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The Voice Of Off-Road Motorsports
























54 PROPER RADIO COMMUNICATION Publisher Contributing Photography DirtSports Inc. Shaun Ochsner Editor-In-Chief Dave Arnold Shaun Ochsner Eric Minks Associate Editor Daniel Scheckenberg LaChelle Halliday Harlen Foley Sales and Management Steve Hanson Dave Arnold Polaris Contributing Editors Honda Chris James Carrera Photography Steve Hanson Mikes Race Photo Dave Arnold Email: dirtsports@dirtsportsworld.com FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL MEDIA DIRTSPORTSWORLD







o print or not to print? That is the question. In 2020 we released 11 digital versions of DirtSportsWorld Magazine. Every month we put great content in our magazine. Even during the middle of a pandemic. I heard from so many of you over the year asking if we were going to have print copies available. Even in today’s digital world, people still want a print product. So many magazines have disappeared because they were too expensive to produce in print. Others found a home in


online with digital versions. We are happy to say we have a plan to offer the best of both worlds. In the coming weeks we will be revamping DirtSportsWorld.com. Once the new site goes live you will find links to print subscriptions, a new planned apparel store and much more. For those of you who like the digital edition, we still have it available right here like always. Stay tuned more information! Shaun Ochsner Editor-In-Chief DirtSportsWorld

NEWS SNORE Rage at Primm Gets Shutdown Government officials found a roundabout way to shut down the SNORE Rage at Primm event in December. The event was held on private land owned by the Primm casinos. Under Nevada Governor Sisolak’s COVID-19 restrictions, gatherings are limited to no more than 50 people or 25 percent of the venue capacity. Race tracks are also allowed to be open under the rules. Government officials paid SNORE organizers a visit notifying them of the need to shut down. The SNORE organizers told government officials they were following all the rules and protocols that included mask wearing, hand sanitizing and social distancing and the race was

permitted to go on. Officials left and notified the Nevada Gaming Board. The Nevada Gaming Board threatened to suspend gaming licenses for the Primm Casinos if it didn’t immediately evict the SNORE event from its property. SNORE then had no choice to shut the event down Friday night before racing even got started. The SNORE event had been moved to Primm after being unable to secure a permit to run the original race in Laughlin.

Honda Produces 300,000th Side by Side Honda hit a milestone on November 12th, 2020 by producing its 3000,00th side-by-side vehicle.

The project brought 250 new jobs to the plant. Today a total of 1,400 associates work at the plant with no signs of slowing down.

The vehicle was a Pioneer 1000 Deluxe fiveseat model. The Honda side-by-sides are being produced at Honda’s Timmonsville plant in South Carolina. The plant started in 1998 as an ATV production facility. Side-by-side production started in 2013 with the Pioneer 700. In 2014, the Pioneer 500 was added. One year later the 1000 also began production at the plant. In 2019, Honda competed a $45 million upgrade that included a 115,000 square foot expansion featuring a new weld area, paint line and automated guided carriers along with lift assist devices and improved production efficiency. DIRTSPORTSWORLD.COM | 5


Extreme E Drivers Test in Spain

The drivers of the Extreme E Racing series converged in Aragon, Spain at Motorland to test the Odessy-21 cars. The series had a star-studded line-up that included off-road racer Sara Price, short course star Kyle Leduc, rally legends Sébastien Loeb and Carlos Sainz, World Rally-cross champions Johan Kristoffersson, Timmy Hansen, and Mattias Ekström, Dakar Rally hotshots Cristina Gutiérrez and Laia Sanz, W Series Champion Jamie Chadwick, and Australian Rally Champion Molly Taylor,

The teams completed two days of testing across two off-road circuit layouts which included a 3.1-kilometer open course and a faster 1kilomoter course. Foggy conditions made driving the vehicles tougher for the competitors. “We battled the weather a little bit as we had strange conditions with the fog, but overall it’s been really really good. The cars have been really reliable and it’s exciting to see them running at full power and seeing the drivers all getting a chance to try out the new machinery. We’ve achieved exactly what we wanted to,” said Scot Ekins, Extreme E Race Director. The first Extreme E race is scheduled for March 20th, 2021 in Saudi Arabia.

GMC Begins Winter Testing of the Hummer EV The GMC Hummer EV has begun winter testing at GM’s Milford Proving Grounds near Detroit.

The Hummer EV will be run through a grueling series of tests that include everything from suspension runs to testing the speed and battery components. The Hummer EV was launched in October with plenty of off-road capable features. The Hummer EV runs on an 800-volt fast charging battery system. The Hummer EV will begin production later this year. 6 | DIRTSPORTSWORLD.COM



for complete product details please visit us at


superwinch.com #superwinch


Does my hat go with my mask?



We like “dirty business”


In Baja, the kids become race fans at an early age.



This guy has been on the outlawed three-wheeler a little too long. But hey, at least he is wearing a mask


Who you lookin at?


Watch out Elon Musk, there is a new Cyber Truck builder in town!




It’s pink! Can we please buy it?


Daddy daughter date at the races.


We caught the Bronco racing the Baja 1000 Kids will always find a way to play in the dirt.



Is this a new class of Overlander?

Email to: Dirtsports@dirtsportsworld.com DIRTSPORTSWORLD.COM | 9


Husqvarna Motorcycles Unveils 2021 FC 450 Rockstar Edition


ou can now have a motorcycle identical to 450 AMA champion Zach Osborne. New from Husqvarna is the 2021 FC 450 Rockstar edition, available to the public. The competition ready motorcycle features numerous upgrades over the standard edition. The motorcycle starts with striking factory team graphics. The bike is put together on a lightweight FC 450 chassis and has upgraded WP XACT suspension. This combination gives the rider precise handling. Technology is integrated into the Husqvarna Rockstar Edition. An allnew connectivity unit that works in tandem with the myHusqvarna app allows the rider to personalize engine maps, tune suspension settings. Multiple settings can be stored to provide the best set up for which ever track you may be riding at. The engine is also set up for racing and loaded with features. The bike has a SOHC 450 engine with an upgraded highperformance Brembo hydraulic clutch system. The Husqvarna also has an FMF Racing Factory 4.1 silencer, GUTS factory highgrip seat cover, Rekluse clutch cover, factory wheel set, ProTaper handlebars and Factory Racing CNC-machined triple clamps with an adjustable offset.



