Muzzys' Pro pipe paired with...
Muzzys' Pro pipe paired with FST's tuned CDI really helps to wake this V up.
For added strength, durability and visual appeal, this V rolls on an always bright and shiny set of DWT Shamrock beadlock wheels. To get the power to the ground with the least chance of puncture, a set of Maxxis 21x8-10 Razr 2 tires are mounted to the front and 20x11-9 Maxxis Razr tires on the rear. While this machine makes use of two differing styles of meat on the front and back, the Razr 2 tires up front give the extra grip that allows this machine to steer with perfection. On the rear of the machine, the Razrs give great straight-line traction but are easy to break loose around sweeping turns. With a machine tipping the scales at a little over 550 pounds, it's necessary to find ways to help keep that rear end from hooking up too much and allowing the machine to be more flickable through technical obstacles and corners.
To add a good bit of extra strength to some of the machine's weak spots, Mike trades out his stock steering stem for a much stronger one from Houser racing. This stem gives the handlebar a 1- to 2-inch lift depending on what you prefer. Also mounted into position is a Renthal handlebar, which is stronger than stock and offers a much more comfortable bend. And to protect those brake lines from rugged off-road debris, a set of steel-braided Streamline brake lines were installed.
Protecting frame and body from damage is absolutely a priority when it comes to racing GNCC. Mike turns to AC Racing to help fight against any harm that could be encountered out on the trail. First off, protecting the underbelly of the machine is vital for finishing the race so on went AC's full belly and swingarm skid plates. In case he tags a tree or needs to bump a lapper out of the way, AC also supplies a protective front bumper, which gives his machine a beefier look. For protection from other riders and maybe even a tree or two, a set of AC nerf bars keep invading wheels and other possible protruding obstacles out of the vicinity of his feet and legs. And protection of his hands cannot be overlooked, as Mike chooses a set of IMS hand guards to protect from roost and flying debris.
Once the new motor arrives and is secured back into the frame, Mike begins working on the final stages of his V-Force racer. First, he mounts up an IMS fuel tank, which gives the rider 0.8 gallon more of fuel so that he can stay on the track longer without pitting, plus he knows when he does pit refueling can be accomplished in a matter of seconds thanks to the IMS Quick Fill system installed on top of his tank. For the final touches, Mike mounts up a bright, shiny set of Maier Zesty Orange (hence, orange blur) plastics which no doubt make him extremely noticeable during the races. On top of that, dialing in that unforgettable look, Mike applies an Adapt Racing graphics kit and gripper seat cover, which helps him to have a little traction on the seat when it gets slippery.
One of the important things that I've noticed about Mike over the years is that he has a lot of pride in his ride. Not only can you show up to a race and know that this quad is going to work well, but it's visually appealing to the eye. Mike spends countless hours perfecting this machine, even to the point of polishing up his wheels and various parts before each race.
Is It Really All That?
At the end of our shoot, whether it was the right call or not, Benson handed over the V to both Associate Editor Mike Newsom and myself for a quick taste of its performance and race abilities. Grabbing a handful of 800cc FST power is like nothing most of us have ever experienced previously. When you stab the throttle, this beast powers forward with extreme ferocity. Forget details on bottom, mid to top-end power, this baby pulls with force through it all. So much so that I often found myself clenching the brake levers tightly so that I didn't accidentally become one with a tree. Additionally, I was excited to discover the suspension's performance abilities. I've spent plenty of time on stock V's in the past, and suspension has to be its least likable feature. After only a few minutes aboard this Elka-suspended V, the fact that Benson really did spend several years and countless hours of dialing on the things began to show through their phenomenal handling characteristics. The harder you pushed, the more you could feel those shocks working under your feet. They were plush, yet offered tremendous stability while cornering and tackling rough and challenging terrains at speed. To sum it all up, I believe that Mike Benson's race setup has a lot to do with how he finishes in the top ranks, but that only complements the already extreme talent that Benson brings to the track with an addiction for winning.
Elka's fully adjustable suspension...
Elka's fully adjustable suspension paired with FST's finely tuned motor and IMS's Pro series pegs are only a few items that make Mike's quad a finely tuned machine.