Episode 82 – Doug is in Paris, Chad just woke up, but the show must go on! Even with 5000 miles between us, we manage to cover all the recent race action, bring you some new info on the Nikola NZT, and update you on yet another ORV park for you to enjoy.
By Doug Southworth
If you haven’t heard by now, GNCC has finally come forward and announced that they have removed UTV racing from their 2019 schedule. This news doesn’t exactly come as a surprise; we’ve been forecasting this for several months on our podcast and several other sources predicted the same. Many racers, however, have been holding out hope that it was all a big hoax and that somehow all of the inside sources were wrong. Well, just like the inevitable breakup of a high school romance, knowing something is coming doesn’t take away the sting when it actually happens.
Facebook and Instagram have been littered with posts of race prepped UTVs for sale since the news broke Friday. The nervous hand wringing and volume of questions about the future from befuddled drivers is reminiscent of a liberal arts college graduate experiencing their first job search. If GNCC isn’t around, then what’s a driver to do?
Fear not brothers and sisters, there’s plenty of good XC racing to be had! If you aren’t sure where to find it here in Midwest we’ve compiled a list of options for you. Keep in mind there are more series than we’ve listed here, so if you’ve got the itch to race, sharpen up those google skills or start asking your local racing contacts and you’re sure to find something.
This is a young series in its second season, but they are growing rapidly and know how to put on a compelling UTV event. The track layouts are designed exclusively for UTVs, so the woods have a little more elbow room than the typical tight XC track. They also feature generous motocross and open field sections as well. UTV classes race separately, so you don’t have to worry about your Open class turbo machine getting stuck behind light class lap traffic later in the race.
A long standing, well established series with bike, quad, and UTV racing over a full two day weekend. UTVs race Saturday afternoons on well prepped, thoughtfully laid out tracks. UTV turnout is usually very good, with many events rivaling what you’d find at a national event and some stiff driving competition that will definitely challenge your racing skills.
Another well established Indiana series with bike, quad, and UTV races that take place over a full two day weekend schedule. UTV races take place Saturday afternoons on weekends that don’t overlap with IXCR, so you can easily race both series. Be prepared for tight, technical track layouts that will challenge your driving skills, but in a family friendly environment that will ensure that your spouse and kids will have a great time as well. With a solid 25+ UTV turnout each race, you definitely won’t be racing by yourself.
Three series not enough for you? How about a fourth option? Crossroads has been around for several years now and is steadily growing in numbers. Much like IXCR and MWXC, they offer a full complement of bike, quad, and UTV racing all in a busy two day weekend format. UTV numbers are typically lower than the other series mentioned here, however the level of competition is solid and you owe it to yourself to make it out to a CRXC event and see what they have to offer.
And there you have it folks. Four solid racing options right in your back yard, assuming your back yard is in the Indiana/Illinois area. Again, this is by no means an exhaustive list of what’s out there. With a moderate amount of Google and Facebook searching you are bound to turn up quality racing happening in your area.
Also, stay tuned to this blog. With GNCC bowing out of UTV racing next year there are many other plans in the works. Trust us, 2019 will be a great year for UTV racing. Now go pull that ad you placed for your racing buggy. You’re going to want to hang onto it.
By Doug Southworth
UPDATE (09/06/2018 20:10 EDT): Kyle Chaney has confirmed that he will still be racing SxS next year in addition to Pro 4:
Labor Day Weekend has come and gone, and with it goes another weekend of off-road racing. Out of all the news that came out over the past several days, the one item that stood out is that Kyle Chaney is leaving the SxS world behind and is going to be in an Ox Motorsports Pro 4 truck for the 2019 season. If you know anything about Kyle Chaney’s racing career, then you know how dominant a force he is out on the race track.
In the 2018 UTV racing season alone, Chaney has racked up 4 wins and 1 podium finish in Lucas Oil Midwest Short Course Racing, 2 more wins in the 4 rounds of GNCC racing he’s participated in, and an impressive 3 wins and 9 podiums in the Lucas Oil TORC series. If that’s not enough for you, he also won this year’s 4 hour long Heartland Challenge endurance race, leading every single lap.
Kyle Chaney lofting the championship trophy for the 2017 TORC series
What you may not realize is what an ambassador for UTV racing Chaney has been. The fact that there is even a Midwest Short Course series is due in part to Chaney’s involvement and dedication to quality UTV racing on the East side of the Mississippi. It would seem, then, that the sport is going to have a sizable hole to fill.
Nature, however, abhors a vacuum. There are several young, hungry, talented racers ready to move up into the sizable shoes formerly occupied by Chaney. Gabe Johnson wasn’t even on the radar at the beginning of the season and managed to take the Sportsman Stock overall championship away from Kyle Greaves and Matthew Wood. Another newcomer, 16 year old Tyler Livingston, ran strong in the ProMod class finishing 8th overall and also took home the Crandon World Cup. Even the local scene here in Indiana has promising drivers like Cameron Mapes, a 13 year old, hard charging driver who most veterans in the circuit see as being real trouble for them if he continues the rapid improvement he’s made this season.
Kyle, the UTV community wishes you all the best in this next phase of your racing career. You’re sure to make a stir in the Pro 4 class and will undoubtedly raise the level of competition there. You’ve done a lot for the UTV community, and the example of excellence you’ve set has inspired the next generation to keep pushing the limits. You’ve left us in good hands.
By Doug Southworth
I’ve been giving some thought to starting up a blog on the Eminent Performance site for a few months now. As happens to most new initiatives when you already have a full schedule, it kept getting pushed to the back burner.
There were several good reasons to get moving on it – regular, fresh content for the site which helps drive search engine rankings; a place to talk about news and ideas that may not fit well in our other media outlets; a chance to flush out a thought where I have the power to proofread and revise, which is a luxury I don’t have on the podcast.
There were equally compelling questions which made me not want to start. Does anyone actually read blog posts anymore? Does anyone really want more content from me? Will I be able to be disciplined enough to write posts, even short ones, on a regular basis? Will I have enough content to pull that off? Where’s the time going to come from anyway?
Not exactly deep, life changing questions, I know, but they did keep me from moving on this earlier. But today, something happened: Joey D announced that he is leaving UTVUnderground. Let that sink in for a second. The face, the heart, and the soul of one of the largest, most recognizable UTV advocate groups in the world is leaving.
Joey D at the finish of the Baja 500. Photo courtesy of UTVUnderground.
In reading his final story for UTVUnderground there were several things he wrote that struck a chord with me, not the least of which was the story of his humble origins in the sport, the hard work he put in, and the payoff later down the road; not in terms of money, but of experiences. People met. Joys shared. Lives touched. All things that drive Chad and me to keep moving on with Eminent Performance. All things that he would have missed out on had he talked himself out of starting up a UTV forum a decade ago, or decided to not stay with it when it wasn’t instantly popular.
So, here’s my first blog post. I don’t know where it’s going to take us. I don’t know if it will add any real value to what EP is doing. I don’t know if anyone is even going to read this. What I do know is that I love the UTV community, being at the races, promoting local drivers, traveling to new destinations, and bringing those experiences back to whoever wants to hear about them. I’ve gotten to meet some amazing people, make new friends, share incredible experiences. Anything I can do that will help ensure more of the same is worth the time and effort in my book.
Here’s to beginnings and endings. Right as Eminent Performance is starting a new chapter, UTVUnderground is ending one. We wish you well in your new adventure Joey. Thank you for the perfect example of what can happen when you pursue something because you love it, not because you know exactly where the path will lead.
We do know that there’s a lot of good things on the horizon for EP, and we’re glad to have you all along for the ride.