DragonFire Racing: Dirty Fun Havers

February 12, 2013
Ken Hutchison
Ken Hutchison
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The ulcers keep piling on for the warden of the MotoUSA asylum. With the inmates running rampant around the globe, Hutch has opted to get in on the madness more these days than in years past and is back in the saddle again.

True, there was plenty of anticipation as we set about testing the DragonFire Racing equipped Polaris XP4 and XP900, but the rain kept pouring down as the DFR crew led us through the rain-soaked Sycamore Creek riding area outside of Phoenix, Arizona. Including the past year, this had been one of the driest years on record in Phoenix…until we showed up.

Our mission was to join DFR at the opening round of the WORCS ATV-UTV series where Ken Benson was set to make his Pro Production Class debut in the DragonFire Racing XP900 and Brice Ginn’s debut in the Production 850 Class. After that we planned to take a pair of DFR show cars out to the desert for some downright dirty fun. Our arrival and the onset of a biblical-caliber deluge insured this would be a weekend to remember.

It all started at Canyon Lake MX, host site of the 2013 WORCS season opener. Friday practice was a sunny affair but that all changed the next day as rain brought flooding throughout the course and paddock. It was so bad organizers were forced to cut down the track size to keep competitors safe. By the time the side-by-side race began the track had become a quagmire that gave every driver fits as they struggled with traction, visibility and navigation. Ginn found-himself leading the 850 Class at one point only to suffer a DNF after ripping off an A-Arm during a losing battle to a boulder. In the Pro class, Benson worked his way through the pack after a dismal start and ended up earning a gritty second place finish despite getting a little bit of mud in his eyes. While the WORCS race was fun, it’s always better to be driving than watching.

That’s where our desert adventure came into play. It started off with a torrential downpour, flooded washes and a lot of wet desert terrain but ended up being a spectacular ride through some excellent desert trails. We were there to drive two DragonFire-built Polaris XP-series RZRs, so we were not about to let a little moisture keep us from the task at hand.

The Polaris XP4 has become the gold-standard for side-by-side fans looking to get four people together for some wild times. The Rock Solid XP4 from DragonFire Racing has what it takes to go deep into the most desolate places you can get to in style. Throughout our ride the XP4 was the definitive bug-out vehicle, the sand wash Cadillac and the ultimate off-road machine. When you have to show off your wares to the public, the best thing you can do is assemble a rig with everything but the kitchen sink on the build list. And that’s exactly what DFR did.

DRF’s Rock Solid XP4 was built specifically for the Outdoor Network’s Destination Polaris TV show. This particular RZR has become the flagship for DragonFire Racing during events and showcases around the US. And we were about to beat the hell out of it.

Rock Solid series components are intended for side-by-side owners who can sacrifice adding on some extra weight in the interest of durability and protection. Rock Solid series bumpers are inspired by the rock crawling craze with big, bold lines and an armored approach. The Safari Rack increases stowage capacity for longer missions but it also gives the RZR a unique look. Its slanted design follows the stock cage layout and provides a place for additional lights and a little added protection from rocks, branches and debris. Back Bone rear support barsSpare Tire Carrier and a rear receiver winch mount holding a WARN winch all cap off the Rock Solid components.

What you might not notice at first glance is the upgraded suspension that starts with proprietary replacement front A-Arms a front gusset kit and a HiRise rear link kit. To take full advantage of the additional ground clearance and durability a set of DragonFire ProSpec shocks by Elka keep it all working smooth no matter how rough the environment. Our drivers and passengers raved about how smooth the Rock Solid unit was on all terrain.

We started in the sand washes and made our way to the rocky hill climbs with many difficult desert obstacles in between: yet our riders raved about the comfort. Hi Back seats and DFR belts kept the occupants riding in style while the trick HiBoy doors kept them safely tucked inside. Of all the components mentioned here the one must-have for all RZR owners are these bad ass doors. With all of this hardware the XP4 seems destined to be down on power but that wasn’t the case thanks to a variety of performance upgrades.