Did we mention this bike is ready to will set you back $11,399. The FC450 perform right out of the showroom? Rockstar edition is available now at The price of this race-ready motorcycle dealers worldwide.



Kia Unveils Rugged X-Line Sorento Concepts

KIA motors has had its sights focused on the off-road market. It began with the Telluride SUV a couple of years ago. Kia’s small compact SUVs make good rally vehicles. Kia’s 2021 Rugged X-Line Sorento concepts are part rally, part overlander and definitely built for the wild. The Sorento is not normally looked at as an off-road vehicle, however a growing number of vehicle buyers are customizing their rides with off-road products. That is exactly what was done to the Kia Sorento Yosemite Edition and Zion Edition.



Both vehicles feature custom fender flares with 20-inch wheels wrapped in 32-inch allterrain tires. The vehicles have custom body armor with skid plats and brush guards. Lightbars were also added to the Yosemite Edition along with a brawny roof rack while the Zion Edition has a full-length cargo top for storing all of your gear necessary to take you off the grid or just away from the pavement for a short time.

While these are only concept models, they show what can be done with a lot of cool customization to the 2021 Sorento.

Standard features on the 2021 Sorento X-Line include increased ride height, improved approach and departure angles and an advanced all-wheel drive with snow-mode. DIRTSPORTSWORLD.COM | 13


Ellah Holtger | Age: 9 | Class: 170 Class 570 Short Course Kart


Q: What were your best achievements in 2020? A: My best achievements in 2020 were becoming the first female in the Midwest to win a points championship. I won the championship in the SXS 170 UTV class, I was able to take a podium 8 out of 10 races. I also finished third in points in the Johnny Greaves SXS series. I had severalheat race wins in my box stock go-kart and I took 5th place overall in points in my short-course kart including several podiums. Q: What is it about Off-Road that brings you the most joy? A: I would say the thing that brings me the most joy is racing with my family and beating the boys! Q: What are your favorite tracks and your ultimate goal for 2021? A: My favorite tracks include Dirt City in Lena, Wisconsin because my family helped build the track and of course the “Big House” Crandon International Raceway! My goals for 2021 are winning a first-place trophy and the points championship in my short-course kart and doing well in the new 570 UTV class that I’ll be racing. Q: What are you going to change tomorrow to make yourself better than today? A: I would say becoming more responsible. So taking care of my new puppy, as well as staying active by participating in sports like basketball and soccer. Q: How does your school work help you in sports? A: Schoolwork teaches me to not give up and always try my hardest! Q: How does your school work help you in sports? Racing something on four wheels and to keep winning! Holtger Shout-outs : I would like to give a shout out to everyone that has helped me during the past race season because it would not have happened without them. Mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, Pa, Aunt Steph, Uncle Craig, and my best friend Karli. My main sponsor Holtger Brothers Inc. and my spotter Cory! 14 | DIRTSPORTSWORLD.COM


AIRBORNE: Myles Cheek earns his wings at “Camp Rager” in Glamis. Photo: Daniel Schenkelberg






he DirtSportsWorld driver of the year is one of the highest accolades we can award. To be eligible, one must win a championship. Then we focus on the rest of the driver’s achievements throughout the year. Elliot Watson, our 2020 winner had an incredible standout year. He won the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series short-course championship. Watson had eight straight short-course wins in the series. He also had a win at the Baja 1000 which secured him the SCORE desert championship.

“King of the Hammers was something totally different for us. We had never been rock crawling”

There were just a handful of races on the 2020 schedule for Elliot Watson. Focused on his new desert deal with Honda, racing a Talon alongside teammate Christopher Polvoorde. Their first event would include conquering the King of the Hammers. The Hammers race was something totally different for Watson who is used to fast desert off-road sections and the tight turns of short course off road racing. Watson had never been rock crawling before. Not only did he 18 | DIRTSPORTSWORLD.COM

feel the pressure of being out of his element, the pressure of being on Honda’s first factory UTV team weighed on him. With limited test time, Watson was up for the challenge. Watson secured a mid-pack qualifying spot and went to work during the race. He soon found himself running in the top 5 in the desert section. He struggled in the rock section, holding onto finish one of the toughest races on the planet. One that has the highest attrition rate.

Next up for Watson was the Mint 400. Watson was handed Honda’s newest side-by-side, the four-seat Talon. With all of the racing going on Watson still had school to focus on. He would soon find out; the pandemic would freeze everything. All racing stopped. Students were sent home from school. Watson had a Talon sitting in his garage and seized the opportunity to drive. The perfect “social distancing” activity, Watson logged miles every day. He lives in the Imperial Valley in Southern California and there are plenty of off-road trails right out of his back yard. Ocotillo Wells OHV area is just minutes from his door-step. He is also 10 minutes from Plaster City– a favorite location for desert racers to test their vehicles before a big race. Plaster City features plenty of rough terrain that will eat up the best suspension set-up. Short course racing was not on Watson’s radar for 2020. He won the Pro-Buggy championship in 2019 and the #1 plate was sitting on his parked buggy in the garage.


When short course racing finally resumed in the summer, Watson thought he should at least run the buggy with the #1 plate just once! All he wanted to do was put it on the track and get some cool pictures during the race. Watson was right back in his groove finishing the weekend on the podium. Like most racers, you can’t keep Watson out of the driver seat. He was hooked again.

