Proving that UTV’s are a growing force within the off road racing community, the UTV World Championships were held on February 20-21, 2015 in Laughlin NV. Promoted by no less than Polaris, Best in the Desert, Mad Media, Walker Evans Racing, Holz Racing and the UTV Underground, the first annual UTV World Championships was a raging success for all involved.
Spearheaded by Matt and Josh Martelli of Mad Media and the UTV Underground, it was they who did the leg work in finding sponsorship for their idea. They first approached Polaris, who came on board and then Walker Evans Racing followed suit. The race was given even more credence when Casey Folks and his Best in the Desert organization provided the sanctioning. This combination of experienced promoters and sheer hard work from all involved paid off big.
Big also described the vendor turnout. Polaris had twenty UTV’s on hand for anyone to take a desert tour on while many major companies such as KC HiLites, Method Race Wheels, Fox, Rugged Radios, Rigid LED’s, Muzzy’s and even Red Bull were listed as sponsors. This UTV thing is getting serous recognition. Many of those companies were on hand to showcase their products.
The UTV championships were broken down to three categories: the Walker Evans Desert Challenge, the Holz Racing Products Production Championship and the Youth Production 170 class. There was also a motorcycle/quad class that paid Best in the Desert points.
The 17-mile Walker Evans Desert Challenge course began in the infield motocross type section before heading out into the desert surrounding Laughlin. Branden Sims and his RZR XP1000 held a slight edge over Johnny Angal after the first lap, and the clear air obviously gave Sims an advantage as he held on to take the Walker Evans Racing Desert Challenge in 3 hours and 9 minutes. Christina Perkins took second place (3:13.08) while Paul Cooper rounded out the top three.
Jacob Shaw took the win in the Holz Racing Production class with his Polaris RZR, beating out a full field of 62 drivers. Running the “Short Course” of 6 miles, Shaw had trouble off the line and had to restart his RZR, putting him way back in the talented laden pack. Once under way though, he began picking off drivers until he was in the lead. The race was close though, as only 10 seconds separated him from second place finisher, Ritchie Laatz.
Seth Quintero led nearly wire to wire in the Youth Production 170 class in his Polaris while Casey Sims wasn’t far behind in second place.
The bikes and quads ran together, and it was the team of Ricky Brabec and Robbie Bell who took the overall on their Kawasaki, while the Hengeveld family (Steve and Clayton) were first 250cc and 3rd overall. Jeff and Matt Hancock took first Pro quad on their Honda and finished a very respectable 5th overall on the very fast 17-mile course.
The result is that for a first time event, the Polaris UTV World Championships was professional all the way. With the huge turnout, great track and the inevitable good word of mouth, we’re positive that it will only get bigger and better in the years to come. We’ll be back next year you can count on that. Hopefully, with our own ride.