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Creating a Super UTV - A Unique Mini Sized Racer

Posted in Features on April 1, 2009
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What do you get when you take a hot motorcycle engine and stuff it into a scaled-down race buggy chassis? If you put it together like this mini racer, you end up with what we might call a Super UTV.

Don't go looking for a trailer hitch to tow your garden wagon, or even the mild powerplant and box rail chassis you'd find on most typical UTVs. This one's built a bit differently. It started with some innovative ideas, sketches, and a stack of tubing waiting to be bent to shape.

Flagstaff, Arizona, resident John Crowley had decided he wanted to do a bit of UTV class racing in SCORE and other southwestern sanctioned events, but he wanted to build a competitive UTV that was a step above the usual fare. John had previously desert raced aboard quads and dirt bikes and decided he wanted to try something on four wheels. The goal was to create a scale racer that is legal in one of the offered UTV race classes and to build it with a more substantial suspension and stronger engine for greater speed across the sand and rocks.

The guys at Gent Bent Fabrication in Gilbert, Arizona, were called upon to build much of the car. The chassis and suspension components were fabricated from scratch and the car was built much like a scale version of a full-size race buggy. Up front you'll find a long travel A-arm suspension with King coilovers. Out back are trailing arms with another round of King components to keep the racer going smooth through the nasty bumps and whoops.

As it sits, the car sports an 84-inch track width on an 86-inch wheelbase. Motivation comes from a Honda RC51 motorcycle engine that feeds power to a Transworks transaxle and then out to the wheel hubs. Body work consists of a Yamaha Rhino hood and rear quarters, plus some custom body panels to skin the rest of the chassis.

John's run a few races with the new car, but a few growing pains have surfaced and kept them from placing well to this point in time. However, the little buggy runs and handles well, and tops out at just under 80 mph. Power delivery is strong and the ability to pick your gears manually makes it lots of fun to drive.

Let your eyes wander across the images on these pages to check out more of the details on this interesting creation. We can't help but think we've found a Super UTV, and maybe a sign of things to come in the quasi-scale race world.

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