“It was rad to be able to sweep the first triple-header at the Lucas Oil Series. I had to keep going after that.”



The triple-header Lucas Oil short-course race at Wheatland would be too far of a drive. Back to back desert races were scheduled just a few weeks after short-course. The team needed to start planning for the Baja 500. Watson pulled the trigger on the Wheatland trip and made the trek to the Midwest. That decision would pay off big time for him. Watson swept the entire weekend. He now had the motivation to continue his short course program. Watson would sweep the next several weekends winning a total of eight rounds back to back. In between short course, Watson still had Baja to conquer. In September the Baja 500 was held in San Felipe. He would put the Honda Talon on the podium in second, which would carry the momentum forward for the granddaddy of all desert races– the Baja 1000. In between pre-running and learning one of the roughest courses in recent SCORE history, Watson still had to complete finals for engineering school. With double the homework as you could say, Watson buckled down and did what he does best– drive and study! It is said if you do the homework and study, you have a greater chance of passing the test. Watson and his team beat Baja and won the 1000 in the Pro-UTV Unlimited category. 20 | DIRTSPORTSWORLD.COM

Watson has Baja racing in his blood. His dad is a four-time SCORE Lites champion. His uncles and cousins have also banked Baja wins. The entire family knows Baja like the back of their hand. “It’s cool having that support” says Watson. To help Watson be successful, everyone sprang into action putting together a solid race plan. Again, the homework pays off. Watson has an incredibly impressive resume and he is not done yet. He has learned over the years that patience is what it takes to win. Watson is looking to the future working on a desert racing deal for 2021 and keeping an eye on the ever-changing short course landscape. As of now there isn’t a place for Watson to race short course on the west coast, but he hopes to possibly compete in the midwest.



AMERICAN VICTORY Ricky Brabec finally gave the Americans a long-awaited win in the Dakar Rally. Brabec’s win also broke KTM’s 18-year winning streak at the Rally. There hasn’t been a Honda motorcycle on the podium in 31 years. Brabec has raced the Dakar Rally five times with only one other finish.


Photo: A.SO.

o one knew 2020 would be one of the most challenging years for the off-road industry. January 2020 was off to a roaring start in the off-road world. The COVID-19 pandemic shut down races and idled race programs for months. Despite everything that would happen during the year, history was still made. We saw plenty of “firsts” and unfortunately one “last.” As we embark on a new year full of off-road adventures, here is a look back at some of the memories in 2020.



Photo: King of the Hammers

Josh Blyler re-wrote the King of the Hammers history books by winning the main event. Previously, only five drivers have won at the Hammers. Blyler became the 6th in KOH’s twelveyear history. Hunter Miller also became the first UTV driver to unseat the winning streak of father-son duo of Mitch Guthrie Junior and Senior. 2020 was Miller’s first King of the UTV race.




Photo: Feld Entertainment

The Supercross Season was frozen in time when the pandemic hit with Eli Tomac and Ken Roczen locked in a tight point battle. When racing resumed, the final rounds played out at RiceEccles Stadium in Utah. Tomac earned his first 450 class championship.

STUFFED Kyle Jergensen rolled the Brenthel 6100 truck during Silver State 300 qualifying. The team was able to get the truck fixed and start the race from the back of the pack to win the race.


Photo: Ford Motor Company


FINALLY, A BRONCO Ford finally released the longawaited 2021 Bronco during the summer. Bronco enthusiasts had been waiting 4 long years for it’s release. We haven’t seen this much buzz about a Bronco since the infamous O.J. Simpson Chase.

THE NEW SHORT COURSE SERIES IN TOWN Short Course series in the Midwest have gone through multiple owners in the last several years. The team at Championship Off Road came out of the gate with a very well attended first event at ERX Motorsports Park. The series went on to promote eight total rounds of highflying door to door race events. DIRTSPORTSWORLD.COM | 25


100 WINS Kyle Leduc hit a career milestone, winning his 100th short course race. Leduc got his start in ProLite in 2002. His 100th win came over the summer during Round 1 of the Championship Off Road Series in a Pro-4, which Leduc built himself.

AGAIN, A WINNER RJ Anderson won the Crandon Cup race for the second year in a row. There is a very short list of drivers who have back to back cup wins at Crandon International Raceway. 26 | DIRTSPORTSWORLD.COM



THE CHAMP IS HERE John Holtger secured a Pro-Lite championship in the Championship Off Road Series. Holtger is a rookie in the class. Consistent podiums every round helped Holtger win enough points to earn the championship.

Photo: Proformance Media

Photo: Harlen Foley

Short course veteran Johnny Greaves doesn’t always crash but when he does it hurts. Greaves spectacular endover-end crash during Pro-4 at Crandon International Raceway caused everyone at the track to fall silent. For several minutes the crowd watched and waited as safety crews helped Greaves out of the truck. He would be ok, a little banged up but ok. The truck¬– not so much!




Photo: General Motors

While other automakers were making their own history, GM dropped a bombshell on the industry. An electric version of the popular discontinued Hummer was going to be released. The Hummer EV will have all of the standard off-road capabilities and more including an exclusive “crab-walk� mode allowing the vehicle to move sideways.

LOORRS LAST RIDE In 2009, the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series was formed to fill the void for short course racing out west. No one knew the championship race in October would be the last one. Weeks later the series announced it was permanently closing its doors, once again leaving an empty spot for short course racing in the west.


Photo: Ford Motor Company


BRONCO-R DEFEATS BAJA The Ford Bronco R Prototype finally finished the Baja 1000 on its second attempt. Ford debuted the vehicle in November 2019 a day before the SEMA show. With minimal testing, a team of off-road superstars raced the SCORE Baja 1000. They would not finish. The team was back to conquer Baja in 2020 with a 32-hour finish.

