Seth Quintero is a bona fide phenom on the off-road racing scene. The Californian won the youth UTV World Championship at age 11. By his 17th birthday in 2019, he had added two Pro UTV world titles, been crowned WORCS Champion and District 38 Champion, and had made history by becoming the youngest ever to win the UTV Pro class in five BITD races. Now, as a member of the new Red Bull Off-road Junior Team USA, he’s taking on top-level opponents not only on the domestic scene but internationally. And he’s being mentored by icons of the sport.
Growing up – and racing – in the desert
Born in 2002, Seth was raised in San Marcos, California. The family spent their recreational time off-roading in the desert, with Seth riding his own quad by age 4. When his dad, who raced dirt bikes, had an accident, Seth remembers, “They decided to put me in a cage, and it all took off from there!”
With his family as his team, Seth started racing UTVs in 2012. The plan was to take it slow, but, he admits, “We are super competitive, and I wanted to do more and more. Things escalated pretty quick.”
In 2014, Seth came out of nowhere to clinch the youth class of the UTV World Championship. “All of a sudden here’s this 11-year-old who won the biggest race of the year,” he describes. “That’s when Red Bull noticed me.” His parents signed a contract in October, but they didn’t tell Seth until Christmas morning.
In 2015 Seth was the UTV World Champion and the WORCS champion in the 170 (youth) class before launching up to the Production level. By 2018, he was racing in the Best in the Desert series. His first race was the MINT 400, and the 15-year-old powered through the 400 miles, finishing second. He also was the runner-up at the Pro UTV level at Vegas to Reno. But the real fireworks came the following season.
As a 16-year-old in 2019, Seth logged a nearly perfect campaign, carrying away the Best in the Desert series championship for the Pro class by winning five of six events. And he rewrote the record books in the process, becoming the youngest ever to win the MINT 400, Vegas to Reno, UTV World Championship, the Parker 250 and the Silver State 300 in the UTV Pro NA class.
New team, global challenges
Seth is also the youngest driver on Red Bull Off-road Junior Team USA, which additionally includes Mitch Guthrie Jr. and Blade Hildebrand; but after being sponsored by the company for five years, he has the most experience with the brand. Still, he was impressed when he arrived in Morocco for pre-season car preparation and found out who was there to help mentor them.
“We got to hang out with Cyril Despres,” Seth says, referring to the five-time Dakar motorcycle champion. “He was a legend standing in front of us, but he made us feel really comfortable. We were able to talk with him about any issues that we had.”
The team also soaked up the wisdom of multi-time Dakar winners on four wheels, Nasser Al-Attiyah and Matthew Baumel, who were competing in the Rallye du Maroc.
“As we were preparing, having Nasser around was a blessing. Again, one of the biggest legends I’ve ever met, and he actually came by the shop after winning a stage just to check on us and see how we were doing!” Seth recalls. “That will stick with me forever.”
Seth will drive in as many races as possible for the Red Bull Off-road Junior Team, which is slated for the Dakar Rally (Saudi Arabia), the Rallye du Maroc and other international races, intermixed with the Best in the Desert Series domestically. He also graduates from high school in 2020, giving him more time for his sport.
“Traveling the world to race with two of my best friends and experience the different cultures is something I never thought I’d be doing,” Seth says. “I want to be in the moment and try to appreciate and understand what’s going on around me. I’m so young that I’m just excited to learn time and time again.”
- Best in the Desert Champion in 2019, winning five of six races
- Youngest (16 years old) ever to win the UTV class of: MINT 400, Vegas to Reno, Parker 250, UTV Production Class World Championship, Silver State 300
- Has won WORCS and District 38 championships
- The Red Bull Off-road Junior Team USA calendar includes Dakar Rally, Rallye du Maroc and Best in the Desert series
Words & Photos Courtesy of RedBull.com