LEARNING AS WE GO

During a long conversation with a cylinder head tech from the world of NHRA and Nascar the other night, I recalled just how many times I have spent wild amounts of cash on things I just really didn’t need.

As we talked, I mentioned that during my first ATV race I had rushed to do too much at one time at the track and as a result, the engine of my trusty, bone stock Suzuki Z400 suffered.

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I was in such a hurry at the track that I had forgotten to wire one little bolt that held back the life-blood for the motor and so only halfway around a 12-mile loop my engine quit leaving me stranded in the middle of the Florida marsh by myself waiting for the track sweeper to come get me.

I remember sitting there trying to convince myself that this would be a great time to build the most powerful motor on the line. What I failed to realize was just how useless that could be in the real world of cross-country racing. I was even advised against it when the cross-country quad was towed into the trailer by one of my racing buddies.

However, as stubborn as I was, I went ahead and built a quality motor for around $1800 and at my first race back I found out quick that my stock suspension simply couldn’t handle the extra power and worse yet, neither could I.

My money would have been better spent if I had rebuilt the stock motor, then upgraded my suspension. My ATV would have handled much better on the course and been a lot more capable getting me to the finish line.

Here’s the lesson I learned that day. If you have an ill-handling ATV, adding more power is simply going to hinder performance that much further.

Learning lessons on the go can be frustrating and costly, but sometimes simply listening to someone with experience can be even harder.

As I grow wiser, advice from seasoned racers is something I now always take into consideration.

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