MC MILLIN LEGACY Luke McMillin brought his family back into the spotlight with a Baja 1000 win. The McMillin family has been involved with off-road racing for at least 45-years. DIRTSPORTSWORLD.COM | 29


SUPERCROSS 2021: Who is riding what?

Story by: Dave Arnold & Shaun Ochsner Photos: Courtesy of Supercross & Teams


wenty-Twenty was a crazy year for all professional sports that rely heavily on spectator attendance. Even though these professional sports were still broadcast on TV, it’s definitely not the same as attending the event in person. Supercross was the first professional sport in our industry to complete a full season under the COVID-19 pandemic. As we move into 2021 lots of questions remain. Will there be racing with fans? So far, the answer is yes. Unfortunately, round one, normally held at Anaheim stadium has been moved due to California Governor Gavin Newsom’s current COVID-19 restrictions. Anaheim typically hosts three stops on the 30 | DIRTSPORTSWORLD.COM

Supercross circuit. This left Feld entertainment to reevaluate the entire 2021 season with venues that would allow spectator attendance, even if limited. As it all stands now– here is what you can expect this season. The biggest news is the disbanding of the Geico Honda and JGR Suzuki race teams which have been powerhouses over the years. Team riders were left scrambling for new contracts and rides for the 2021 season. The Monster Energy/ Pro Circuit/ Kawasaki team will have returning supercross champion Eli Tomac in the 450 class and his teammate Adam Cianciarulo in the 250 class. They are


joined by Austin Forkner, Cameron Mcadoo, Jordan Smith, Seth Hammaker and Jo Shimoda. Shimoda comes to the team after Factory Connection Geico Honda closed their doors. The Troy Lee/ Red Bull team has switched from KTM to Gas Gas motorcycles. The Spanish-born motorcycle company was acquired by the corporate umbrellas of KTM and Husqvarna. The Supercross effort is being

ABOVE: Jo Shimoda will be riding for the Monster Energy/ Pro Circuit Kawasaki team in the 250 class. LEFT: Justin “Bam Bam” Barcia is ready to win a 2021 championship on the new Gas Gas Motocross bike.



supervised under the guidance of longtime motorsports director Roger De Coster. Gas Gas released three versions of its new motocross bike in September. Gas Gas has been known for trials riding motorcycles and has seen much success on that circuit. On the 450 will be Justin Barcia. Riding in the 250 class for Gas Gas will be Michael Mosiman and teammate Pierce Brown. “Bam Bam” Barcia is looking to re-establish himself as a championship contender.

Malcolm Stewart has found a new home with the Monster Energy/Star Yamaha team this season alongside Dylan Ferrandis. Ferrandis’ riding health is still questionable as he continues to heal from an arm injury sustained while practicing in early December. Aaron Plessinger will join Ferrandis and Stewart in the 450 class. The team’s 250 effort will include Justin Cooper, Jeremy Martin, Jeremy Frye, Colt Nichols, Nate Thrasher and Christian Craig.

Team Honda recently announced a four-rider roster for 2021. Ken Roczen and Chase Sexton will compete in Supercross aboard the 2021 CRF450R in the 450 class while Australian brothers Hunter and Jett Lawrence join the team on the CRF250R. Both Lawrence brothers come from the Factory Connection team. Jett won the final AMA Pro Motocross round. Sexton moves up in class after a Supercross 250 East regional championship. ABOVE: Chase Sexton is now aboard a CRF450R after winning the 250 east championship. BELOW: Ferrandis returns to the Monster Energy/Star Yamaha team but an arm injury may side-line him.



The Red Bull KTM team will continue with Cooper Webb and Marvin Musquin In the 450 class and Maximus Vohland filling the 250 class void as the team’s lone rider. Over at Rockstar- Husqvarna, a three-man team consisting of Jason Anderson, Zach Osborne Dean Wilson will contend for a championship. Wilson signed a one-year contract over the summer with the team. Osborne and Anderson are continuing to remain under a multi year contract. The 250 effort relies on R.J. Hamshire alongside Jalek Swoll who both continue on multi year contracts with the team. Tedder Racing’s KTM team will consist of Martin Davalos and Dakota Tedder. Dakota is the son of team owner Matt Tedder. The Smart Top/Bullfrog Spas/ Moto concepts Honda team will grow from a three-man team to a four-man team with riders Vince Friese, Shane McElrath,, Benny Bloss and Brock Tickle. Tickle is suddenly replacing the earlier announced Justin Hill. The question now remains, where will Justin Hill end up? There is the possibility Hill will ride as a privateer for the 2021. The newly formed Muc-Off Honda team will feature Justin Brayton in the 450 class with Mitchell Oldenburg and Mitchell Harrison in the 250s. The team is run by Australian Yarrive Konsky. The Rocky Mountain ATV/MC KTM team will have Joey Savatgy and Justin Bogle atop the 450s. Twisted Tea/Hep Motorsports will be the flagship team for Suzuki with riders Max Anstie, Adam Enticknap and Brandon Hartranft on the RM-Z450. Meantime, SGB/ Maxxis/Babbitt’s Kawasaki will field four riders in the 450 class. They include Alex Ray, Justin Rodbell, Jeremy Smith and AJ Castanzaro.

One big question out there is, who will Blake Baggett be riding for this year? That hasn’t been determined yet and we could see Baggett and Justin Hill lined up at the gate as privateers. Several other lesser known privateers and teams will battle with Supercross top riders. You never know, we could see a surprise from any privateer a.k.a. “underdog.” It has happened before. The only way to find out is to wait for that gate to drop to set the tone for the season!


