Whether you’re looking to check out some awesome ATV riders in action or get in on the competition yourself, ATV racing is a fast-paced, high-energy activity that’s great for riders and audiences alike. From dirt to sand to mud, the world of ATV racing is diverse and competitions can be found across the country. To help you find the best of the best, ATV Trader has put together a list of the top four ATV races, series, and competitions for you to check out.
1. Grand National Cross Country
Starting in the east, we have the Grand National Cross Country (GNCC), which hosts more riders than any other series in the country. In total, there are 13 events between March and October in nine different states. Depending on where they’re racing, courses are between six and 15 miles long. Riders can end up facing all types of terrain, including open fields, thick woods, steep hills, rocks, and tracks. As if that isn’t enough of a challenge, riders aren’t allowed to practice on the course before they compete.
Two of the more popular tracks that riders experience as part of the GNCC are The General and Ironman. The General is the third stop on the circuit in Washington, Georgia and is known for the distinctive red clay. When it’s dry, the packed clay makes for a rough ride, but when it’s wet, the track becomes slick and rutted. Ironman, on the other hand, is the last stop in the series in Crawfordsville, Indiana and has grown to such levels of popularity that both vendors and manufacturers set up booths to show off their new products. The track has a wide variety of terrain to challenge riders, including some of the steepest hills in the entire circuit.
2. World Off-Road Championship Series
Moving to the West Coast, you’ll find the World Off-Road Championship Series (WORCS). This series is known for being one of the toughest in the world and has nine events across Idaho, Utah, Nevada, California, and Arizona. In total, this series attracts over 11,000 racers throughout the circuit—all with diverse backgrounds and experience in off-road styles like enduro, hare and hound, hare scramble, and more, making the competition intense.
Because the terrain varies so greatly from state to state, racers face everything from open desert rides to highly technical forest trails to traditional motocross tracks. There’s literally a challenge at every turn. WORCS kicks off in January and runs through September. During the circuit, more than 50,000 spectators will come to check out the professional and amateur riders alike.
3. SCORE International Off-Road Racing
SCORE International Off-Road Racing is another famous West Coast circuit, and is internationally known as one of the premier desert series. It has nine events between March and August, some of which take place in Mexico. If you’re looking to take your racing career international, this could be the series for you.
Of the nine races, the Baja 500 and the Baja 1000 are probably the most widely recognizable events. Both are loop races that usually start and finish in Ensenada, California. The names are slightly misleading because the Baja 500 is actually just under 500 miles and the Baja 1000 is less than 1,000 miles. Either way, both competitors and spectators literally come from all over the world to experience these events, so they are certainly ones to add to your bucket list.
4. AMA ATV Motocross National Championship Series
Last, but certainly not least, is the AMA ATV Motocross National Championship Series. As the name implies, this is a circuit directly endorsed by the American Motorcycle Association. It may seem odd that the leading motorcycle association supports this event but, since off-road units like ATVs and UTVs are part of the larger powersports family like motorcycles, it makes sense for the AMA to be involved.
This circuit allows both amateurs and professional riders to compete in a total of nine different races between March and August, with stops at a few pretty famous tracks along the way including Red Bud and the Loretta Lynn Ranch.
Red Bud takes place in Buchanan, Michigan and is particularly well known for the amount of air that the riders can catch off the jumps. For spectators, this stop is a highlight of the circuit. In addition, the soil on the track is particularly dark and has a changing consistency, ranging from a firm pack to sand. Riders need to be prepared for a wide variety of conditions.
Immediately after Red Bud, the circuit heads to Loretta Lynn Ranch in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee. This particular race is especially famous, not only because it is the oldest race on the circuit and draws the most competitors, but also because the property is owned by country singing legend Loretta Lynn, the infamous coal miner’s daughter. Considering that this event happens in early August, riders need to prepare for the heat and humidity of Tennessee and should plan to drink lots of fluids ahead of the ride. Another interesting thing about this track is that it’s made of a mixture of sand and sawdust, giving it a unique grip and texture.
Conclusion: Whichever event you decide to attend, ATV racing is an awesome experience no matter if you’re competing or just watching. If you’re looking for a machine to use in competition, check out ATVTrader.com for the largest selection of new and used ATV and UTV units across the country.