The RZR XP engine is no slouch in stock trim but there’s no replacement for displacement. A 975cc big bore kit with stage 2 cams and stage 3 clutch kit give this XP a solid base. Tack on the DFR by Vance & Hines dual exhaust, PyroPak ignition controller and FireBreather intake and now you are giving it some heat. With a variety of other built side-by-sides on the tour it was awesome to see the Rock Solid RZR hanging with them at every step of the way. Despite the added heft it was a stalwart near the front of the pack the entire time. If it seems like gushing praise it’s because it is.

Stay tuned as we take a MotoUSA XP4 and build our own Rock Solid adventure machine in the upcoming months.

As burly as the Rock Solid RZR is, the Race Pace XP is even more-gnarly. Also assembled as a Destination Polaris feature the Race Pace XP900 is a showcase for the DFR Race Pace modular cage systems line of parts that make this a race-replica without the pro-caliber price tag. These components are lighter weight, geared towards the more traditional side-by-side protection that you will see at the dunes or at a WORCS paddock. It’s less pronounced and doesn’t stray far away from the OEM look. But don’t be deceived by appearances as this XP900 is all about getting it on.

Whatever DFR did to this beast it turned out light, nimble, fast and fun. At the heart of it all is the 935cc big bore kit with stage 2 cams: This is a common engine upgrade for RZR owners everywhere and can be done at home if you have some mechanical know-how. Like the XP4 it also features the dual DFR exhaust by Vance & Hines a PyroPak and FireBreather intake. All those parts add up but the end result is an XP900 that hauls ass. With a good driver at the controls the DFR XP900 Project is difficult to keep in sight, and a hell of good time to drive.

Through the washes this thing eats up mileage without beating you up too much. Since it is smaller and lighter, it tends to abuse you a little bit more when you hit big stuff because you’re pushing it harder. When taking full advantage of the increased power and speed, surviving those bigger hits becomes the responsibility of the Pro Spec Elka shocks and DFR suspension components upgrades. The beefier replacement A-arms and HiRise rear links offers improved ground clearance as well as giving the RZR an even more aggressive stance. While it may sound like all we did was blast around the desert at full throttle, the fact is the Race Pace XP is also at home descending gnarly, rutted hills or crawling up steep rocky faces. Looking back on the ride it’s easy to forget the XP-series is impressive in stock trim because these modified versions will blow you away.

Not only did the XP 900 perform like a million bucks it looks good doing it. The tubular steel race Pace products are slathered all over this particular unit and it turned heads on the trail or on the trailer heading home. The Bash and Smash series bumpers are complimented by the Flying-V front support barheadache bar and spare tire carrier. All of these Race Pace products are designed to strengthen the stock roll cage for less time and money compared to installing a full replacement cage. Both solutions are important upgrades to consider, it just depends on your budget and the demands you will place on your RZR. One thing is certain, the side-by-side market and the RZR-models in particular, have started to take over the OHV scene across the nation. One of the best things about this craze is that the consumer reaps the rewards thanks to innovations from all sorts of aftermarket companies.

This is where DragonFire Racing comes into play. DFR made a name for itself with the Yamaha Rhino, Kawasaki Teryx and now has embraced the Polaris RZR line-up as well. As the sport grows in popularity so does the amount of parts available to customize and tailor your side by side to meet your needs. The doors are a great place to start followed by harnesses and hard parts. Here at MotoUSA we have caught the UTV-bug and will be featuring a series of Polaris XP4 Project builds through 2013. The folks from DragonFire Racing have already sent us a load of hardware so expect some long-term updates on their products and much more in the upcoming months.

If you are a side-by-side owner and have any tips, suggestions or recommendations please let us know so we can get answers, guide you to the best products possible and help make your transition to the UTV lifestyle an enjoyable one for years to come. 

For more information on DragonFire UTV parts and accessories, visit www.dragonfireracing.com

DragonFire Racing and MotoUSA are members of the Motorsport Aftermarket Group.

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