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Four on the floor

Driving up sand dunes on an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) can be an adrenaline rush. But finding the right ATV and a legal place to ride can take time.

The ATV made its debut in 1969 when Honda introduced the three-wheeled play toy. Other manufacturers got involved, leading to the production of the four-wheeled version called the quad in 1985 by Suzuki.

ATVs were popular recreational vehicles until a 1988 report from the Consumer Product Safety Commission stated that injuries on ATVs were highly disproportionate compared to other forms of motorized recreation.

But in recent years, ATVs have been making a comeback, in part because of the manufacturer's focus on safety.

There are three types of quads: the automatic, the shifter with an automatic clutch and the manual. For beginners, We suggests the fully automatic.

"It's easier to ride," he said. "The only thing the rider needs to worry about is where he's going and stopping."

The adult-sized quad, a 250cc vehicle, can cost approximately $3,100 for a new model. Additional costs like safety gear can bring the price up to $3,300.

"It can be an expensive hobby,".

One of the best places to practice this hobby is the Glamis Algodones Sand Dunes.

Glamis, located in Imperial County, is a recreational park that allows open off-roading. The park can attract more than 100,000 off-road enthusiasts a year. According to Imperial County's Web Site,, the dunes can host up to 35,000 folks on a long holiday weekend like Thanksgiving. Glamis isn't nearly as busy during the week.

For those looking for a different kind of challenge, there's quad racing.

Lake Elsinore Motocross Park is host to a series of amateur races, allowing the novice an opportunity to try his or her hand at pushing a quad to the extreme.

"It just seemed like the next logical thing to do," Randy Hiner, a consultant for Lake Elsinore Motocross Park, said by phone regarding the decision to create a track solely for quad racing. "We get about 100 quads out here a week, which, if you compare it to the 2,200 motorcycles we get, isn't a lot. But it's enough to generate an interest in quad racing."

Jason Patton, a quad enthusiast and promoter for quad racing at Lake Elsinore Motocross Park, said the park's effort to include quad racing is overdue.

"There's a big need to help support quad racing in this area," Patton said by phone.

Patton, 33, of Sun City, has been riding ATVs since the late 1970s

. "It's really big back East, and it's now just starting to catch on here on the West Coast, especially since it's a lot safer now than it was when I started riding," Patton said. "Manufacturers offer courses on how to ride, they've built a better suspension and put in foot guards. So, now the only thing missing is a course to ride, and we've solved that problem."

The park plans to begin racing May 22 and will play host to bi-weekly races thereafter.

Another popular spot for quad racing is the Glen Helen Raceway in Devore. Located just north of San Bernardino, Glen Helen offers a challenging track for the beginner and veteran alike. The next quad race there will be on June 26.

RaceTown 395, located in Adelanto and co-owned by Rogers, offers four tracks to ATV enthusiast to enjoy. Track hours are 9 a.m. to dusk, Thursday through Sunday.

Information: or call (760) 246-6330


For more racing information, contact the tracks.

Composed: 05/18/2004 | Modified: 05/18/2004

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