UTV Class Killing all Noob Classes...What to do?

yamaducci

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I know I am not the only one who has thought about this. What has happened to Class 12, Class 5-1600, Class 1/2-1600, Class 9 and even Class 11? The UTV classes currently can't be beat for start-up Teams due to many reasons like Dealer Financing, huge factory and aftermarket product support, low race entry fees. The basic laws of economic are in play here!
What does a person do whom wants to race in any of these Classes because face it; the VW based race cars are the soul of desert racing and people love them.
How can the industry help?
I have a few suggestions that can start the conversation but there are many people on this and other sites who could assist in turning the whole off-road industry on it's head if they wanted.
1) This is a HUGE One! - Create a Finance package (Race Car Financing) equivalent to that of the UTV Dealers or the Banks can offer. Traditionally this used to sounds crazy but here we are with UTV race car financing!
2) If the only difference in UTV vs. traditional race cars ability to get vehicle financing is a V.I.N. number then lets start assigning V.I.N. Numbers! Yes, YOU, Fab shops! Call yourself a "New Vehicle Manufacturer" to get this done in your state.
3) Level the playing field with registration fees by basing the fees on percentages of class registration. Raising the fees of the highest participating class will reduce the entry quantity as fee cost rises (basic economics). Reduce the fees for low-to-no Car Class registrants as an incentive to get cars to come back to the class.
4) Change Car Classes to "Max HP" not "Max cc/ci". Check it on a chassis Dyno. That way it opens up the engine choice to anything a racer wants to run or can afford to run. If a particular class dictates 250 HP for example and one team can afford a junk yard cast iron block and another racer can afford a high strung 3.0 Liter Type 4 the rules still allow teams to compete on their budgets and risk of finishing or not. Sort of a "Run what you brung" rule.
5) Engine builders - (For Example) Find a way to build a $5k VW engine instead of a $10k VW engine; whether that means buy enough new cases/components to cut the cost or help change class rules to allow a cheaper 2332cc instead of a time-bomb Class 12-1835cc. But limit the HP.
6) Parts Retailers - (Kartek, etc) Reduce your mark up on struggling classes just to stimulate the classes - Do it! You will sell more in the end.
These are suggestions and not saying all of them need to be put in place but one or a combination of them will stimulate the return of the lost classes.
Lets get this going Race Promoters/Organizations!
 

jon coleman

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yup, enact an 'affordible race act' ill support it , but market forces will not.like some of the proposals
 

Bro_Gill

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There are still plenty of starter class cars racing, just not in races that require $3500 dollar entry fees.
 

Josh 8

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You sound like him.

Touting financing options. That is the best way to ruin a young persons future. Strap them with debt. Face it. If you can’t pay cash for a race car you can’t afford to race a series like BITD or score.

I am all for the free market approach. Just let it settle where it naturally wants to settle.
 

Rocket 450

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SO my 1600 has a Vin and is for sale. So all you need is loan and bam your off to the races literally!!
 

Klaus

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What the OP is trying to convey is the symptoms of an underlying problem that I will not get into with this post.

As a website what we can do is pay more attention to the grass roots classes.
We can validate skill more so than dollars spent.
 

yamaducci

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I don't know of any race that cost $3500 to enter but you get what you pay for. If you are referring to Best in the Desert; sure they are high but you also get the longest off-road race in America. So you are getting something for the money. People have been complaining FOREVER about how "Golf Carts" shouldn't pay less to register. How about charge a normal rate like every other race car? WHat I suggested above is EXACTLY what the UTV racer already has which is why it became the latest rage!.... financing, cheap parts, cheap fuel, cheap registration on and on. I am just stating what should be obvious. Historically Racing is a Rich man's sport So if you took all of the financing away including UTV; The UTV class would also dwindle to nothing. What "Young Person" has $30k-$60k CASH to outfit a UTV? Virtually none of them do. Then you add a truck and trailer and you might as well live in it.
The smartest Business man reading this in a Fab shop will listen to this and offer financing. It also allows them to charge more and grow his business over time. Who knew we would have 6-10 year street-truck loans and allowed the auto industry to charge over $70k for a new truck? The rule used to be if you couldn't afford it in 4 years you can't afford it. But look where the standard is now. For the record I am Republican but would love to race with some regular competition in long races. I guess everyone is too cash-poor for that. I guess that's why all race teams get in then get out!
 

yamaducci

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SO my 1600 has a Vin and is for sale. So all you need is loan and bam your off to the races literally!!
Is it a Lothringer 1600? PM me. That's what I have been advertising/looking for here and on FB.
I live on the East Coast and prefer to race the long race like V2R to make the trip worth it but there is ZERO competition in 12/1600 as a result of the financed race car options offered to UTV's
 

Josh 8

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So the underlying issue is that racing is expensive?

