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How to Prepare for Your First UTV Race


Initially used at farms and ranches for hard work, UTVs are now the latest rage in hardcore racing. These powerful machines can cross any challenging terrain, from desert dunes and steep sludge hills to forest paths, mud trails, rocky ledges, and many more. While many people still use the “work” side-by-sides, manufacturers provide thrill-seekers with slick, narrow, roaring metal beasts to take to the next adrenaline-pumping race. Are you a fan of UTV competitions? You have come to the right place! Today, we are here to give you a short guide on preparing your competition UTV for the next challenge!

1. Get a Sports UTV Rather than a Work UTV

You know how they say that you shouldn’t bring a knife to a gunfight, right? Joke aside, when you decide that UTV racing is right up your alley, the first thing to do is search for the vehicle built for this specific purpose. Some famous manufacturers produce both UTV categories, but you should focus on the “sports” lines. Honda, the Polaris Ranger or Polaris RZR, Can-Am, and Kawasaki – among others – have plenty to offer you if you have the budget.

2. Customize Your UTV for Racing

Even if some side-by-sides are ready to engage in challenging adventures across sandy wash bottoms, thick forests, dunes, and unbeaten rocky paths, it doesn’t mean you can take your UTV from your dealer and straight out to the next British SXS Championship race. You will most likely have to upgrade, tune, and tweak your vehicle to keep you safe while it displays improved performance to leave behind your competitors in a cloud of dust.

Luckily, you have plenty of resources to learn whether your UTV is up to the challenge. You can go about it in two different ways:

·         Identify the races that are already suitable to your SXS make, model, tech specs, and features to avoid investing a load of money in customizations;

·         Learn what customizations you need to prep your UTV for the races you want to be a part of in the nearest future.

In this guide here, you can learn more about recommended UTV gear for different types of races and challenges.

Nevertheless, there is no UTV enthusiast out there who doesn’t care about customizations, improvements, and accessories. Our recommendation is to go first for the aftermarket parts that improve your safety. Rollovers are the primary type of accident-related to UTVs use for everyday life and racing.

While you will most likely get side-by-side with a reinforced roll cage and even a hardtop, you still need to invest in pro safety accessories. Luckily, you can check a professional side-by-side UTV store to get all the parts you need for vehicular performance, safety, comfort, and even style. As you know, a new pro-racing exhaust boosts your UTVs’ performance tenfold, while hi-tech harness systems and seatbelts can save your life no matter how challenging the terrain is.

4. Invest in Race Gear

As you know from car racing, motorbike or even ATV racing, you cannot enter a competition without racing gear. You will find it in specialized stores, just as you find SXS aftermarket parts to tune your vehicle. If you are part of a team and have a sponsor, things will probably go smoother, as you will get branded and professional gear. As a reminder, in UTV racing, the minimum requirements include:

·         Helmets;

·         Fire bodysuits;

·         Specialty racing boots;

·         Long-sleeved shirts and trousers with reinforcements/armor for your knees, elbows, neck, chest, etc.

·         Goggles and gloves.

3. Go through a Thorough Tech Inspection

When you enter a UTV race, you should expect accidents and be ready to avoid them or manage them with your health and life intact. Most UTV accidents are the same as car accidents and injuries, but in the case of a side-by-side, you can rollover a desert dune, collide on a mud trail with a competitor, or get in a substantial crash on a rock ledger. Your UTV and your safety gear should rise to the occasion.

Therefore, race-dedicated technical inspections are mandatory. Seasoned UTV engineers will most likely recommend you to customize and upgrade elements such as:

·         Roll cage, roof, and side doors;

·         Engine’s cooling system;

·         Tires – as you will probably need particular tires for the type of terrain you will race on next;

·         Drivetrain, suspensions, transmission, break;

·         Mirrors;

·         Safety nets, fire extinguishers, and so on.

Only after you pass the pro-tech inspection with your UTV can you consider you are ready to roll from than mountaintop.

4. Make Travel Arrangements

Usually, UTV races last at least for a day, if not more. For this reason, you will most likely have to transport your racing UTV to the location. Racers achieve this by carrying their SXS with the help of a trailer. Before you start, make sure your trailer matches your UTV, you have the proper gear to tie down your vehicle onto the trailer, and you do this correctly to maintain the vehicle safe throughout the journey.

5. Learn as Much as You Can about UTVs and Races

Experts do not recommend beginner UTV users to enter races without developing outstanding side-by-side riding skills. Moreover, you have to learn more about UTV races – you will find them across the globe on different terrains and with various difficulty levels – and the conditions you need to comply with before you enter.

Ensuring that your vehicle and skills match the race type you want to enter will spare you many troubles – accidents, injuries, malfunctions, extra costs, etc. More importantly, however, knowing the UTV and race worlds inside out are the surefire way to keep your health and life while you are having fun.

Bottom Line

No race of any kind is easy, and competitors prepare for years before facing a veritable UTV race challenge. Get the best UTV for racing, prep your vehicle, customize it, and practice your riding skills every chance you get!