Last year, our dedicated staff hesitantly weeded out some dates from our already cluttered calendar to tackle a handful of long ventures to Southern states such as Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and North Carolina to capture with our very own eyes (and the camera, of course) something quite adventurous and experimental for ourselves and mud ATV enthusiasts. Although mud racing is not at all a new sport (trust me when I say I've spent my share of time high-centered at the bottom of gnarly deep holes), the launch in 2008 of a new racing series, Championship Mud Racing, reintroduced mud racing in a new light. The promoters of this series stepped up mud racing to a whole new level by professionalizing it and developing it into the very first national mud racing series where racers traveled through various Southern states struggling and competing to earn points and a national championship crown. And before that inaugural season ever arrived at completion, CMR converted our skeptical staff and thousands of our readers into believers of this experiment, a newly legitimized and exciting national form of mud racing.
As the sun began peeking its...
As the sun began peeking its head above the South Carolina pines on Saturday morning, this place was really filling in with lots of spectators and competitors.
For those who've never made the trek to witness one of these races, I must forewarn you that this type of event is consumed with enormous lifted ATVs puking out ungodly amounts of horsepower and churning sludge with some of the gnarliest tires you'll have ever laid your eyes upon in the intent of satisfying each rider's competitive spirit. It is a sight that everyone should experience at least once, but it did not take long for me to realize that it's about much more than horsepower and competition. In fact, I've quickly come to understand that this sport is more about bringing family together, meeting and making like-minded friends and experiencing adventure and life to its full potential. Last season, I was lucky to have made a plethora of new lifelong friendships that I otherwise would never have made. And for that, I couldn't wait for this new season to kick off so I could catch up with my new friends and to continue experiencing one of my new favorite forms of ATV racing.
Luckily for my crew and I, Round 1 of the CMR series would kick off at Carolina Adventure World (CAW) in Winnsboro, South Carolina, just a few short hours' drive from the Atlanta, Georgia, area. I grabbed one of my test riders, Maverick Martin, video production guru Jake Harris and our brand-new Arctic Cat MudPro 700, and we headed out with high hopes, excited about what the weekend would bring. On the downside, the forecast had been calling for downpours and frigid winterlike weather that had all of us a bit nervous. As we pulled past the gate of CAW Friday afternoon, I must admit, I was a little disappointed at the number of attendees for the event. But what I'd failed to consider was that many of those from west of the Mississippi River were looking at a 10-hour plus drive after work on a Friday afternoon. Throughout that afternoon, evening and even late into the night, racers, their families and people seeking a killer weekend of riding and racing continued to flow into the park. By the time the sun began to peek its not-so-bright little head over the South Carolina pines Saturday morning, I realized this place was beginning to fill in. Don't get me wrong, the weather had most definitely affected turnout, but things were for sure starting to come together.
Side-by-sides have become...
Side-by-sides have become a huge part of CMR racing and are a total blast to watch fight the deep bog.
One of the cool things about putting on an event of this sort at Carolina Adventure World and most other ride spots along the series is that there's more to do than just watch others race the pits. Most everyone came prepared to camp, ride and enjoy a great weekend of fun. Happily, CAW allows something most places do not: night riding. All night long, hundreds of people motored on the trails rather than wasting time catching a little shut-eye. Besides the mud pits there were also an MX track, a drag strip and just about anything to accommodate an ATV rider's needs for a memorable weekend.