Well it always has been. I don’t think any one can change that. And by the nature of it the people will always turn racing into a money race.

If off road racing sanctioning bodies really wanted to fix off road racing they would start at the top by getting rid of trophy truck. Looking back on where all this went wrong was with trophy trucks. The three top class should be spec truck, class one with the same spec engine and if you want unlimited power class 8.

And don’t do qualifying let these top class start by draw like the old days and leave the pole up to chance. That would be the fairest way to mix spec, 1 and 8 in a race.

Then what we might see is a trickle down effect that brings life back to the lower classes. But this is purely speculation. Just like you I have no facts to support my speculation.

But not to worry. Its not going to happen any way.
 
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yamaducci

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Yes racing is expensive. I don't have a problem with it until no one shows up. Name any other CAR Class that currently offers dealer financing. UTV is it.... The super rich teams with backing will need to spend their money and prove something so I have no issue with TT class. I actually don't like UTV's so that is my issue. I don't want to run a monotonous 2 cylinder drone on for 500 miles while breaking belts all day. Seems like a pain in the azz to me.

Class 5 Unlimited Baja Bug is making a come back because there are people promoting it, a Coalition of racers that care building chassis that are within Budget or High-end (there are two builders we know). The Ecotec drove the final cost down so guys didn't have to come up with an extremely expensive Type 4 to be competitive. Things are changing and it it working!
The 12/1600 classes need the same help. If you don't care or don't see it that's fine but don't complain when ALL classes are gone and you show up and there is a TT and a UTV class ONLY.
 

J Prich

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UTVs are the wave of the future, regardless of who likes it. They are readily available, easy to drive and maintain, and have universal geographical appeal. The next generation of desert racers is going to come from UTVs. Look at the number of under 20 year olds racing UTVs versus every other class of vehicle combined...it's inevitable. It's no more expensive to start in a 1600 car or a Jeepspeed or whatever now than it was 5 years ago. The difference is the ease of access and popularity of UTVs. You can drop a 5 year old in a mini RZR and let them go nuts. You can't put your 5 year old in a 16 car. More and more people are going to grow up with UTVs and that's where they are going to gravitate towards.
 

yamaducci

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You are correct that UTV are the wave and many racers will start there. It's popular because they can be bought at a dealer and come with a warrantee and have that key feature - Financing. Starting in class 1600 may cost the same as it did a few years ago baring inflation but the race fuel is $20 a gallon and tires are way more expensive and registration fees are way higher.
So if you can put a 5 year old in the seat and he can drive it then maybe is so dumbed down that anyone can do it; hence the go-to-the-dealer- and let's go racing pushes the trend even more. On another subject...that put a LOT of unskilled racers on a track that can get real dangerous among real racers with real skills.
You have seen them...The "WTF is he doing" moments in a race.
 

J Prich

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You are correct that UTV are the wave and many racers will start there. It's popular because they can be bought at a dealer and come with a warrantee and have that key feature - Financing. Starting in class 1600 may cost the same as it did a few years ago baring inflation but the race fuel is $20 a gallon and tires are way more expensive and registration fees are way higher.
So if you can put a 5 year old in the seat and he can drive it then maybe is so dumbed down that anyone can do it; hence the go-to-the-dealer- and let's go racing pushes the trend even more. On another subject...that put a LOT of unskilled racers on a track that can get real dangerous among real racers with real skills.
You have seen them...The "WTF is he doing" moments in a race.
Yeah still have no idea what you're talking about. Are SNORE entry fees for 16 really "way higher" than they were 5 years ago? What is the cost difference between a gallon of race fuel in 2014 versus 2019? What you're doing here is making an emotional argument based on your personal perspective and grasping at straws to pretend there is some kind of data or proof to support your opinion.

