Four and plenty
All-terrain vehicles have taken dirt biking to a whole new level, writes Mark Hinchliffe
THE thrill factor of driving a 110km/h all-terrain vehicle is the same as a 200km/h Subaru rally car, according to rally legend Cody Crocker.
The three-time Australian and four-time Asia-Pacific rally champion is out of a job in rallying at the moment but he is still competing and having fun in the new side-byside all-terrain-vehicle class.
‘‘ It’s absolutely fantastic,’’ he says. ‘‘ The jumps are different as you don’t go as far. But the landing is much softer. Even though you aren’t going as fast . . . the thrill factor is the same.’’
Crocker has been joined by his best mate and former co-driver Greg Foletta in the side-by-side Polaris RZR XP, winning their first outing at the Thumb Pump 300, a desert race near Pinnaroo.
‘‘ He does the pace notes and he’s the winch bitch in the winching events,’’ Crocker says. ‘‘ It’s amazing how it will get up a lot of steep hills the big trucks can’t even get up.’’
The 65kW, 875cc twincylinder RZR XP ($23,995) replaces the S model and is the
‘‘ hero’’ model of the side-byside range, which accounts for most sales, according to Polaris national marketing manager Neil Anderson.
‘‘ It has been designed as a pure sports machine, not a compromise of farm features and sport,’’ he says.
Polaris launched its 2011 allterrain-vehicle range last week at the Holden driver training centre at Norwell in the Gold Coast hinterland. The new side-by-side range features the American company’s first electric-powered Ranger and includes the re-introduced diesel side-by-side model.
The Ranger EV (two-wheel drive and all-wheel drive, $19,995-$20,995) recharges in less than eight hours and has a range of up to 80km. Top speed is 40km/h, it can take 226kg on the tray and has a 567kg towing capacity. Anderson says the EV is popular with wineries because it can be used inside while the diesel should be ‘‘ a hit’’ with farmers.
The 904cc, three-cylinder Ranger Diesel ($20,995) has a 680kg payload, 907kg towing capacity and seats three.
The side-by-side Ranger models have seats for two, three, four and six people.
Thrills: Cody Crocker in the Polaris RZR XP, which is designed as a pure sport machine