A SIDEWAYS 2020
No doubt about it, it has been a sideways 2020, but UTV recreation has actually benefited from the coronavirus pandemic, subsequent lock-downs and city chaos. As I write this, the entire West Coast is on fire with 38 forest and wildfires due to the Sierra Club’s national Zero-Cut policy, Antifa arson, and a problematic reduction of Cal-Edison infrastructure maintenance as resources instead went to developing alternative power sources by green-bent legislative decree. Schooled in forestry, I’ve attended many USFS ANF meetings since the 1980s, and the Golden State has ignored repeated warnings that its fuel loads must be reduced. Roving electrical power outages are gripping the state of California, because these alternative wind/solar sources can’t meet summer demands. And, people who have UTVs are escaping in droves to the parts of the west that aren’t on fire.
On the good side of a sideways 2020, UTV racing has resumed with the $110,000 TexPlex Texas UTV Race Series, the first to restart and end its season, awarding $40,000 pro championships to Hunter Miller and Collin Truett. Lucas Oil Off-Road, Best in the Desert and WORCS have resumed. Best in the Desert was the first to announce its 2021 UTV schedule, and a new desert racing series has been born in Nevada. The Legacy Racing Association was created by co-owners Liz Marshall and Donald and Kristy Jackson, and the 2021 schedule will have five desert races in Nevada, with four including UTVs. See page 90 for the 2021 schedule.
Jamborees and expos have also resumed, with Scottsdale, Arizona, hosting the sixth-annual International Off-Road & UTV Expo Powered by Honda at Westworld on December 5–6. Honda, Can-Am, Polaris and Yamaha will display and possibly demo 2021 UTV models, and Rugged Radios, Maxxis, CST, 4WP, Vision X, RideNow, NORRA, Sandcraft, Dirt Alliance, Raceline, StuffSack, DirtSkins, Discount Tires and others are sponsors and vendors. The expo will have daily raffles, Sandcraft Horsepower Wars, a Dirt Alliance Show-N-Shine, Ford Raptor Experience, a free mask with every entry, a trailer giveaway, Christmas specials and kids-get-in-free activities. Promoters also announced the 2021 UTV Mormon Lake Rally on April 30th through May 2nd.
Manufacturers are also resuming UTV press introductions for such exciting new UTVs as the 2021 Yamaha Wolverine RMAX 1000 in two- and four-seat versions no doubt to take on Polaris Generals. See UTV Action’s report on the new Yamaha Rmax models here: https://utvactionmag.com/2021-yamaha-wolverine-rmax-1000/ See all the Yamaha UTVs here: https://www.yamahamotorsports.com/side-by-side, Polaris introduces its 2021 UTVs, including a new Lifted Lime RZR Turbo S, Pursuit General, and Ranger XP 1000 Trail Boss (see test on page 58). Honda will have its four 2021 Talon 1000s at the expo, including new two-seat Live Valve models.
Polaris Adventure Outfitters have resumed operations, and Can-Am has introduced its own adventure subsidiary, Can-Am Uncharted Society. BRP/Can-Am also recently announced its second-quarter earnings. BRP reported $1.2333 billion in revenues, down 15 percent, but overall Can-Am Powersports retail was up 40 percent with $226 million in income. Normalized net income was $100.9 million, which is up $32.1 million with diluted earnings of $1.14 a share, up 60 percent. This is in spite of manufacturing being temporarily closed with COVID-19 April through May. Can-Am will increase future manufacturing capacity with construction of a new SSV facility in Juarez, Mexico.
Most exciting of all, Polaris Defense announces its 11th military vehicle in 12 years, the MRZR Alpha, which is based on the new RZR Pro XP platform! Developed for U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOC) on a General Services Administration (GSA) $109-million contract signed May 29,2020, the MRZR Alpha Light Tactical All-Terrain Vehicle (LTATV) is designed to be transported inside an Osprey V-22 or H-47 helicopter, or under larger rotary craft. The MRZR Alpha is powered by a turbo-diesel engine producing 200 pound-feet of torque and 118 horsepower connected to an 8-speed automotive transmission. Fuel (mission) range expands up to 225 miles, running on DF1, DF2, JP8 or F24 fuels and topping 60 mph! Ground clearance is 12 inches, and suspension is most like the RZR S 1000. Tires are 32-inch Pro Armor run-flats on five-lug, beadlock rims. Front disc brakes have triple-piston calipers like the Pro XP. All this means superior performance and maneuverability with more room in the cabin. Alphas can also tow 1500 pounds.
There are multiple weapons capabilities and autonomous packages, and Alphas can also be configured with two rear-facing seats. Other MRZRs have been sold to 120 countries, and the MRZR Alpha will no doubt prove equally popular or more so.
Here is looking forward to a return-to-normal 2021!