The 2023 season of the Polaris British SXS Racing Championship came to an end in September. This year was a challenge, to say the least, due to the nightmarish weather that caused the championship to be cut short by two rounds. That’s not to say it wasn’t a great season with some new faces and classes.
Long-time off-roading side-by-side racer, Paul Severn took home the championship title for this year’s Polaris British SXS Racing Championship Open Pro Class – the first time he has won it since 2018. We caught up with him to find out the ins and outs of his racing season, why he chose SXS Racing and what his plans are for the future…
When did you first dip your toe into the world of off-road racing?
“Many years ago, I took my Polaris quad in for a service to the late Martin Fletcher and there I spotted the RZR 800; took it out for a test ride and that was it. I sold my quad bike for the RZR 900 and joined the SXS racing scene, this was when it was still RZR Racing back in 2011. I must thank Mr Fletcher for it as in those ten years since I have continued to race and put a few championships to my name.
In the past 10 years, Paul has successfully earned the title of King of Wales in 2015, won many Enduro championships – 2016 and 2017 – competed in every SXS Racing Championship and has now rightly earned the Open Class title in the Polaris British SXS Racing Championship.
“I love it, from the paddock to the people, the support, the machines, everything is evolving to the point where you can’t not love it!”
What makes the Polaris British SXS Championship different to any other?
“You’ve got the buzz and adrenaline of motocross and quad championships but with the safety of a roll cage. My daughter has RZR 200cc and for her to drive around the motocross track with me is really quite special – very special. We love to go away racing and get equal enjoyment. The SXS Racing Championship is a very family-orientated event, people can’t be any nicer or any more helpful. You really get a sense of that comradery.”
Why Polaris for the British SXS Championship?
“Purely because they are the best machines, they are the fastest on the tracks in the UK currently. Just look at the time sheets. There have been many other manufacturers who have tried it over the years and have never succeeded. It’s all in Polaris’ chassis and powertrain.”
What Polaris vehicle do you race in?
“As I enter two different classes of the Polaris British SXS Championship, I have two vehicles, I have the RZR Pro XP for the open class and the RS1 as it is interestingly eligible for two categories in the series.”
Did you make any modifications to the vehicles for them to be race-ready?
“We made minor changes to both Polaris vehicles, as from factory, they are pretty much ready to go. For the RS1 we simply added after-market suspension and the Pro XP was fitted with some additional safety modifications and a few aftermarket parts to strengthen certain parts such as the suspension. We also upgrade some parts to suit short circuit and motocross tracks.”
There was terrible weather this year, how much did this make an impact on racing?
“I quite like the changeable conditions as it throws a different spin on the racing. It brings out the experience from history and previous years but also brings a challenge. At the end of the day, we are there to get muddy.”
How did the Polaris cope in the conditions?
“With Turbo powered machines, such as the RZR Pro XP, in the wet, you can take different lines, you can go in the space where the underpowered machines are struggling and drive through the conditions”
What are your plans for the future? Will you keep racing in the SXS championship series? Are there any other ventures coming up for you?
“The plans are in place for next year. We’ll be back competing in the 2024 SXS Racing Championship to defend the title. PRO7EVERN Racing is also planning to be using the Polaris Pro R next year in some world FIA and Baja rally events. With the help and support of Polaris UK, Ireland, Europe and US, we hope to build a UK team of top drivers complimenting the formidable Polaris Pro R, ready for challenging the world-level podium. This would prepare us for a world championship challenge in 2025 and ultimately Dakar.”
The British SXS Championship 2023 had its highest-ever attendance and competitor numbers across all categories, including expert, rookie and new veteran and youth classes. Back in the early days, the series hosted just one day of racing at every round. Now, the championship involves eight rounds of full weekend-long events across some of the best off-road tracks in the UK.
2023 Polaris British Championship Results
Open Class: 1st – Paul Severn #7 / 2nd – Shaun Jenkinson #70 / 3rd – Callum & Adrian Loveridge #17
Veterans Class: 1st – Nick Barker #40 / 2nd – Mike Proctor #13 / 3rd – Simon Grantham #101
1000 Pro Class: 1st – Tom Fletcher #59 / 2nd – William Buller #32 / 3rd – Henry Proctor #222
1000 Rookies Class: 1st – Richy Scott #112 / 2nd – Anthony Green #105 / 3rd Tom Butterfield #315
Youth 570 Class: 1st – Ollie Hedges #59 / 2nd – Ella Hales / 3rd – Ralph Payne
We would also like to thank the Clerk of the Course, Colin Martin for all his work over the past 12 years of the championship as we say goodbye to him for Colin to pursue philanthropic ventures. Read more here.