Worldwide ATV Racing

By Jorge Cuartas

Image Picture yourself battling on a track that’s built at the base of an active volcano, or better yet racing while wild monkeys are swinging in the trees over your head. Sounds pretty far fetched right? That’s what I thought, until late December of 2001 while honeymooning in Costa Rica. I had the distinct pleasure of stumbling across an ATV MX racing scene almost as impressive as the one we have here in the United States! In some ways it was even more impressive, with virtually no resources they’ve managed to secure outside sponsors for their series (something we have yet to do here in the US). The ATV only events receive national TV coverage as well!

The riders have all of their parts shipped in from the US. Think of the hassle we go through getting parts from another state, now imagine waiting for parts from another country! These guys have done all of this without anyone here in the United States even noticing. We may think we sacrifice a lot to race here, but in comparison we’ve got it pretty good.

I’m sure you can all imagine the utter joy my wife expressed at the prospect of spending the last night of our honeymoon “bench racing” (in Spanish) with two of Costa Rica’s fastest ATV racers; Alberto & Oscar Soto. Within minutes of meeting these guys I knew they were the real deal, they both had the scars, the slight limps, the twitchy right thumbs I so recognize and one of them even had the tell tale sign of a true racer — a shiny new pair of crutches. The brothers went into great detail about their racing scene, they were quick to point out that although “Lobito Fonseca” is a national hero, there’s a lot more to Costa Rican MX that I had yet to see, and they were more than willing to school me. On a side note, Ernesto Fonseca is an absolute rock star in Costa Rica, we rode in about ten different taxicabs, and nine of them had some sort of Fonseca memorabilia in them!

ImageSee, I did indeed spend time with my wife Angela on our honeymoon – here’s proof.The “Asociacion Costarricense de Cuadraciclos” is the national membership organization for the enthusiast ATV owners in Costa Rica; it’s pretty much the Costa Rican equivalent of the ATVA. It was established in September of 1993 by a group of dedicated riders that wanted the sport to have an organization that would provide all the necessary management of all ATV related activities. Apparently before the ACCUA was born, ATV races were organized by several sports promoters that tried to put on a good show, but the lack of organization always resulted in the frustration of everyone involved. Shortly after its inception, the ACCUA took on the task of organizing a true “American Style” National Championship called the “Campeonato Nacional de CuadraCross”. The series boasts pretty impressive numbers, with over 75 racers earning National numbers during the 2001 season, and over 60 attending round 1 of the 2002 series. This may not sound impressive to you, but when you consider that their whole country is slightly smaller than West Virginia and has a population of approx. 3.75 million people (just over double that of West Virginia), it really is impressive. Not to mention the fact that the tropical climate means that it rains nonstop from May to November. Consider that the state of Georgia is double the size of Costa Rica, has twice as many people, near perfect racing climate year round and we have under a dozen national racers. Despite Costa Rica’s weather, there are any where from 7-9 nationals per year, and ten different classes for racers to choose from. As if that isn’t enough, in 2001 the ACCUA organized the hugely successful ATV Arenacross Series, with two events being held in packed soccer stadiums, and receiving national TV coverage.

ImageDon’t let the crappy sign fool ya, ATV racing is alive and well in Costa Rica.For 2002 their ATV racing gets even better. They’ll have 7 rounds of nationals, while the Arenacross series will have three rounds. On top of that, several top US pros, and a couple of top Amateurs have agreed to compete in this year’s series. The moral of this story is that contrary to a lot of people’s beliefs, ATV racing is alive and well and WORLDWIDE! I don’t know about you, but I’m stoked on the prospect of going down to Costa Rica and jumping my race quad into a live volcano with a pack of wild monkeys on my back. At this point after being married to, and putting up with me for 4 months, I’m sure my wife would pay for the trip to get away from me for a while so who’s coming with?

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