Sand Sports Super Show Shows Strong Growth
2017 Sand Sports Super Show – Day 2
Costa Mesa, CA (9/16/2017) – If anyone had any doubts about the future of the UTV industry, they were enlightened as the Sand Sports Super Show Presented by Nitto hosted a record crowd during it’s second day at the OC Fair and Event Center. Since being taken over by Bonnier Media last year, the show’s explosive growth shows just how strong the industry is right now.
Started as a show for mostly sand rail and truck off road enthusiasts, the event has morphed into one that mirrors the shifting trend toward UTVs in the off road lifestyle. One of the leaders in that growth is Yamaha in a segment it all but defined 13 years ago. Yamaha representative Steve Nessl is proud to see the growth.
“This show has always been popular, but they increased the exhibitors between 15 and 20% and did a really good job because it doesn’t feel cramped in here even with a lot of people,” said Nessl. “You have all of your “A” players here from the audio, tires and wheels, and dealers from the SoCal area. This is really cool to see. It shows that the market is strong. People still have a vested interest in the SXS. This used to be just a sand rail show. UTVs took it over when Rhino started the trend. The outlook is bright.”
After debuting the Rhino in 2004, Yamaha has continued to innovate and its YXZ 1000 is the latest of that innovative spirit. The direct shifted YXZ has thrilled enthusiasts and has dominated the TORC Series this year in the hands of drivers Johnny Greaves and Rodney VanEperen. Yamaha allowed people to summon their own inner racer here, allowing fans to drive YXZ 1000s on a specially prepared course.
“We allowed people to get a couple of laps in a YXZ and hopefully get them into that direct connection mode when it comes down to your pure sport SXS experience,” said Nessl. “We didn’t want to give up our display booth. We have our all-new turbo out there, our new Wolverine X4 for the more family-oriented trail folks. We also have a new 2018 blue and white model special edition.”
Marcelo Danze with Assault Industries was showing off a new line of products for the Can-Am X3. He couldn’t believe how much the show has grown.
“I can’t believe how many people are out on this Friday night; it seems there are at least triple the amount of people as last year,” said Danze. “The Can-Am X3 is a hot item right now, so we came out with front bumpers, rear bumpers, grilles, the F22 doors and lots of other good stuff.”
Of course a UTV event wouldn’t be complete without UTVUnderground. Joey “D” DiGiovanni is here with UTVUnderground Garage and 4 Wheel Parts. Along with several cars in his booth, as well as several others around the show, he lauded the family atmosphere at the show.
“This is about the lifestyle end of it,” said DiGiovanni. “It’s not just about selling products. It’s about selling the lifestyle. Any time we include the family, that tops it off for me. Having my wife and kids out here, and all of our friends and their families; that’s what off roading is all about.”
Speaking of family, we spotted high school racer Sierra Romo here. Through Romo Motorsports, the entire Romo clan races and is the epitome of the powersports lifestyle, be it UTVs or snowmobiles. Romo has quite the resume and has come on strong this year in just her second season of racing in the BITD and WORCS Series. She finished fourth in the UTV World Championship and has consistently finished in the top five in the WORCS Pro class.
“My favorite part of this is racing with my family,” said Romo. “Not many people can say that they race against their mom or their dad. There are girls younger than I, going out there and kicking butt and hanging with the guys. Shelby Anderson and I are out here holding our own with a bunch of guys in the WORCS Pro class. It just proves that anyone can do it.”
The aftermarket has grown along with the industry and it is huge at the show. Rows and rows of over 300 vendors are here showing off the newest and best products for wheelers to outfit their rigs.
Elka Suspension unveiled its new three-inch diameter shock package for the Polaris RZR and Can-Am X3. Elka, which is also known for its world class ATV shocks, has been testing the new shocks all year in WORCS and BITD with drivers Matt Hancock, Beau Baron, and Mike Cafro.
“It’s designed for high-performance racing applications and for hardcore enthusiast,” said Elka’s Patrick Tellier. “It’s very similar to our regular Stage 5, but the internals are totally redesigned for oil flow. It can handle much more abuse.”
Walker Evans is showing off its new 3.0 Velocity Series shocks here. The race-proven design will be available for the Can-Am X3 and Polaris RZR XP models at the end of October. They also too the wraps off the popular Walker Link rear swaybar shock that will soon be available for the Can-Am Maverick.
“RJ Anderson won the UTV World Championships with new shocks and we’ve been running it in the desert,” said Reid Nordin with Walker Evans. “We’re fine tuning it for enthusiasts and amateur racers. We have the Walker Link that’s been really popular on the XPs. We developed a unit that will work right on the rear of the Maverick, both the 64 and 72-inch versions.”
RT Pro displayed the new Fox Shocks internal bypass dampers. The new aluminum bodied shocks allow for rebound adjustment and save a bunch of weight off of stock units.
“These are the new internal bypass shocks,” said Kyle Burnett with RT Pro. “These have rebound adjustment, aluminum bodies, both inner and outer, that reduces weight by 23 pounds. They have a whole new look and three different settings for the springs. They will work with both two seater and four seaters from 2014 to 2018. Retail is $5,000 for the front and rear set.”
HiPer Technology by Weld went vintage here with its new Weld Cheyenne-inspired UTV wheels. Modeled after the iconic off-road truck wheel, it uses new technology to make it lighter and stronger.
“We wanted to come out with an iconic Weld design and the most iconic design was the Cheyenne,” said HiPer’s Glenn Merchant. “So we took that design and incorporated it into our new flow-formed UTV wheel. It’s about 20% stronger than a regular cast wheel and about 10% lighter.”
KMC Wheels has long been a stalwart in the off road industry. It unveiled two new wheels at the show called the Addict and the Grenade. Both will be available beadlock and non-beadlock, in a several different colors and in multiple sizes. KMC also sponsors WORCS and BITD racer Mike Gardner.
“It’s really exciting to see what the industry is doing right now and it’s going places we never thought it would,” said KMC representative Brian Myers. “Mike Gardner is awesome. He’s going to get out there and tear it up.”
The Sand Sports Super Show continues on Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets are $20 and children 12 and under get in free. For more information, visit sandsportssupershow.com.
Photos & Story by Harlen Foley // UTVUnderground.com