they want? Does their builder know
his business and back up his work?
These are important questions to ask.
If you’re bent on doing your own
build, use the most race-tested parts
and reputable companies available.
You can find many of them right here
in the pages of Dirt Wheels, or check
the Internet and Facebook sand drag
racing sites like ATVDragRacer.com
or the Pro Sand Drags Association,
and contact racers like me on our
Your imagination is the only limitation. Although you’ll find bracket
racers in this category, most racers
piloting custom rigs don’t race for trophies. They are into heads-up racing,
speed and the fastest elapsed time in
their class. Elapsed times of less than
4. 2 seconds are common, with 3. 6 to
3.1 seconds frequently. A few have
broken the 3.0 barrier and run under
The basic formula is a big-bore single (usually starting with a Yamaha
Raptor, YFZ or Honda motor); twin-
(Yamaha Banshee), triple- or four-cyl-inder two- or four-stroke motor;
motorcycle or snowmobile engine,
frequently turbo- or nitrous-fed and
fitted into a custom-made long frame
with aggressive, staggered paddle tires and a strong wheelie bar.
Engine sizes can run over 1300cc. It’s
common to see 100-plus horsepower.
Unless you have excellent professional mechanical skills and a complete
machine shop, you will want to work
with an engine and chassis builder if
you want to enter this league.
The bigger the build, the less reliable the motor, so be prepared. When
you start racing, you may want to
switch to a premium, race-quality
10w- 50 or 15w- 50 oil that’s wet-clutch
compatible if your machine runs a wet
clutch. (I use 15w- 50 Spectro Platinum
4 Full Synthetic motorcycle oil with a
K&N oil filter.) Change your oil and
filters, and do a complete inspection
of your race machine after every race
weekend. Winning starts way before
you get on the drag racetrack. ❏
Dirt Wheels contributor Gee
Armstrong is an Oregon-based
pro sand drag racer sponsored by
Florence Yamaha/Polaris, Fullerton
Sand Sports Tires & Wheels, Redline
Racing Engines, DASA, CP-Carrillo
Pistons, K&N Filters, Spectro Oils USA,
Direct Drive CNC, Outerwears, O’Neal
Mx Clothing, X Brand Goggles, Red
Art Inc. and Santa Cruz Bicycles.
This two-time championship-winning, track-only “conversion” was built by Redline
Racing in Oregon strictly for Index Racing and Bracket Racing. In addition to
power-producing motor modifications, this bike has an “override,” also called a
“cut,” transmission that doesn’t require using the clutch to shift. The colored chalk
arrows on the tires are for quick location of valve stems to check tire pressures
during the heat of racing.
Technological advances always find
their way into racing. Here on this custom Raptor, carbon fiber A-arms have
been built into the stock frame.
Adjustable aluminum struts like this
one flatten out your ATV’s suspension,
lowering the center of gravity, which
provides a safer, faster trip down the
track than shock absorbers do.
Most racers prefer a sturdy kart-racing
tire with axle bearings at the business
end of their wheelie bar. Others use
plastic or carbon fiber wheels. There
is a difference in “feel” when these
wheels make contact with the track
surface and go to work, so you may
want to experiment with several different wheelie wheels.
A lock-out clutch, like this one made by
Direct Drive CNC, eliminates any possibility of clutch slippage and puts all
the power to the rear paddle tires for
blasting down the track.