Race classes and new model year equipment?

ACME

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We have been shopping for a new ride and class as we sold Big Red and wanted to downsize. I hate to admit it but I am impressed with the golf carts and we are looking at the class again. Since we only race a few times a year and want to do the races we want to do, and not chase points etc... we are looking at a few used cars that are competitive. I get the fact that technology is progressing and rapidly changing, but don't necessarily like the idea of having to build a new car every two years to keep up with the Jones's.

Q: Where will all the belt driven non turbo cars be in say BITD/SCORE when the new Gearbox-Turbo stuff is out and the well funded teams have stuff that is the next level?

It seems the rules are constantly evolving without regard to the competitors or budget. The governing bodies in the UTV class don't seem to have a handle on the rules and the manufacturers don't care as they just want to sell units, and the rules seems to chase and adjust to the sponsors which is a vicious circle. In other classes the rules are established and a decent 5 year old (or older) class 10, 16, 5 open or 12 car with mild updates can be competitive today. Not so much with a UTV.

So what happens when all these new fangled "Turbo" & "Gearbox": "GAME CHANGER" cars come out that will make the older stuff obsolete? Where are all the current belt driven cars going to be or is this really a disposable car class for the few, the wealthy, the factory backed? Further, with all the changes in motors and gearboxes etc... Who and how is tech going to happen as the equipment, knowledge and personnel needed to monitor and enforce rules seems MIA???

Toss in the comments/conversation I have seen RE "Bigger Tires". One comment that keeps coming up is: "with a 33 we'll really see what these cars can do against other classes...". Don't you guys just race against other UTV's? Why worry about the comparison with other classes?? Seems like every thread or race recap involves belt and axle-cv issues and now you want to add a larger tire that will impact that even more? I get the factory sponsored and money guys won't be as impacted, but IMO the privateer on a budget will be forced into a corner. With current equipment larger tires will equal higher racing costs; and a higher racing cost will equal less entries and the need for constant upgrades will inhibit the growth of the class... Unless of course money is no object and you have the loot and or support to build a next gen gearbox/turbo car, and a new one 2 years after that.

Not tossing rocks or trying to start shiat: just curious as a party considering the class. Having raced 16, 11, 9, 12, 10 and TL: I have seen rule changes for special interests muck up a lot of classes for a long time and alienate racers. Yes, it eventually vetted itself out but cost racers and in this case: It's a new model year and sponsor that instigates the change, not competition and again; they just care about unit sales.

Just looking for input on where you racers see the class, rules and belt cars in the next few years vs the new turbo and gearbox cars? Maybe one suggestion is a rules freeze for 5 years regardless of the manufacturers aka sponsors direction?

Thanks for the input!
 

JoeyD23

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Fantastic post.

The class continues to evolve with the improvements and development at the OEM level. Being that the UTV race classes are based on factory production platforms (unlike 11, 12, 16, 10, etc etc) the class will be forced to continue to adapt rules to the vehicles the OEMs provide. Its a vicious circle really. On one end its great, the machines are getting faster and stronger yet on the other end its getting harder and harder to keep up with those being supplied new factory units as part of sponsorship. Right now to remain competitive you have to build a new machine every other model year it seems and in some cases sooner.

The rules situation and class makeup is tough. Its no secret that the current method (at least in BITD where the bulk of the class races) is controlled primarily by Cory Sappington, a single person who not only techs, influences rule changes and implementations but is also a factory sponsored class racer. While we all know his heart is in the right place, from the outside looking in its a major conflict and and whether admitted too or not is influenced by his involvement as a racer. With that said, he has no control over what new machines are introduced, his job is to find the right place / class for them to be raced in.

The issues with gear box's, turbos, or anything else will need to be handled on a case by case basis as there is no way to predict what OEM will release what. Its part of what this class is. With that said, I feel like the argument I made last year in regards to the new Maverick turbo and where it should have been placed class wise could be followed for other innovative platform introductions. I felt that that at the time the Maverick turbo should have been placed into the unlimited class until other OEM's had introduced a forced induction model, thus keeping the then current Pro UTV class in tact. At the time, Can-Am, Arctic Cat, and Polaris all had 1000cc naturally aspirated machines. It was a fair fight. Then introduce the Turbo and while it may not have swayed a ton of advantage into Can-Am's favor it still challenged a then in place rule of the machines being naturally aspirated. My argument as well as others fell on deaf ears and the Turbo Maverick was placed into the Pro UTV class anyway. I was told by one source that Can-Am based their sponsorships on the premise that sponsored teams would have to race on their Turbo platform. Did that force Sappington's hand? Not sure any of us will ever know.

Had my suggestion been followed it would have set a precedent on how new machines are then included into the Pro class structure. Should Yamaha or Honda or whoever release a machine with a gear box or something larger than 1000cc mid-season, the machine would be placed into the unlimited class for the first season giving time for proper adaptation and to see what the other OEMs release in that same time frame. After that season it could then be voted on or decided that the machine should or shouldn't be included into the pro class. Some people say there should be a N/A and a forced induction break up in classes, but thats not a solid solution IMO today. All that does is break up the class structure and dilute what has been a formidable Pro UTV class that has grown faster than any other class in off-road racing. I want to preserve that growth and keep that playing field as close to fair as possible while also being realistic with the costs to not only build but campaign a race UTV at this level. I know many who state that they won't build another UTV and if everyone goes turbo they will find another class to race in because they don't want to keep playing this game of building a new UTV every year or other year. I am sure there are a lot who feel this way.

I'm not sure there is one singular correct way to prevent racers from being upset or pleasing everyone. Its almost impossible but there needs to be some sort of rule placed in that would better improve implementation of new platforms released by OEMs.
 

ACME

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I'm not sure there is one singular correct way to prevent racers from being upset or pleasing everyone. Its almost impossible but there needs to be some sort of rule placed in that would better improve implementation of new platforms released by OEMs
It seems that popular opinion based on PM's etc... is that the cars are destined to be obsolete due to the major influence of the manufacturers.

Maybe you need 3 classes:1) Production Class A - belt driven, naturally aspirated, 1000cc limit with current production class rules. 2) Production Class B motor open 100CC limit - factory drive line type for the model, production class rules and finally: 3) Unlimited UTV, whatever you want but limit width/length all on the same 30" tire? Then freeze the rules for 3-4 years without special interest exceptions.

Try herding those cats across the current sanctioning bodies...
 

fatnbald

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I think horsepower will be stagnant for the next couple years after the new cars hits the floor over the next two months. Following that, a well built chassis will compete with anything new and exciting for several years.
just my opinion.
I think JD is the only one with the influence to put together some sort of class delineation to give older cars a competitive outlet and i agree it is going to need to be done sooner or later.
what happened to that 900 es built? it was probably the most "progressive" desert built sxs. was it too much Big Mac?
 
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