2021 Off Road Racing Preview: A look ahead at what is to come.

Story by: Shaun Ochsner Photos: Shaun Ochsner, Eric Minks, Daniel Curiel


here are some pretty big off-road racing events just as the new year kicks off. The newly formed Legacy Racing Association hosts its first event in Pahrump, Nevada on January 7th.

LEGACY RACING- Donald and Kristy Jackson along with Liz Marshall formed the Legacy Racing Association after leaving their longtime posts with the Best in the Desert Series. The Legacy Racing 4WP Desert Showdown will be a 250-mile race starting and finishing in the town of Pahrump, Nevada. The race is easy to chase with 6 pit locations through the course. Legacy has five events planned for 2021.

BEST IN THE DESERT- The series is back with their action-packed schedule. First up is the Parker 425. BITD made some adjustments to move the start finish area after the Colorado River Indian Tribe (CRIT) implemented a strict COVID-19 mitigation policy that prevents the race from using its usual land. BITD will now avoid using any tribal land for the Parker 425. 34 | DIRTSPORTSWORLD.COM

. The Best in The Desert series has also brought back an old favorite event from the early days of the series. The Rocky Mountain ATV/MC World Hare and Hound Championship is open all motorcycles and quads and will be held in Tonopah, NV May 21st-23rd. The legendary Vegas to Reno race is also back on the schedule, but with a twist. The race will be run in reverse, starting in Reno and finishing in Vegas. King of the Hammers- is no longer just for rock crawlers and modified jeeps. The Hammers week schedule continues to expand every year and this year is packed with plenty of desert racing. Last year for the first time in Hammers history, Unlimited


Trophy trucks were invited to race the event. Bryce Menzies won the race and took home a $100,000 bonus check during the T1 Desert Invitational. 6100 trucks, Class 1, Class 10 and Class 11 buggies have been added to the mix. Class 1 will battle it out with the Ultra-4 cars to see who is the fastest in the desert. Unlimited Trophy Trucks are also back. The main Hammers race has been moved to Saturday, February 6th. SCORE INTERNATIONAL- returns with a four-race series that starts April 14th in San Felipe. The Baja 500 will be run in its usual spot June. The final race on the schedule is the granddaddy of them all– the Baja 1000. This race will finally be a peninsula run, starting in Ensenada and finishing down the Baja coast in La Paz along the sea of Cortez.



Championship Off Road- Short course season continues to hang in limbo for some racers on the west coast after Lucas Oil Off Road abruptly closed its doors. Championship Off Road is moving full steam ahead with a season opener in June at the Langlade County Fair in Antigo, Wisconsin. In short there is plenty of racing happening in 2021 with some exciting memories to be made on the horizon.


Performance Products

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story by: Shaun ochsner photos by: Mikes Race Photo, Carrera Photography



or those that knew Jeff Quinn, remember him as one of the nicest guys you could meet. He was always willing to help in any way he could. He was the standout person in the industry everyone aspired to be. Whether you bought a much-needed part from him or helped him out during a race. He didn’t forget you. Quinn lost his battle with cancer on August 27, 2020. His death shocked and saddened the off-road community. Quinn began riding motorcycles at an early age. It wasn’t’ long before he was bit by the racing bug. Racing on two wheels and soon after– four wheels followed in the buggy classes. He began racking up wins at the races he entered. He could always be found behind the wheel of a race car whether in the Nevada desert at a SNORE or Best in The Desert race or ripping up the best of Baja. Quinn has logged thousands of racing miles in the desert. It’s simple. Jeff had a deep love for the sport of off-road. In addition to his own efforts in various Class 10 and Class 16 cars, he raced with Wilson Motorsports, Concrete Motorsports and others.


His wife, Kim Quinn sent us the following statement: Words can’t express the loss our family feels in losing Jeff. He was an amazing husband, dad, papa, uncle, brother and friend. He was to say the least our world and our foundation. He left all of us with so many wonderful memories we will always cherish. The offroad community has been Jeff’s family also, for over 3 decades. The outpouring of love and support during his battle was a part of the puzzle that kept his spirits in the “fight”. Our racing community, over many trials and tribulations has stood together to support not only Jeff but his entire family, and we are eternally grateful. My honey was a man of many words, and these past few months I seem to be at a loss of them. I’m not sure how in a paragraph you begin to explain the amount of lives Jeff touched or was willing to help. There wasn’t a race that Jeff didn’t leave the McKenzie trailer unlocked all night…just in case “someone needed a part.” Everyone knew to leave what part you took on a notepad and Jeff would bill you later. He didn’t want anyone to miss out on the opportunity to get behind a wheel. His knowledge and passion for the sport will be truly missed…but his enthusiasm will never be forgotten.

When Quinn wasn’t in the desert he was riding Harleys or spending time on the river with his boat. Kim Quinn says he loved boating. Jeff always had a huge smile on his face while doing the things he loved. The last SNORE race of the season was named in Quinn’s honor¬– The McKenzies Mayhem Jeff Quinn Memorial race. Racers changed the liveries of their vehicles to match those that Quinn used on his race cars throughout the years. Unfortunately, the race was cancelled before it ever got started. A gathering to remember Jeff Quinn still went on Friday night at the SNORE event. Godspeed Jeff Quinn¬. You will be missed but never forgotten!



The Matlocks Take On Dakar story by: Lachelle Halliday Photos: Polaris, shaun ochsner, a.s.o


hristmas morning, a day typically filled with Christmas cheer, presents, and in some places a foot or two of snow, Kristen and Wayne Matlock instead hug their two boys Wyatt and Clayton, before boarding their first flight to the other side of the world. This journey officially began when the wife and husband duo signed a sponsorship deal with Polaris in 2016. During initial conversations, the Matlocks’ put Dakar on the table, setting exponentially high goals, not only for themselves, but also for Polaris. Up to that point, racing a side by side was an out of pocket expense and scarce to see manufacturer backed teams. Only a year later, Dakar officially designated a class for the side by sides that began taking over the infamous car and truck classes. Once the announcement of the first side by side class for Dakar, the Matlocks’ knew it was time to show Polaris they should be the team to be sent to


the desert halfway around the world. Embarking on their journey, the Matlocks’ began to rack up on trophies, wins, and accomplishments to provide backing to their request for Polaris to jump in head first. Between the two powerhouse drivers, they have accumulated over 20 wins in the SCORE sanction proving to be the leaders in the fastest growing class in all of off-road racing.

