Four and plenty

All-ter­rain ve­hi­cles have taken dirt bik­ing to a whole new level, writes Mark Hinchliffe

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Bike News -

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

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