Taking a pro championship in 2010 in the local Utah Motocross Series was a dream come true and set the tempo for bigger dreams. In 2011, he decided to chase the Yamaha Quad-X series, where he would finish the season with a sixth overall in the Production 450 Pro class. The following year he bettered himself for a fifth overall in the Production 450 Pro-class points.

Flash-forward to 2013: Colt Brinkerhoff was in his first full season of the National Hare and Hound season aboard his 2005 John Deerethemed Honda TRX450R. With some great competition from the Southern California racers, along with twotime champion Andy Lagzdins going for another championship in 2013, Colt would have his hands full. Most of the NHHA races are held in the treacherous desert of Johnson Valley OHV Recreation Area in California, along with rounds in Utah and Nevada. Johnson Valley is known for its rock fields and cross-grain whoops that can test the mental and physical ability of top athletes. There were great battles all season long, with Colt and Andy swapping the points lead, but it was Colt who came home with a championship in his first rookie season. Colt stated, “I had some ups and downs, but in the end, it was all worth it. I couldn’t have made this season successful without the encouragement of friends and family. My sponsors are the only reason I am able to do this. The equipment that I choose is key for me to finish these races, and it really shows, making the podium every race but one.”

THE BUILD
The Tank started out being a $1300 purchase from a friend of Colt’s. “It was a very clean, stock 2005 TRX that I knew could be a championship-winning machine,” stated Brinkerhoff. With the military in mind and a picture of a tank he found on the web, his build would be one for the record books. Colt entrusted Dirt Fiend Racing’s Sam Holmes with the tank graphics, as they have sponsored him for quite a few years and have made some amazing designs for him in the past. Sam did a great job on the design, as it really brought the tank theme to life.

Adorned with desert-storm colors and Rosie the Riveter highlighting the IMS oversized gas tank, this machine was ready for battle. Maier Mfg. came through with their great-fitting, full-plastic kit with race-cut front fenders. A FourWerx carbon fiber hood really pulls this tactical-looking quad together with its futuristic and very lightweight construction. Stitch Craft of St. George made a great hump seat to keep the rider planted in the perfect position. C&J Powder Coating handled all of the tan powdercoating to match The Tank.

THE GOODS
Colt prefers running the standard six-ply, 23-inch-tall Maxxis Razrs up front and 22-inch rears for ground clearance. Those combined with the GPS Off-Road Products’ Goldspeed wheels and Tire Blocks are a must to finish races in the desert, since flats are a very common problem in the NHHA; this combo is what helped Colt win a championship. The bike is fully suspended with Exit Shocks and ARS FX suspension arms, along with an ARS FX linkage and a antivibe steering stem for a very plush ride. A Lone Star Racing Axcaliber axle and front and rear hubs keep the strength up for the tough terrain. Fasst Company/Flexx handlebars take all of the chop, vibration and arm pump out of the equation. A’ME 1.2 Lock-On grips are installed for maximum comfort and grip.

A Fastway Stage 3 steering stabilizer keeps the quad on the straight and narrow with great damping and adjustability, as well as Fastway Flak handguards. CRF Poly frame and sprocket guards along with a VGR rear rotor guard are installed to keep critical parts protected. Moto-Xperts handled the cylinder head work, with a Vertex piston, Hot Cam Stage 2, Hot Rod crank, 43mm Keihin carburetor, and a DT1 air filter, making this a killer powerplant. Colt relies solely on AMSOIL for all of his fluids. He states, “They have a great synthetic formula that is unmatched for the long races.” A full LSR exhaust system really cranks the power out with a great sound and keeps the power flowing. Hinson handled the clutch plates and basket. This works out to be great in the desert with how much you use the clutch. Works Connection makes a great engine plug dress-up kit and front-brake reservoir cover. Sprocket Specialist has a trick, rear aluminum sprocket that is a split design, with their steel front sprocket and an EK chain. Fasst Company’s rear brake clevis and rear-brake return spring take up any slop out of the stock parts, along with adding incredible rearbrake feel. Rath Racing has been a long-time sponsor of Colt’s, and he prefers their XC peg and heel guards, as well as their grab bar/bumper, which really help finish off the list of components.

RIDING A TANK
We met up with Colt prior to one of his races in Johnson Valley, California. Ironically, this is the same piece of land the Marine Corps is trying to acquire so they can test the next generation of military vehicles. If you have never ridden a desert quad before, the first thing you’ll notice is how big it feels. It’s kind of like taking the fenders off of a 4×4 quad and narrowing up the seat. But once you get about five miles into a ride, you start appreciating its mass, especially in the desert. Along with adding usable ground clearance, the larger-diameter tires really help you roll over rocks and step over square-edge bumps. Of course, the shocks help too. The massive amounts of travel, these Exit shocks and ARS FX arms soak up the whoops really well. Whoops in the desert are not like anything you have ever seen on an MX track or even on sand trails through the woods. They are big. Some are created by 38–40-inch-tall truck tires, so they will normally swallow up a standard trail quad. You still have to stand up when you ride through the whoops on this machine, but it does it with ease. You can clip the tops of some whoops and carry the front end over a few on occasion, but normally you just drive through them, with the quad only occasionally leaving the ground.

This big Honda turned well. You could carve the tighter turns easily and navigate through the rock gardens with precision. We still think we will see some sort of electronic power-steering system on a sport quad someday. It will act as a damper, but for now, we really love the added suspension qualities of the Fasst Co. Flexx handlebars. If you haven’t tried them, you need to. And, if you put them on a cool custom-themed quad like Colt Brinkerhoff’s The Tank, we would like to see it.

CONTACTS
Fasst Company……………….www.fasstco.com………………………………… 877-306-1801
Moto X-Perts…………………….www.moto-xperts.com………………………… 765-230-0514
Pivot Works,……………………..www.pivotworks.com………………………….. 515-402-8000
Lonestar Racing………………www.lsracing.com……………………………. 800-4LSRACE
Hinson………………………………www.hinsonracing.com……………………… 909-946-2942
IMS Products……………………www.imsproducts.com……………………….. 800-237-9906
ZBROZ Racing…………………www.zbrozracing.com………………………… 435-753-7774
GPS Products…………………..www.gpsoffroadproducts.com……………. 855-643-8473
Maxxis Tires……………………..www.maxxis.com
Maier Plastics…………………..www.maier-mfg.com…………………………. 800-33-Maier
Four Werx Carbon ………….www.fwcarbon.com……………………………. 262-501-9696
Dirt Fiend Racing ……………www.dirtfiendracing.com…………………… 888-777-8068
Sprocket Specialists ………..www.sprocketspecialists.com……………… 800-782-8200
Stitch Craft Seats …………….www.stitchcraftcustomupholstery.com.435-673-0783
CRF………………………………………………………………………………………………… 435-669-8563
VGR………………………………….www.vanillagorillaracin.com…………….. 336-608-8091
Works Connection:…………..www.worksconnection.com………………… 530-642-9488
Rath Racing:…………………….www.rathracing.com………………………….. 320-234-7223
A’ME Grips ……………………..www.amegrips.com……………………………. 702-835-0681
Fastway/Pro Moto Billet ….www.promotobillet.com……………………… 866-466-4762
C and J Powdercoating …..www.cjpowder.com……………………………. 435-673-6565
Tire Blocks ……………………….www.ridetireblocks.com……………………… 360-951-2903

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