As being the duo’s first attempt at the demanding course in Saudi Arabia, Kristen is heading overseas with newest co-driver Max Eddy who easily and quickly spoke the same language as Kristen becoming an essential member to the Polaris team. Matt Eddy has his own collection of wins in the off-road community, and took his chances at Dakar once prior but is ready to stand the storm with the Matlocks. Wayne, driving a separate With Polaris officially on board, the Matlock duo began the design and engineering process vehicle with co-driver Sam Hayes, has the most experience behind the wheel racking up of a Dakar worthy machine per regulations quite the extensive catalog of wins nearing a that are mandated by each class. The specifications were grueling but Polaris guided few decades. the team with fully backed engineering teams to construct what is now the 2021 Polaris RZR Pro XP edition. These contraptions are battle ready once they drive off the line but were modified by the talented group at Jimco Racing to meet racing specifications needed for the side by side class. Another contender of the Saudi desert and good friend, Casey Currie, bestowed upon Kristen and Wayne technical advice on track sections to expect surprises that may arise and car set up that has proven successful in his own endeavors. 44 | DIRTSPORTSWORLD.COM

DSW: I hear you’re racing two separate cars, will there be a competition between you two? Kristen: It always is, yeah, Wayne and I are husband and wife, we love each other and were best friends but when we get out on the race course, were definitely competitive.

To encapsulate what a power couple dynamic that Kristen and Wayne have is beyond just two established, competitive drivers on one team, but a fun, loving, all hands-on deck style of marriage and family. Between the two drivers there will always be an inner competition with one another but unquestionably know when it’s time to battle the monsters in the desert together as a team rather than separately.

A lot has gone into Polaris and the Matlocks getting prepared to take on the beast known as Dakar. A key player in the preparations has been off-road’s most versatile driver, logistician, and all around a great addition to

Battling monsters together is not unknown to the Matlocks. From homeschooling their two boys, to building their own UTVs in the shop right outside their back door, Kristen Matlock holds down the fort as an off-road styled superwoman herself. Wayne, alongside Polaris and almost live-in engineers, has been granted design and prepping capabilities with the allnew 2021 Polaris RZR Pro XP machines. DIRTSPORTSWORLD.COM | 45


DSW: What pressure are you under to podium Polaris for the first time and to continue the American winning streak? Kristen: yeah, there’s definitely pressure but after talking with Polaris they realize that its year one. No body expects us to go over there and win year one. We wouldn’t expect someone from Saudi Arabia to come to Baja and win the first time. Polaris doesn’t expect us to either. If we do well, and we finish, ill be totally excited and anything beyond that is just a bonus in my eyes. But you never know, we might surprise everybody. any team, Darren Skilton. The road to Dakar is long, demanding and a logistical nightmare, but with Darren, housing over 25 years of experience at Dakar, who easily became the Matlocks’ team manager, the road now paved to ensure easier sailing for Polaris and the Matlocks to make this long running dream into a reality. Catching up to Kristen Matlock is a challenging feat even off the race course, but as we watch them begin their journey to the other side of the world, were in high hopes to see what comes from the power couple that is dominating the side by side division of offroad racing. With refusal to comment, we can only hope Ricky Brabec follows suit and can bring America a second win on two wheels 46 | DIRTSPORTSWORLD.COM


THE SHOW MUST GO ON Story and Photos by: Shaun Ochsner


hile other shows in 2020 were canceled due to the pandemic, one show went on without issue. The 6th annual International Off-Road & UTV Expo was held in early December at Westworld of Scottsdale, Arizona. Standard CDC safety protocols were required of the event. Vendors and attendees were asked to wear masks, use hand sanitizer and social distance. The show saw a good number of vendors.

distance yourself from large crowds. It is no surprise the off-road and UTV market is booming. Companies report healthy sales on

Strolling the aisles, there was no shortage of products to outfit your UTV or off-road truck. We saw light bars in every shape, color and size. There were plenty of custom lighted whips and flags to trick out your vehicle. Outdoor recreation is the perfect activity to DIRTSPORTSWORLD.COM | 47


products which was a major welcome in time for the holiday shopping season. One of the popular vendors at the expo was the Ford Motor Company. The 2021 Bronco was on display and for some, this is the first time they had an opportunity to see it in person. Ford employees were on hand to answer the many questions people had. They might have swayed some that were on the fence about buying one to get their pre-order in. The show had no shortage of life style brands selling the hottest off-road t-shirts, hats, sweatshirts and koozies. There were opportunities to pick up new stickers for that growing sticker collection that most display on their tool boxes. We also saw plenty of flashy builds on display. Whether an inspiration to get started on the vehicle sitting in your garage that you are short of parts on, or buy a custom one, the industry is still going strong, even in a pandemic and it’s time to hit the dirt and play.




