There have been some significant changes in the quad biking industry over the years. Also known as All Terrain Vehicles (ATV), there have been literally hundreds of well-known riders, each of whom has risen through the ranks of professional racing. Only a very few stand out, however, whether that be for being multi-event champions or for impacting the sport in another way, and some of these big players definitely deserve a mention.
In 1985 Gary Denton rode out at the Rosebowl on the Quadracer LT 250R for the very first time, the number one of its kind amid the usual three wheelers. Denton went on to win an astonishing eight national titles, the Mickey Thompson Off-Road Series Championship in 1994 and many, many stadium wins.
The name Barry Hawk featured in a video recap of the Blackwater 100 1993, and it was through this that many people first became aware of him. Having won the race that season, he would then go on to secure an amazing seven of the GNCC ATV/Quad biking Championships. Following this he decided to make the transition from four to two wheels. It was a good move for him, as he won the GNCC Motorcycle Championship in 2003. It wasn't until 2010 that he decided to retire from racing professionally, and he then became a member of the Racer Productions team, working alongside other members as a trail boss and laying out the courses for his successors - the next generation of GNCC racers.[embed]https://youtu.be/afARVQc-u2c[/embed]
Doug Eichner may well be the racer with the most wins on this list. Over the course of his professional racing career he has won an incredible 52 Championships! He decided to go professional in 1986 and since that time was heavily involved in quad bike racing, winning championships and races worldwide. Seven of these were at France’s world renowned Pont de Vaux and a further seven WORCS championships. He also achieved countless other wins over the years. In 2010 Eichner retired from racing, but he made a recent comeback to the industry, racing in the World Off-Road Championships Series, Pro Production UTV class in a Polaris PZR.
Considered by many to have had an extremely successful career, Doug Gust “Digger” was famous for hanging out with the youngsters, despite being one of the oldest racers. He made it through the tumultuous storm of the 1990s and his perseverance paid off, securing him one of the few factory contracts in the 2000s, when OEMs were just starting to get back into the world of racing. Doug Gust stayed firmly on the track for several years thereafter, despite being over 40. At this time he was a Suzuki racer, competing against racers significantly younger than himself, some at less than half his age.[embed]https://youtu.be/o0f-B5Jsk4s[/embed]
Very few riders in the GNCC series actually have a Championship to their name. This makes the series quite unique, especially given the extremely high level of talent on the field. In truth, many win a number before being bumped off the top position to begin their own reign. It was Bill Balance who broke Barry Hawk’s seven championship winning streak back in 2000, to begin his own reign at the top of the Pro ATV class. Racking up a stunning nine GNCC Championship wins between 2000 and 2008, Ballance made sure he would be remembered. Over the course of these wins, he received factory support and brought out his own range of special edition products, including tyres, exhausts and even a Yamaha YFZ450R. Despite losing his position on the top spot back in 2008, Ballance continues to hold the record.[embed]https://youtu.be/rZoQPw7s0aU[/embed]
Josh Frederick, also known as “The Animal”, has earned a reputation as someone who is tough and never gives up. This nickname is well deserved. Although a self-confessed poor starter, he often managed to work out a way through the traffic to an eventual win. This is not an easy task. Josh Frederick’s racing career saw him secure three WORCS Championship wins and also the SCORE Championships in both 2005 and 2012, a very prestigious achievement. He raced to success worldwide, from France, to Canada and Mexico. In 2012 Frederick began making the transition to side by side, however he never lost his love of quad biking. In 2013 Frederick was unfortunate enough to have been involved in an accident which saw him break his back and lose function in his legs, but true to his reputation and apt nickname, he refuses to give up.
The only woman on this list and one who has made some absolutely incredible achievements within the quad bike racing world over the years. Her place in this very male dominated sport has well and truly been secured, and she will be remembered as an astonishing participant. She earned nine ATC championships during her time on the professional track and is definitely one of the most influential women in both the ATV world and the wider world of sport. In 2012, after her ninth championship, she retired from professional racing but is still very much a part of the GNCC events, supporting her racing family, including her racer husband.[embed]https://youtu.be/XQ_G8ZlDeb8[/embed]
As well as lots of success within the ATV/quad biking world and securing three national championships, Jeremiah Jones also makes this list for other reasons. His commitment to the ATV industry is truly noteworthy. Back when Suzuki was racing the LT-Z400, Jones was one of the power players. He was also an intrinsic part of the development of the LT-R450s at that time. In 2006, Jones unfortunately suffered a catastrophic accident and lost the use of his legs as a result. Despite this, he continued to remain heavily involved in quad racing and has been trackside rep for a variety of industry companies, as well as being the Factory Suzuki’s race team manager for a time. Jones also built up his own training school, specialising in honing the skills of the next generation of ATV racers.[embed]https://youtu.be/DItPTFZghdM[/embed]
Well on his way to matching some of the previous records set by the likes of Ballance, Chris Borich is a Suzuki backed rider with a reputation for surprising other racers by hanging back for the bulk of a race before charging forward in the final lap for the win. All eyes on this racer for his next moves, which are likely to be as exciting and surprising as those wins he has already got under his belt.[embed]https://youtu.be/AwEZTuxu-JE[/embed]
Although he does not have a huge clutch of wins yet, this is another rider who shows massive potential within the ATV/quad biking racing world. He is certainly one of the hardest working participants within the sport. It was in the mid 2000s that he first burst onto the scene, and since then he has raced for a long list of factory teams, including Yamaha, Can-Am, Kawasaki and Suzuki. In 2011 Wienen broke his back, but he didn't let this prevent him from winning the ATV motocross national championships in 2012 with Yamaha. This is testament to what can be achieved with some serious hard work and determination.[embed]https://youtu.be/-s4cBPpUUaI[/embed]
If you’ve been bitten by by the quad biking bug (and have a few quid to spare) then take a look at the top 10 most expensive quad bikes in the world.