first-ever Yamaha R1 DT race at the
2017 Oval Nationals at Perris Auto
Speedway. Eight third-generation R1
DT UTVs (see page 40) were built for
the invitational race, and racers of various disciplines were recruited to race
the 175-horsepower, 1100-pound,
2WD UTVs. Current TORC Production
1000 UTV champion CJ Greaves and
former LOORRS UTV champion Dustin
Nelson traded their YXZ1000Rs and
jump-filled tracks for the excitement of
flying sideways around a dirt-track oval.
Slammin’ Sammy Halbert, 2009 Flat
Track Grand National champion and
2017 X Games gold medalist, traded
two wheels for four, while four-time
AMA Superbike champion Josh Hayes
traded in his YZF-R1 and pavement for
a four-wheeled R1 concept dirt tracker.
Sprint-car icon and world champion
Cory Kruseman and Donnie “The
Million-Dollar Man” Moran, Late Model
Hall of Fame inductee and multi-time
champion, stepped outside of their
comfort zones and into prototype concept UTVs. Formula drifter Ken Gushi
and Natalie Decker, NASCAR and
ARCA Rookie of the Year, traded in
their factory Toyota Camrys and pavement for the R1 DT invitational.
Talk about uncertain outcomes;
Decker had never driven an R1 DT
before, and the UTV was unlike anything most of the racers had experienced. During intermissions between
sprint-car qualifying, the heats and
the A main, the R1 DT racers raced
a seven-lap heat and a 12-lap main.
Dustin Nelson won the heat after a
good battle with Josh Hayes, and they
inverted the eight finishers for the main.
Nelson passed five cars in the first turn
and took the lead by the second lap.
A couple of laps later, Gushi drifted in
As we did the ground work of putting this issue of UTV Action together (and got a head start
on March), the word “adventure” kept
recurring so often that I started referring
to it as the “UTV Adventure” issue.
Random House Dictionary defines
adventure as 1) An undertaking of
uncertain outcome, 2) An exciting or
very unusual experience, and 3). To
take an involved risk.
I don’t know about you, but I feel
every UTV ride is an adventure, both as
an undertaking of uncertain outcome
and as an exciting and unusual experience. And, as I worked on putting
together and photographing articles for
this magazine, my excitement grew.
I drove to Glamis to pick up the
RZR XP 4 Turbo Dynamix Edition, and
Camp RZR Glamis was the biggest
event to date. The place was packed,
and Friday night at Oldsmobile Hill was
insane. Saturday morning I did a photo
shoot with Shock Therapy and then
drove home, as the dunes were too
chewed up to be fun. So, I took the XP
4 to the SxS Adventure Rally, the only
UTV jamboree to have “adventure” in
its title. I shot the Turbo in Sand Hollow
State Park’s red sand dunes and rock-crawling trails on vendor setup day,
then I signed up for Thursday’s guided
rides on Sliplock and John’s Trail.
Adventure can be as simple as trying
a new trail, going to a new trail system
or climbing a hill you’ve never tried
before. Sliplock and John’s Trail were
adventurous enough for me, while the
Friday Night Pizza Ride Crew tackled
the Ledges on the last day. Two flipped,
and everyone was scared of the heights
I had to leave the rally early to get
back to Los Angeles and see the
too hot and spun himself and Nelson
out. Nellie put on a charge through
the pack, only to tag Decker and
spin again. Greaves took the win over
Moran and Decker, with Hayes fourth
and Nelson fifth. I was most impressed
with Natalie for her podium finish after
19 laps in the R1.
It’s an adventure I want to experience some day, as Yamaha might put
the R1 DT into production!
I was blessed to experience OHV
adventure early, camping in the
Mojave Desert and riding Honda 90s.
I remember one hill being so steep,
we put sticks in the rear spokes and
bull-dogged the bikes down the hill.
Now, we can carry camp with us in our
adventure UTVs, like CT Racing’s Allen
Knowles. He built his adventure RZR
XP 4 for high-country camping and fishing in the Sierras above Bishop.
The “2018 Sport UTV Buyer’s Guide”
could also be called the “Top 50 Ways
to UTV Adventure,” with the RZR XP 4
Turbo Dynamix as one of the two top-shelf UTVs included.
Racing the infamous SCORE Baja
1000 in a UTV is the ultimate adventure
to many, as participants come from all
over the world to compete or watch
and wish. Today’s UTVs are more like
Trophy Trucks and Class 1 buggies
every year, and Marc Burnett’s Monster
Maverick X3 #2905 is the points leader
going into the 50th running of the
Baja Mil. Contributor Nick Nelson also
had the ultimate UTV adventure with
Wes Miller, Jason Luburgh and Donny
No matter what your idea of a UTV
adventure is, this and the next issue of
UTV Action will help you fulfill it. ❏
BEHIND THE WHEEL
By Tim “Lumpy” Tolleson