Irvine, Calif. (May 25, 2011) – Monster Energy Kawasaki Team Green Teryx® driver Chad George has taken the off-road world by storm. Since he began racing UTVs five years ago, he has won four consecutive UTV unlimited championships, with two in the Championship Off Road Racing series and two in the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series. George has been a pioneer with Team Green and its UTV racing program helping Kawasaki get the Teryx to the top of the podium since its debut in short course racing. He continues to help develop top of the line performance innovations that ensure the Kawasaki Teryx remains the best UTV on the market. We caught up with George at Glen Helen Raceway to find out what drives this young champion.
Monster Energy Kawasaki: How did you get your start racing Kawasaki’s Teryx for Monster Energy Kawasaki Team Green?
Chad George: I’ve been in a sand car my whole life, ever since I can remember. Our family company, Funco Motorsports, builds custom sand cars and off-road vehicles. I’ve been racing sand cars in the desert with my family for years. When I was younger I raced motorcycles, but it never really clicked with me. A car is where I really feel comfortable, that’s where I shine on the race track. Two years after I started competitively racing UTVs I was picked up by Monster Energy Kawasaki Team Green, and it’s been a tight knit relationship ever since. It’s a dream come true to be part of Team Green, and they really take care of me. So far I’ve won a championship every year that I’ve been in a Kawasaki Teryx, so I’m pretty happy.
MEK: You’ve spent more seat time in a Teryx than almost anyone else on the planet, how has it been treating you?
CG: The Kawasaki Teryx is the best UTV in the field, hands down. We take a stock Teryx motor and bore it out a little bigger based on race regulations. My Teryx has more than enough power, so when I am racing I don’t have to be too aggressive, I just have to roll onto the throttle and it flies. The power to weight ratio is huge. For example, at Firebird International Raceway in Phoenix, Ariz., there is a huge step-up jump that even some of the Prolite trucks can’t make. Right now, with the power to weight ratio of my Teryx, I’m confident that I can make those kinds of big jumps. I have no hesitation about the car’s abilities, so I push the limits of what it can do. On the track I know I can push it to the limits, but I usually don’t need to. I have had so much seat time in that Teryx, it’s like the car and I are one. Overall performance of the Teryx is unreal, from the suspension to the motor, it’s the best all-around UTV and in my opinion. The Teryx is untouchable.
MEK: So how do you prepare for a race, mentally and physically?
CG: I am usually on a strict bike training program and diet. Most of what goes on in the car is mental. When I’m not racing, I go home and start planning for the next race. I will help my guys prep the car for the next track and review tape of the previous race to see where I might have gone wrong. It’s important to always stay in tune with the racing circuit, like how tracks are constantly changing. My mind never strays too far from off-road racing. That’s how I stay on top of my game.
MEK: I’ve heard running the number one plate can make it hard to repeat as champion, what do you think?
CG: This is the first year we’ve run the number one plate and we’re currently leading in the points. Everyone says the number one plate is really heavy. When I showed up this season with it on my Teryx other drivers said, “You just lost the championship.” Personally, I think that big number one looks so sick with the red background.
MEK: What’s it like being part of the evolution of Monster Energy Kawasaki Team Green’s expansion into UTV racing?
CG: Some kids grow up and want to be firefighters or go to the moon, but I seriously wanted to be on Team Green. I thought I had lost that opportunity when I stopped riding motorcycles. Every amateur rider, especially in motocross, looks up to Team Green. There is no other amateur organization that provides such a great stepping-stone for aspiring professional riders, and now drivers. I felt like I lost that dream when I stopped racing motorcycles, but once I found that sponsorship in the Teryx it was more than I could have hoped for, it was a dream come true. It’s like being part of a bigger family, and I really get nothing but love from everyone at Monster Energy Kawasaki Team Green. It is indescribable how grateful I am to have the opportunity to be on the forefront of taking Team Green into a new market.
MEK: The sport of UTV racing has really taken off in the last five years, why do you think it has been gaining so much in popularity with fans?
CG: Short course racing is basically supercross in a truck or UTV. It really is more exciting to watch than traditional car racing because it combines a lot of door-to-door contact with big jumps. Also, it’s not a boring four-hour race, every 20 minute race is action packed. All the action happens right in front of the crowd, and they can usually see every jump and turn on the track. Right now is the time to be a young driver. Off-road racing in general is exploding to the younger generations because it is an exciting, ever changing sport that doesn’t require a super speedway. This kind of racing really relates to families who ride these products every weekend.
MEK: You race a Teryx and a SuperLite truck at every LOORRS round. Do the skills to drive them translate or are they totally different monsters?
CG: They are such opposite worlds and require totally different driving styles. The Teryx is almost like riding a KX™450F with four-wheel drive. Around the track I take inside lines and power out of the hole. The SuperLite truck is like riding a 2-stroke motorcycle because I’m always up on the rev limiters and railing around the outsides of the corners. I think driving two classes at each race really plays to my advantage. First of all, seat time is seat time, the more the better. Driving two classes really gives me an advantage over other drivers because I get to see and feel how the track dynamic is changing twice as many times throughout the race day.
MEK: So what goals have you set for this season?
CG: Championships all around, in both classes. I really want to win my fifth championship in a row in the UTV unlimited class. This year will be my redeeming year in the SuperLites class since I got second place last year.
MEK: With four championships under your belt already, what is your secret to get through a championship season?
CG: The secret to get through a championship season is always keeping something in your back pocket. You have to always have a little bit more on the track. You never want to show all your cards too early. I always hold back a little during qualifying. At the beginning of the race I try to float a little and take it easy on the car. If it comes down to it by the end of the race, and I have to push it, I will. I am so in tune with my Teryx, I know exactly how far I can push it.