I have raced in a limited, entry level class from 2014 to 2019. BITD entry fees have stayed the exact same over that 5 year period. Our cost for tires is within dollars per tire of what it was in 2014. Gas is probably within 10s of cents up or down over that period. In short, our cost to race has remained virtually unchanged over that period. My guess is we are not alone.

Further, if cost were the primary issue, you'd see MORE people, not less people racing limited classes versus UTVs because even with financing and warranties the initial cost plus build for a remotely competitive UTV in all but the new virtually stock classes is noticeably higher than it is to build a 9 car, Jeepspeed, etc. If cost were the biggest reason, you'd see tons of people looking in to 9 cars, 16 cars, Jeepspeeds, etc. But they are paying MORE to race UTVs. Cost is the not the issue.
 

scootin newton

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You are correct that UTV are the wave and many racers will start there. It's popular because they can be bought at a dealer and come with a warrantee and have that key feature - Financing. Starting in class 1600 may cost the same as it did a few years ago baring inflation but the race fuel is $20 a gallon and tires are way more expensive and registration fees are way higher.
So if you can put a 5 year old in the seat and he can drive it then maybe is so dumbed down that anyone can do it; hence the go-to-the-dealer- and let's go racing pushes the trend even more. On another subject...that put a LOT of unskilled racers on a track that can get real dangerous among real racers with real skills.
You have seen them...The "WTF is he doing" moments in a race.
they have helped a little with the 1600 classes with the low compression option... 91 octane fuel and these motors are becoming competitive. we got beat twice now by one and at the snore 250 i thing the top 2 1/2 1600's were running them.
 

offroadracer516

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We just had over 30 1600 cars at bap. Over 15 at the snore 250. Over 40 at rage. 1600 is still the best bang for your buck. You can buy a used 1600 car for around 20k ready to win. You can't do that with a UTV. Not even close lol And a 1600 is faster still. Especially when it gets ruff. Paying more to go slower in a utv. Here in the the usa at least. We have a full race rzr tuned by Wayne. And it wont do what our 1600's will in the ruff. Yea they are good in the silt for baja but when it gets ruff its not even close. With over 3100 members in the 1600 group and growing literally every day. The class is thriving. 1/2 1600 racers
 
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Zambo

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Before I got my x3 I never raced anything but V8 trucks, except for once in a V8 buggy. So that's where I'm coming from. My observations so far:

1. The UTV is a hell of a lot of fun. Its more like driving two motorcycles at the same time than what I would consider a race car. Very visceral experience.
2. The fact that I could finance it is what made it happen. I plan on actually having money in the bank when I retire rather than spending every extra cent I make on racing.
3. 4wd is fun as hell, not just in silt but on rally style roads at high speed. The acceleration is great.
4. Not having to fabricate a one-off creation for every part on the car is nice.
5. Going thousands and thousands of miles on an engine and trans makes up for a lot of the up front cost.
6. They don't blow belts like they did years ago. I'm almost 8000 miles without a single blown belt. (And BTW is 3 cylinders, not 2!)
7. Most folks don't drive UTVs instead of 16 or 12 cars. They drive UTVs instead of driving nothing. They add to the car count, which theoretically should lower the cost for everybody across the board by dividing fixed costs among more entries.
8. Not everybody driving a UTV is a noob. I see lots of highly experienced racers out there in some of these races, including many that are household names.
 

MTPyle

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financing a race vehicle that can not be insured is very very risky.

I am sure that if the banks knew you guys were racing these vehicles they would not do a loan on them. Just because you can finance something does not make it OK. Do You think banks would loan on a unsecure and un insurable vehicle if they knew?

We had a fire at the SS300. Almost got out of control and burnt the truck to the ground. If it would have been a total loss I can’t imagine having a loan on it.

Loans do not save you money they cost money. If you need a loan to race maybe you should not race? Don’t get me wrong if you want to take the risk and understand it great. It’s a feee country. But don’t fool yourself.

I agee with the problem of UTV’s taking away from the other classes. In my opinion it’s because people do not understand the real cost of owning and racing a UTV. They are not cheap and they break. It seems like it’s going to be cheap but it’s not. So I think many guys are racing UTV becaise they wrongly think it’s the cheapest way to get into racing.

Mike
 
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