How does a piece of work become a piece of sports equipment? What do I really need in the race and what can I easily do without? Are sports ATVs really “race-ready” or musclemen with one or the other “love handles”? We’ll take a look at that with ATV Champion Jürgen Mohr.

ATVs are work tools. Basically. But the reality of our scene takes this truism ad absurdum. A large – if not the predominant part – of the approved or sold all-rounders is in the leisure and hobby sector. What is also not surprising, the respective users need and appreciate the same equipment features. All-wheel drive, locks, independent suspension – all of this brings you reliably through the protection in the forest as well as briskly around the enduro course. It is no coincidence that almost every ATV manufacturer today offers a sports model in order to reach precisely those customers who tend to roll their vehicle to the starting gate of a rally than through the cowshed. The veritable extinction of real sports quads is another contribution to this trend. But there are a few questions that arise for those interested.

How do you get an ATV ready for racing?

The model for local ATV races is the American series GNCC – Grand National Cross Country. It is considered to be one of the most demanding in the enduro field and is contested nationwide in the USA. Demanding stretches in extensive terrain are the order of the day and demand a lot from man and machine. In this country there are often forest passages with Moto Cross-like sections, also because our series are often based on existing routes. If you look around there and overseas, it is noticeable that the drivers have usually already relieved their racing equipment from the lighting. “At least one stone guard,” recommends Jürgen Mohr, multiple German ATV and Quad Enduro champion. “But it is better to expand,” says the Polaris pilot, who is currently fighting for championship points on a 1000cc Scrambler. Using waterproof plug connections, they can be reinstalled very quickly for everyday use.

Let’s stick with the on-board electrics: Everything that is not absolutely necessary should be removed wherever possible, and what remains should be protected with standard fuses instead of the usual thermal fuses. This means that you are largely safe from failure of the electrical system. It is best to obtain vehicle-specific information from the dealer beforehand. “Another sticking point is the ignition interrupter, which is mandatory in the races,” quotes Jürgen from the rules of most organizers. “This must be integrated into the on-board electrical system in a clean and waterproof manner so that it does not become a source of error itself.” There are differences that must be taken into account before installation. Some of the “kill switches” interrupt the ignition when they are open, ie you pull off a cap with the pull rope. Others are reminiscent of a clothespin and stall the engine when the contacts touch that were previously separated by a plastic bolt. “Speaking of ignition: some ATVs – Polaris always – are started with a key. That costs time at the Le Mans start! Paralyze the ignition lock and connect the starter to the horn switch and thus to the normal electric starter. You don’t need the horn anyway! ”Jürgen Mohr optimized his scrambler in many, even such inconspicuous but important details. Race-peg footpegs give more grip and control than the sometimes slippery running boards.

A question of weight

In the USA, we saw with the factory teams from Polaris and Can-Am that the drivers were doing without front-wheel drive. The mechanics had simply removed the differentials and drive shafts. “That easily saves 20 kilos and more weight,” explains Jürgen Mohr, who himself also appreciates a light vehicle front. “But ultimately everyone has to know that for themselves and decide on their preferred routes. But the all-wheel drive usually helps beginners rather than being able to keep the box going. ”However, the master himself drives with a 4 × 4 drive and advises removing the luggage rack. With all the weight savings – depending on the purpose – a few additional kilos are also advisable. “I don’t want to do without an underride guard,” says Mohr, who uses it to protect his frame and substructure. “In the racing fever with adrenaline, you hardly notice how badly you batter your ATV. Something quickly tears off. ”Incidentally, he has reinforced his A-arms with cross braces and thus made them more resistant. Gusset plates can also be found at the neuralgic points of the frame. In both cases, however, an absolute professional has to go to work with the welding machine. Superficiality or hobbyists are dangerous in these places.

On his scrambler and several other machines in the paddock there is a mud guard / stone guard for the cooler. “But make sure that air can reach the cooler from the side,” says Jürgen, who also advises handguards just in case. Another professional tip from the master makes the pit stop easier: “Simply replace different screws with if possible those with uniform screw heads, so that a lot can be done with few tools.” In mud races, Jürgen advises spraying the plastic parts with silicone spray to prevent the mud from sticking Has. This means you can enjoy weight savings for as long as possible and thus a certain protection against breakage.

With just a few simple steps, even the roughest workhorse mutates into a courageous hit. But you still have the greatest influence. The machine with maintenance and keep fit with sport. Do both regularly and you can start. We’ll meet at the start gate with our cars!

Text: Ralf Wilke, Jürgen Mohr Photos: ISOone photography, QW archive, manufacturer

Magazine article 01/2016

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