Story by: Lachelle Halliday Photos by: Steve Ortner and Jason DeRamo


ailing from the mountains of Michigan, is former military, CNC machining guru, Steve Ortner who creates elaborate dreams. We all had with our plethora of Hot Wheels. However, Steve has the creativity to bring those dreams to life. Stemming from a career in the military, Steve found his passion in the shop and in 1998 with inspiration from his grandfather when he opened Mountain Machine with only two machines in his garage. Fast forward almost two decades, Mountain Machine now operates full steam ahead in a 35,000 square foot facility in Belleville, Michigan. Mountain Machine carries a definite promise to its fan base to never back down from


a machining or fabrication challenge. By using means of reverse engineering intricate specifications, they pride themselves on resolving the tough last minute no-oneelse-will touch tasks. Moreover, this mantra conveys equally in their resurrection of Steve’s 1994 civilian-spec Hummer H1. Originally, the hummer was a military designated vehicle during the late 1980’s amidst rising tensions in the Persian Gulf. Dubbed as a “Humvee” after the Army’s acronym HMMWV, which stood for High Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicle, represented the utmost display of brute force strength on four wheels. Off-road enthusiasts from all corners of the world appreciated the

vehicles performance during Operation Desert Storm when it became popularized on TV. With its 16 inches of ground clearance, fourwheel drive HMMWV’s plowed through 60 inches of deep water, dominated in desert heat and arctic snow, while still barreling through deep sand and rocky hillsides. The diesel-powered monster of a machine sadly was not available to the public until a few years later when die hard fanatic actor Arnold Schwarzenegger requested AM General to build an exact copy but for civilian use.


from the dream Steve had pictured all those years as it had been abused, beaten, and left to rust away in an empty field. However, Steve saw potential in the damaged rust bucket and knew he could turn this truck into a capable off-road gladiator.

Once released to the public, AM General offered 3 basic styles and by 1994 sales in the US were reported to be 718 vehicles. Many years later, Steve would respond to a Craigslist ad, becoming the proud owner of his dream vehicle, one of the 718 originally produced civilian Hummer H1. The hummer H1, as named for the civilian styled version, was far



The heap of a hummer was awkwardly slow and Steve instantly knew it was powered by the wrong motor. He knew he was going to dive in head first on a complete rebuild of his Hummer H1 and began stripping away layers of neglect until it was down to the bare frame rails. With the chassis cleaned and prepped, and acquiring a motor from a FedEx truck, the hummer began to piece back together starting with the engine block. Ridding the chassis of its 6.5-liter non-turbo N/A engine in favor of the increasingly powerful 12-valve Cummins engine machined to house 14mm ARP main studs, upgraded with a Hamilton head, new camshaft, lifters, and push rods. He threw out the old stock pistons replacing them with a set of Mahle ones modified by Pure Diesel Power. Steve wanted this Hummer to thrash through the Silver Lake Sand Dunes effortlessly, therefore compounding a 66mm turbocharger and an 88mm Borg Warner SK-E rather than taking the easy route with a single turbocharger. With the cumbersome task of diesel transmission swaps that typically can become troublesome, Ortner lucked out as a GM 4180E slid simply in the transmission tunnel allowing the Cummins engine to adapt to the transmission via an adapter plate machined in his own shop. The GM transmissions use an overdrive gear, relatively light and built durable providing an exemplary design for diesels. For a racing gearbox that could adequately support the engine’s beastly torque, Steve chose to stick with a full manual 52 | DIRTSPORTSWORLD.COM

valve body performance transmission from J&H Transmissions. Highly abused in offroad race trucks, the Yank Performance torque converter that stalls at 2200 RPM was the ideal choice to handle to exemplary mauling the Hummer H1 would soon be doing. The dream of ripping through Silver Lake Sand Dunes was beginning to come into focus as piece by piece the Hummer H1 began to take shape. While installing the engine, the team at Mountain Machine noticed the Ron Davis radiator was massively overthrowing the space the engine sat in under the hood. A collection of nods in agreeance, the radiator was moved to the bed of the truck, allowing the installation of the water to air intercooler in its place. With the newly acquired extra space Steve was able to position the water methanol tank, water to air heat exchanger tank and pump into the rear bed along side the radiator. Outfitting the truck with a 200-amp alternator to run all six fans, including the double trans cooler, engine oil, hydraulic cooler, and the two radiator fans.

As an off-road enthusiast himself, Steve turned to the dirt community to satisfy his urge to create a fully capable H1. He made the final decision to purchase Rod Hall Products long travel spring and shock packages to give the H1 a couple inches of lift with beneficial independent suspension. Completing the drive train, he installed a transfer case from an armored Humvee and ARB air lockers for the front and rear that smoothly engaged with the factory gearing. Rounding out the finishing touches, Steve positioned Raceline 17X9-inch wheels draped in 37-inch tires from Duneland Offroad Center in Mears, MI and wrapped with four piston Wilwood Big Brake kits on both front and rear.


After customizing his dream vehicle with leather seats, a fully wrapped console and dash, Steve can typically be found thrashing around Silver Lake Sand Dunes or in his shop recreating this defining feat of ingenuity and craftsmanship that are second to none. Steve created a “Beast Mode� Hummer H1 that truly defies all odds as the 8,000lb vehicle flies across the road, and the sand dunes at Silver Lake. We look forward to seeing more extraordinary species come from the Mountain Machine shop going forward in our endeavors.



Proper Radio Communication Story by: Shaun Ochsner


adio communication has become an important part of off-road racing. Twoway radios are now even finding their way into side-by-sides for regular weekend dune recreation. With so many radios out there, it is important to learn the proper way to use them to ensure you get the most out of your radio and it works as it was designed. Radios come in all shapes, sizes and now colors. In the past, radios were large and bulky and took up a lot of space inside of


your vehicle. They were also expensive. For most desert communications, you are going to need a VHF radio. VHF travels farther over longer distances and works great in desert terrain. Many of the radios sold by PCI and Rugged are dual band. They use both VHF and UHF frequencies. In offroad, several short course race teams will use the UHF band as their communications are needed only in short distances such as within the facility of a closed course race track.


