BUILDING A RZR RACER

— Wes Miller’s desert rocket —

If you happen to follow UTV racing and the two big desert series in particular—SCORE and Best in the Desert—you may have noticed that the UTVs are getting as big as the Class 10 and Class 1 Unlimited cars. It’s crazy what people have created out of what starts as a stock RZR, and it shows how good the platform of any brand of UTV is for desert racing. The independent suspension, long wheelbases and ever-growing suspension travel numbers are a perfect fit for the rough trails of the Southwest and Baja.

As you can see, the rearward view between the driver and navigator is blocked by the radiator. This is where the Assault Sidewinder convex mirrors come in handy. It’s a great mirror for any UTV.
Relocating the radiator to protect it from rocks is one thing; adding more capacity and additional cooling is a must for the number of hours these cars race. Some races are 24 to 36 hours long. The long tool under the spare axle is the off-road jack that can lift from multiple locations around the car.

We wanted to take a deeper look into what these massive desert machines have become by spending time with Wes Miller and his Factory Polaris RZR race machine. For those who don’t know, Wes has been riding ATVs and off-roading all his life. In the ATV world, he produced videos and DVDs about the sport for over a decade in the Huevos series. His racing accomplishments cross over into every aspect of the sport, with his biggest successes being in Baja; however, his notoriety came as the owner of an ATV freestyle team known as the Bomb Squad, which produced shows and filmed all over the world. So, it was natural that as UTVs gained popularity, Miller would set his sights on desert racing and continue his partnership with Polaris.

A race car like this is basically an all-new custom chassis made with chromoly or mild steel. The rules state that the two long center tubes of the stock frame must remain stock, but everything else can be updated. It is.
This is DWT’s latest Sector Zero beadlock wheel. It’s about as narrow and light a beadlock as will survive the punishing desert environment.
The Madigan A-arms are 4 inches wider than the stock XPT RZR arms. Other special equipment includes the suspension limit strap and inner and outer CV boot protectors. The small hole welded to the upper A-arm is a pick-up point for a special, long-travel, off-road jack.
The spare BFG tire and DWT wheel are held on with a quick-release, ratchet-style tie down. The whole setup helps minimize any downtime, and that’s the number one key to desert racing.

THE RZR PLATFORM

Wes’ race car started life as a 2017 Polaris XP Turbo 4. It was one of the first customer cars that came out of Rhys Millen Racing. Rhys and co-driver Stephan Verdier won the 2016 Baja 1000 with their in-house chassis that was about as trick as you can get. While Rhys has yet to back up his Baja win, he has had some good finishes. Wes took his car to the top of the podium in the SCORE Tijuana Desert Challenge in 2018 and is looking for more wins in Baja this year. Check it out.

Miller is running BFG’s latest KM2 UTV race tire. Not only is it a strong, good-handling tire, the pit support BFG supplies in desert racing is invaluable.
Lights, sirens, cameras, communications and navigation all require more power than the stock RZR stator can keep up with. UTV Inc. makes a cool kit that uses a standard automotive-type alternator to provide the additional power that’s needed.
The huge Alpha seats from PRP cradle the occupants and are almost as comfortable as a La-Z-Boy. They work so well in longer races, Wes has found his navigator asleep on the job. The harnesses are from Assault Industries as well.

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