The British SXS Championship series, sponsored by Polaris, has been growing the side-by-side racing scene in the UK every year since it all started in 2011, becoming the premier championship for all makes and models of SXS across the country.
How did it all start?
Back in 2011, Martin Fletcher, owner of Nora SXS Ltd kickstarted the SXS racing scene in the UK. As an official Polaris dealer, it was clear that the agricultural and utility market was very prominent in the UK for vehicles such as the Polaris Ranger, whilst the recreational market for SXS vehicles, like the Polaris RZR, was somewhat limited. Not only that, but Martin also recognised that side-by-sides could plug a huge gap in the market: There were a lot of people interested in higher-risk sports like enduro and motocross who couldn’t race due to the amount of risk involved, or even other factors like previous injuries, fitness or limited mobility, – the fact that side-by-sides have a full roll cage make them a much safer option for competitive racing whilst still being able to enjoy the off-road experience.
Initially open to just Polaris machines, British SXS Racing kicked off with the first-ever short circuit race in July 2011 at a track in Oxford. Nine racers in total took part, and it was the beginning of a new era for racing side-by-sides in the UK.
“The vehicles are like nothing else. A Polaris side-by-side is a hybrid of a quad, a motocross bike, a rally car… It’s like a swiss army knife for motorsport. The side-by-side category caters for all competitors no matter their age, strength, ability or size, and there’s a huge safety advantage.”
How has SXS racing developed over the years?
For the first time in SXS racing history across the globe, the British SXS Championship also opened the tracks to an all-new youth class in 2016. With the Polaris ACE 570 on the market, this was the perfect vehicle to open up the sport to younger ages. In just two years, the youth class grew from 3-4 entries per race to 16-17 entries.
2016 also brought other big changes to British SXS Racing, including the introduction of the Polaris British Enduro Championship. Previously hosting the Polaris British Short Circuit Championship every year, the team responded to demands for a different kind of racing with the introduction of endurance racing; the ultimate test of man and machine in a two-hour race. In 2017, the championship expanded even more by opening up to other brands of SXS.
Currently, the British SXS Championship has around 40-50 competitors across all categories, including expert, rookie and youth classes. Originally starting with just one day of racing at every round, the championship is now a full weekend event with seven rounds across the UK.
“What makes SXS racing so unique is the friendship between the competitors. There’s a real community that surrounds this sport. You see it around the paddock on a race weekend, but even when we’re not on an event, the competitors talk about racing on Facebook groups, they play and race online, they do business together – everyone is a familiar face and the whole family gets involved, especially with the introduction of the youth category, which is great to see.”
For more information on the British SXS Racing Championship, please visit www.sxsracing.co.uk.