Both PCI and Rugged radio companies typically sell you a radio preprogrammed with 16 commonly used channels in the desert. The first of these channels is Weatherman. The channel is still licensed today by Bob Steinberger’s company for usage in North America and Baja. During races it serves as an emergency life-line between the racer and a relay set up by PCI. Racers are able to call on the channel and report an emergency or other issue they may be having. The problem with so many radios able to transmit on the channel is there is a lot of radios jamming it up and it can be difficult for someone to get through, especially in Baja. It is a great channel to monitor during the race, but if you don’t have a need to transmit on it, unplug your microphone. Unfortunately, handheld radios do not have this option. The base radios will transmit miles with correct antennae configuration. (We will dive into that in another article) There are obviously more than 16 channels, and plenty of racers, so finding a private channel can sometimes be tough. Number one rule to remember: never coordinate your race team logistics on Weatherman during a race. Never! Both companies keep databases of frequencies other teams are using. Unfortunately, there is not a common database, so it may take some hunting to find a clear channel. When transmitting, especially on Weatherman, you must monitor the channel for at least a minute to determine whether or not there is other traffic on the air. The quickest way to upset the relay guy on the other end is stepping on critical communications. If you are in a canyon, you may not always be able to hear the other side of the conversation, but relay can hear you and the other person you are stepping on. Pit services such as BFG, Locos Mocos and Baja Pits all have their own relay channels. Be sure your communications on the radio are

quick and concise. Hold down the mic, and key it for a second before speaking. While there are many channels available in the general business band, an FCC license may be required to operate on some channels. Both radios companies can assist you with the proper paperwork to obtaining a license. The radio companies will also program PL tones into the frequency to keep you from stepping on other users of the frequency. DIRTSPORTSWORLD.COM | 55


MEMORY OF JEFF QUINN Words: Steve Hanson Photo: Mikes Race Photo


ECCLESIASTES 3:1-4 KJV To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.

n this issue of DirtSportsWorld, we celebrate the life of Jeff Quinn and the memories that we hold close to our hearts. COVID prevented our dirt-sport community from the opportunity to celebrate the life of Jeff at the SNORE race in Primm, NV last month. So, instead of my traditional pit stop devotion I wanted to honor the life of a man whom we loved and admired that we all wish he was not taken from us. Apostle Paul tells us in Romans 8:37. ROMANS 8:37-39 KJV In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Jeff was known for his work ethic, loyalty, generosity, and friendliness to all. Jeff was not just another racer, but a friend to me. Anytime I saw him at a race he would ask if I had a place to stay, and if I had eaten. Only a friend wants to make sure your necessities are taken care of, that you have shelter and nourishment. He was not the type of “friend” who asked what can you do for me? No, he asked what can I do for you, how can I help you? That is what I remember most about Jeff, and I know I am not alone in the off-road community that received genuine friendship from him. Jeff supported everyone in the off-road community, and I know that to be true in my own ministry. Every time I held a fundraiser, Jeff was supportive. He always wanted to know how “we” could make the fundraiser better, whether it was creating awareness or helping others in need. It always made 56 | DIRTSPORTSWORLD.COM

me feel good knowing he did not just want to have the perception of being a “good guy” but wanted to come alongside and partner with me. If you want a good and loyal friend, you need to be a good and loyal friend. That is how I remember Jeff. We look for the inspiring coming of our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ to resurrect the body from the grave and the joyous life reserved for those who claim Jesus as Savior. There will be a huge celebration when Christ returns. It is this hope that Jeff would want to share with you if he could today. To trust in Christ, that since He paid the price for our sins and conquered death we too will be caught up. ISAIAH 41:29-31 NIV He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint. The last time I saw Jeff was at the Parker 425 this past year. He was in good spirits and I really felt like he was going to win his battle with cancer. So, it came as a shock to me when I received the news of his passing. I do find peace knowing that my last time with Jeff was spent sharing some laughs and some time in prayer with him. In remembrance of Jeff’s life, let’s give thanks to God for giving us Jeff Quinn for all these years. We are better for having known and spent time with him. May the same be said of us when our time comes to cross our finish line. I pray for comfort towards his friends and his family. And I pray that we all could live the example Jeff left us of being a genuine and loyal friend. Follow @rfc_dirtsportministry


UPCOMING EVENTS january Legacy Racing Desert Showdown- Pahrump, NV January 7th-10th

EVENT TO ATTEND King of the Hammers

Best In The Desert Parker 425- Parker, AZ January 13th-16th WORCS ATV/SXS Round 1- Lake Havasu, AZ January 15th-17th King of the Hammers- Johnson Valley, CA January 28th-February 6th

february Legacy Racing Hare Scrambles- Laughlin, NV February 5th-7th SNORE 250- Kingman, AZ February 12th-13th WORCS ATV/SXS Round 2- Blythe, CA February 12th-14th Slash X Duel in the Desert- Barstow, CA February 20th

King of the Hammers is a race that should be on everyone’s bucket list. We like to call it a cross between Burning Man meets Woodstock for gear heads. Hammers is a week-long series of non-stop offroad desert and rock-racing set in Johnson Valley, California. There are epic obstacles all over the valley, very easily accessible for spectators to get an up close look at the action. There are also plenty of vendors in Hammertown with all of the latest off-road gear.

Best in the Desert Parker 250 (Moto,Quad,UTV) February 18th-21st Have an event for our Calendar? Send us an email: dirtsports@dirtsportsworld.com DIRTSPORTSWORLD.COM | 57


DirtSportsWorld Magazine January Issue 1 Vol 2  

January 2021 DirtSportsWorld magazine features our 2020 driver of the year- Eliott Watson. We also look at the biggest off-road moments in 2...

DirtSportsWorld Magazine January Issue 1 Vol 2  

January 2021 DirtSportsWorld magazine features our 2020 driver of the year- Eliott Watson. We also look at the biggest off-road moments in 2...