UTV racing is one of the most approachable forms of off-road racing available to riders of all levels. If you want to taste some adrenaline on the tip of your tongue and put your driving skills to the test, a UTV race is the best occasion to achieve your goals and have the time of your life. From the iconic Vegas to Reno race to the UTV World Championship, you have plenty of opportunities to engage in a fun, challenging, and thrilling sport. We are sure you already know the type of race you want to enter, but do you know how to get ready for such an adventure? Let’s talk today about UTV racing gear! Let’s see some tips to know before you ride into the sunset towards your destination!
Read the Race Rulebook A to Z
The first thing to know is that all UTV competitions come with specific sets of rules and regulations. Since we mentioned the Vegas-to-Reno race, we recommend you read the rulebook for the Best in the Desert competitions. Just as the organizers say, you must understand and comply with the events’ procedures and the rules governing vehicle specifications, mandatory gear, protection equipment, and so on.
What you must know is that you cannot take your dad’s farming UTV to a race. For this reason, the first thing to do if you are serious about side-by-side competitions is to get a sports UTV from a reputable manufacturer. Tuning your UTV for racing is another point to make. As with any vehicle, passionate drivers modify their metal beasts to stay ahead of the competition while riding in full safety.
Make sure you read the organizers’ notes on all the mods you can or must make to your UTV before even putting your name on the list.
Invest in Professional Race and Safety Gear
Yeah, racing system exhausts are cool, but have you tried racing in the desert or the mountains without comfortable UTV seats? Joke aside, UTV racing is one of those adventure sports on your bucket list that requires a high degree of mindfulness when it comes to safety. Yes, it is an off-road adventure that knocks your socks off as long as it doesn’t knock you off for good during a tumble or a hard climb.
One of the first mods organizers will mandate is most likely a reinforced roll-cage. Tumbles are the most frequent accident occurring among UTV riders (racing or not). While you will get professional assistance during a competition, mounting a durable roll-cage on your vehicle is a priority.
Next, come a hard rooftop and sides. While you can skip them if you use your UTV only for light cruises outdoors, competitions might require you to mount specialized roofs, doors, mirrors, and even UTV lights for day/night racing.
Regarding safety gear, almost all race organizers, whether in the vastest desert or the steepest canyon slope, will require you to have pro racing UTV seats and harnesses. Your factory-issued seatbelts will simply not do. Usually, pros upgrade their vehicles with 4-points or 6-points Rad Parts harnesses. However, most competition rules mention the 6-points ones for extra comfort and safety. When you consider a quick-release harness kit for your UTV, make sure it is compatible with your UTV’s make and model.
When it comes to racing safety, at a minimum, here is the gear you should invest in and never forget home:
- Certified UTV racing helmet. No manager will allow you to participate in any competition without a certified helmet. Read the rulebook again to understand what the organizers want from you regarding tech specs. Your best chance is to get a helmet certified by the SFI Foundation. Full-head, fire-resistant, and shock-resistant helmets are your best bet in any off-road race.
- A racing one-piece suit. Beginner racers usually start small with their equipment. Racing trousers, armored jackets, and thermal blouses are among the first choices. However, if you are serious about side-by-side racing, a full suit might be a better pick. Get one with proven high comfort levels, heat dissipation, water and fire resistance, increased airflow (especially for racing in hot weather), safety lining, and more.
- Racing gloves and boots. Again, your dad’s farm boots will not do in a UTV race, no matter where it takes place. The organizers will tell you what you should have in terms of equipment but do your homework beforehand. If you’re browsing your favorite UTV aftermarket store, throw in some pro armored sunglasses in the shopping cart.
Among other mods and upgrades you might have to add to your UTV, pro racers recommend you consider:
- Professional cooling system for your engine;
- Race-optimized drivetrain, suspension, transmission, etc.;
- Suitable tires for the types of terrain you will have to cross during the race;
- Safety gear – such as fire extinguisher, a toolbox, safety nets, etc.
Get Ready to Race!
Did we mention you have to play by the (rule)book when it comes to entering professional competitions? If you ask us, all the equipment and gear mentioned already will do you a world of good even if you don’t intend to race with your UTV any time soon. Roll cages, pro seats and harnesses, and safety equipment come in handy even if you ride for fun and not for prizes.
Some see UTV riding as a fun “far from the madding crowd” adventure on a famous trail. Others want to feel their blood racing alongside their speedometers. No matter how you approach side-by-side outdoor adventuring, what matters most is to always be comfortable and safe. The fun accumulates with every second spent on (or off) the road. Good luck and have the best time ever!