Utility terrain vehicles or side-by-sides are small vehicles that were originally used in ranches and agricultural works. Side-by-sides are powerful vehicles that can easily pass through any steep terrains and rocky surfaces. By using the right wheels for side-by-sides, you can even use this vehicle with ease when driving through dunes and roads covered in mud and snow.
But if you want to take your driving experience up a notch, consider using your side-by-side in a race. UTV races are common in different parts of the globe, and with the number of adrenaline-seeking individuals who are investing in side-by-sides, you can expect that the number of UTV races will double every year.
If you think racing with your side-by-side is something that’s up to your alley, it’s best if you know the following things first:
Prepare For Your First Ever Tech Inspection
Before searching for side-by-side races in your area, it’s best if you prepare your vehicle for its first tech inspection. This is one of the most basic requirements in every side-by-side race. Depending on the model and features of your side-by-side, assessment from the tech inspection might require you to make customizations to your vehicle before you can enter any races.
However, keep in mind that different types of side-by-side races will also require a different type of tech inspection. For you to identify races suitable to your current side-by-side, use websites such as compett.org. It’s important to know the technicalities of your vehicle and the races it can enter without spending too much on customization.
Generally, almost all tech inspections will require you to customize the following:
- Roll cages: Side-by-sides with factory cages will be allowed to join races if these cages are tied into a frame attached to two points in the vehicle.
- Doors: The doors of the side-by-sides should be mounted, so it doesn’t pop open in the middle of the race. Doors swinging as you’re driving through a race can pose serious safety risks.
- Fire extinguisher: Side-by-sides should have a 2.5-pound fire extinguisher, accessible within the driver’s reach. The fire extinguisher should be mounted inside the vehicle to prevent it from falling over during the race.
- Safety nets: Safety needs attached in the vehicle should be approved by the inspecting committee. Aside from improving your safety, these nets can also improve your grip during the race.
- Number plates: Side-by-sides should use number plates containing the correct vehicle number and displayed in the correct font size and color. This will make it easier for the race organizers to identify your progress in the race.
Required Race Gear
Aside from making sure that your side-by-side is ready for the race, certain gears will be required from drivers, too. These gears should be worn throughout the entire race to ensure your safety as a driver and avoid any injuries. Side-by-sides are heavy vehicles, and being tumbled over by this vehicle is one of the last things you want to experience.
Race gears are also made from materials that are durable and cool, so you can still enjoy the protection you need when racing and remain comfortable while wearing it.
All types of side-by-side races will require you to wear helmets, fire suits, goggles, long-sleeve shirts, and off-road shoes.
Although not required, it’s also recommended for you to wear a chest protector. Chest protectors work as your upper body’s shield against impact.
Travel Set Up
Regardless of the type of side-by-side you have right now and the race you want to enter, all side-by-side races can last an entire day. Usually, different races will be held in one location. These races can happen simultaneously or one at a time.
For you to adapt to this schedule and ensure that you remain comfortable the entire day, it’s best if you know what to set up. For starters, bringing a canopy in races is a good idea. Canopies are lightweight, convenient to set up, and can provide shade from the sun. You can set up your own canopy near your pit area for easy access.
Bring all personal items which you think you will need for an entire day of racing. Most importantly, you should also bring the necessary materials for your side-by-side. Usually, you will need to bring spare parts, cleaning materials, and a nitrogen tank or compressor.
Knowledge Is Power
Having a side-by-side isn’t enough for you to immediately join races. For you to ensure your safety and enjoyment during these races, you need to make sure that you’re actually joining the right type of race, and your vehicle is ready for the race. Neglecting any of these tasks can lead to accidents and injuries, and can become the reason why you’ll lose the motivation to race again.
If this is your first time to join side-by-side races, consider this article as your guide to prepare. It’ll be easier for you to make the most out of your first side-by-side race if you know what and how to prepare.