2017 UTV World Championship Coverage, Results
In the last 10 years or so the UTV segment of the off-road world has grown exponentially. From the early days when vehicles were literally built from golf carts, the rigs are purpose-built side-by-sides capable of serious trails, sand dunes or even challenging race courses. UTV racing is by far the fast growing class at any off-road race. From the Baja 1000 to the Mint 400, side-by-sides are now the biggest class and they are still growing.
Enter the UTV World Championships, which is now in its third year and is still growing. The race has become large enough that it’s almost impossible to miss. Racers from all over the U.S. made the pilgrimage to Laughlin, Nevada, to take place in the UTV-only event to tackle one of the roughest off-road courses in the West.
Over 300 UTVs entered, from the full desert rigs, short coursers, WORCS rigs, and even the kids came out in droves to participate in the event. The first UTV race had the majority of the entries, with an ultra-cool land rush start providing some great action. Ten laps on 16 miles of rough Nevada course, the race was just long enough that you couldn’t leave anything on the table, but as the famous racing quote goes, “To finish first, you must first finish.”
Ten laps of mayhem left broken and bashed cars scattered around the race course. Even big time names like Robby Gordon had his share of trouble in his new Arctic Cat UTV, and he finished well off the pace.
When the dust settled it was Phil Blurton who took home the top spot in the podium, followed closely by Justin Lambert and Mark Holz in third.
Next up was the kid’s UTV race. This was clearly the most entertaining of the three races, with children ages 6-12 years of age racing production 170cc and 250cc UTVs for a half-hour on a 1/2-mile course of berms, jumps and ruts. Some of the parents were still in their driving suits from the previous race cheering on their kids from the sidelines as they raced wheel to wheel.
When the clock stopped the winner was Dallas Gonzalez, followed by Clayton Mickel and Kaden Danbury in the 250 class. In the 170 class, Luke Knupp would take the top spot with Jaxxton Lambert and Aaron Cuevas rounding out the top three.
The final event for the day was the “short course” race. These cars are regular participant in the WORCS series and are a different animal than the desert cars. These are modified and lightened UTVs that have a much better power-to-weight ratio over the desert cars but at the same time not built to withstand the abuse the desert cars are built to take.
Right out of the gate it was apparent that these cars are much faster and it showed. These guys had no time to give with a short three-lap race, and for some the race ended in the first turn.
Battling the dust and terrain it was XP1K UTV video star RJ Anderson who’d take the overall win, with Ryan Holz and Branden Sims rounding out the Turbo class.
“They’re fun!” said Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame inductee, multi-time off-road champion and Baja 1000 winner Larry Ragland. “I’ve raced everything in the dirt there is from Baja to Pikes Peak, I’ve done Jeeps, buggies and everything else and these cars are just so much fun. They have speed, comfort and just a blast to drive. It’s a great time.”
It’s really cool to see off-roading grow with the rise UTVs. Much like the VW bugs of the ‘70s, these vehicles are a gateway to the off-road culture and lifestyle that can be easily obtained. You don’t have to have a million dollars in cash to buy something that goes fast in the dirt. The truth can be seen at every off-road race, every off-road trail, every off-road park and dune. UTVs are here to stay.
MORE UTV WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
2017 UTV WC Photo Gallery
2017 UTV World Championship Results
Safecraft UTVWC Desert Race Pro Turbo
1st place – Phil Blurton
2nd place – Justin Lambert
3rd place – Mark Holz
Safecraft UTVWC Desert Race Pro UTV
1st place – Andrei Isac
2nd place – Benjamin Bischoff
3rd place – Joe Loomis
Safecraft UTVWC Desert Race Pro Unlimited UTV
1st place – Michael Isom
2nd place – Robert Villarreal
3rd place – Gabriel Varela
Safecraft UTVWC Desert Race Sportsman
1st place – Robert Parson
Got Sand Performance UTVWC Youth 250 Top 3
1st place – Dallas Gonzalez
2nd place – Clayton Mickel
3rd place – Kaden Danbury
Got Sand Performance UTVWC Youth 170 Top 3
1st place – Luke Knupp
2nd place – Jaxxton Lambert
3rd place – Aaron Cuevas
Method Race Wheels UTVWC Short Course Production Turbo
1st place – RJ Anderson
2nd place – Ryan Holz
3rd place – Branden Sims
Method Race Wheels UTVWC Short Course Production 1000
1st place – Ray Bulloch
2nd place – Will Rodgers
3rd place – Dean Wheeler Jr.
Method Race Wheels UTVWC Short Course Production 900
1st place – Kaleb Myers
2nd place – Jerry Byerman
Method Race Wheels UTVWC Short Course 700/800
1st place – Skyler Bulloch
2nd place – Sam Chournos
3rd place – Casey Sims