2005 Youth ATV Racing Regulations

Jan. 15, 2005 By George Szappanos

If you’re new to racing ATVs, you may not know the most recognized sanctioning body in America is the All Terrain Vehicle Association, or ATVA, which is a section of the AMA (American Motorcyclist Association). The job of the ATVA, among other non-racing related things, is to establish a class structure that fosters fair and even racing which means that each class must have clearly defined restrictions as to what is and is not allowed. This has to be balanced with a class definition that is broad enough to make sure that a sufficient number of competitors meet the requirements.

In contrast to the AMA’s two-wheeled cousin’s youth racing program, the youth ATV classes have much fewer options. This is most likely a result of the fact that only until recently have youth ATVs even become widely available, and the youth ATV racing scene is just getting rolling. As the sport develops the class structure may very well diversify – shifters, CVTs, micros, 4-stroke minis, etc. Every year the ATVA revisits these class definitions and solicits input from riders, promoters, and even manufacturers about how the regulations might need changing. The last go around was this past October, and a few modifications were instituted for 2005. The table at the end of this article summarizes the class structure as put forth for next year.

Changes for 2005  

From a racer’s perspective, some of the biggest changes for 2005 can be summarized as the following:

  • The displacement limit for the 90cc class was increased to 125cc for 4-strokes to compensate for the inherently higher specific output of the 90cc two-cycle engines. 
  • A caveat was added to disallow “downsizing” (sleeving or de-stroking) of engines for the 200/300cc Production class. In other words, full size ATVs cannot be made into youth quads simply by decreasing the displacement. 
  • Production class suspension modifications were clarified by stating that “only bolt-on components” would be allowed. For example, this offers racers the opportunity to install double A-arm suspensions in place of the single A arms.
  • The 70 and 90cc Production classes are limited to automatic clutch type transmissions.

The entire youth ATV class structure can be broken by three categories: rider age, displacement, and extent of modifications allowed. Some clarification of terminology can be helpful to explain the section regarding modifications, which understandably is usually a major point of contention.

Modification Restrictions  

Limited Class (0-50cc only)- This class offers the opportunity for young racers to dabble with ATV racing. Almost configured as a “spec” racing class, the nearly stock machines are affordable and safe (relatively slow), and offer good wheel to wheel competition. The stock frame and ATV engine cases from the original ATV manufacturer of that make and model must be used. Gussets for strength and safety may be added to the chassis as long it doesn’t affect the stock frame geometry.

The following may be changed from stock: tires, wheels, internal portions of the motor, sprockets, gearing, twist throttle, handlebars, grips, handle bar pads, front bumper, rear grab bar and jetting. Fenders may be trimmed. Nerf bars or suitable floorboards are required.

No other modifications are allowed including carburetors, oil injection, air box and lid, gas tank, exhaust systems with spark arrestor, wheel base, width, rear axle, A-arms, electrical system, shocks and suspension.

Production Classes-  The idea of this class is to allow racers to modify a machine to keep up with their increasing abilities. Although intended to remain fundamentally a production-oriented machine, there’s tremendous opportunity to make these stock machines faster.

In slight contrast to the limited class above, the Production class allows modifications provided they are “bolt-on” in nature. The implication here is that the basic design of the machine is left in tact – the original motor case must be used, and the stock frame must be used. Items that can be easily moved from machine to machine are acceptable such as A-arms and swingarms, as well as exhaust pipes, cylinders, and carbs.

A last minute change to this class made the distinction that the 71-90cc Production class machines must be of an automatic clutch type transmission, however, the 51-70cc class rule has again been rewritten to allow manual clutch machines (such as Cobra). Doug Morris from the ATVA says the reason for the change was that most recently many manufacturers have shown tremendous interest in the youth ATV racing arena, and "we don’t want our rules to discourage the growth we need". Hopefully, Doug is right and we'll see more race quads next year when the class structure is expected to get revamped again with the addition of a "70cc production shifter class"  and a "70cc production auto class", and the elimination of the 70cc modified class.

Modified Classes- Essentially, this class is considered no holds barred, provided the basic ATV guidelines established in the AMA rule book are followed. Engine modifications are permitted, as are all chassis mods. Typically the type of machine raced in this class is a high-dollar, custom built “shifter quad” which utilizes an engine transplanted from a motocross bike with a multi-speed gearbox, hence the term shifter-quad. Chassis designs are typically 100% custom built and feature double A-arm front ends.

2005 Youth ATV Motocross Racing Rules Summary


Rider Age

Engine mods allowed

Chassis/ Susp mods allowed

0-50cc Limited

4-8 years

50cc limit; otherwise almost completely stock

Tires and wheels provided the track remains unchanged, gearing changes allowed; otherwise completely stock

51cc-70cc Production

6-11 years

70cc limit; stock engine case required

Only bolt-on components allowed

71cc-90cc Production Junior, AUTO trans

8-11 years

90cc limit for 2-strokes, and 125cc limit for 4-strokes; stock engine case required

Only bolt-on components allowed

71cc-90cc Production Senior, AUTO trans

12-15 years

90cc limit for 2-strokes, and 125cc limit for 4-strokes; stock engine case required

Only bolt-on components allowed

200cc 2-stroke & 300cc 4-stroke; Production

13-15 years

200cc two-cycle, 300cc four-cycle limits; stock cases; no downsizing

Only bolt-on components allowed

51cc-70cc Modified

6-11 years

70cc limit: otherwise no restrictions

No restrictions

71cc-90cc Modified

8-15 years

90cc limit for 2-strokes, and 125cc limit for 4-strokes; otherwise no restrictions

No restrictions

The Local Scene  

The reality is that although these distinctions define ATVA’s intentions from a National viewpoint, it’s ultimately up to the local promoter to decide which classes he will run. For example, if only six 70cc quads typically show up to an event, and they are a mix of Production and Modified (some shifters), then it’s the promoter’s prerogative to lump them together in the same class. 

Be aware that to compete in an AMA/ATVA event, your ATV must meet certain basic requirements such as installation of number plates, nerf bars, tether, etc. To be sure of the latest rules, make sure to either check the ATVA website or contact your district representative.

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