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For decades, the rocky chasms of Bulla, Victoria, have rumbled incessantly with the deafening noise of aircraft on final approach to Tullamarine, just 8km to the south. Literally millions of us have looked out of aircraft windows and perhaps sympathised with the farming families that live and work amongst the incessant noise. No sympathy was needed for one of those families last weekend, they were having a blast as the host to Australia's Extreme 4X4 community for the Opposite lock 4X4 Challenge.

The crowd that rumbled in thought they were going to see some extreme 4x4 action. They were right. But they were also in for a surprise. In addition to the big extreme winching 4X4s was a new class of vehicle. This was the debut of SXS Racing in Australia. That wasn't the only surprise.

In the motorsport equivalent of U2 doing an unannounced gig at your local pub, Subaru's Cody Crocker made a surprise debut for Polaris Racing. Crocker, fresh from four consecutive Asia Pacific Rally Championships and three consecutive Australian Rally Championships, has jumped at the chance to try something new.

Crocker always loved blasting along bush trails on his Polaris Scrambler 4x4 quad bike, then traded it in when in 2008 he was the first Australian to own a Polaris RZR. Ever since, he's been blasting around the farm of former co-driver Greg Foletta. Now the birth of SXS Racing has enabled Crocker and Foletta to race together again for the first time since their Australian Rally Championship in 2004.

At Bulla, the seven RZR entrants competed against the clock. To the astonishment of the hard core 4WD crowd, on some stages where both 4WDs and RZRs completed an identical track, the best RZR teams were quicker 4WD teams. However Cody's proudest moment was the final stage on Sunday afternoon, when Crocker completed the notorious "Highway to Hell" hill climb without winching, and stopped the clock at 5:40 seconds, one second ahead of the fastest 4WD.

Polaris gave some of Victoria's most respected Extreme 4WD competitors the opportunity to compete at Bulla in a RZR S. One driver was Wayne Smith, the top ranked Co-Driver in the 4WD Challenge." I can't believe where a Polaris can go. Can I drive one again at Tooborac?" said Smith.

"Competing in the SXS Class in a RZR S is a great option. The initial investment and spares costs are a fraction of what we're used to. We're hoping it will attract more people to CCDA events. Not everyone can invest 100 grand in a Patrol or Land Cruiser," said Rohan Canavan, a top performer in Extreme 4WD Challenges.

"We're determined to keep it as a stock class and avoid cheque book racing," said Peter Alexander, Polaris Australia and NZ Managing Director. "We want SXS Racing to be an affordable option for RZR owners," said Alexander.

Opposite Lock 4X4 Challenge,

SXS Class Podium

Driver Navigator Points

Cody Crocker Greg Foletta 770

Wayne Smith Aaron Ward 739

Phil Swindale Manny Kafantaris 649

Who can compete? SXS Regulations have been created which allows owners of Polaris RZR, Polaris RZR S, Kawasaki Teryx and Yamaha Rhino's to compete. In order to avoid 'cheque book racing,' strict regulations are in place to keep things even. SXS Racing in the USA is dominated by the Polaris RZR due to its lower centre of gravity and superior power to weight ratio. That said, the CCDA and Polaris are very keen to be welcoming to all comers.

For the first SXS Racing events in 2010, there will be much to learn about the types of courses that best suit. Therefore, entrants are welcome to simply compete at one or more separate stages, whatever they feel comfortable with. Competitor input to track design is welcome, so being part of the sport in its infancy will give you a genuine opportunity to customise future stage designs.

The next round of SXS Racing is the Polaris 4X4 Challenge at Tooborac, Victoria, on June 25-27. This will also be Round 2 of the Engel 4X4 Challenge Series. For more info call Mike Smith on 0408 244 111 or email smithy@acepia.net.au.

Want to enter?

The world's best SXS is the Polaris RZR S. No engine, transmission or suspension modifications are permitted or required. A full list of accessories (e.g. winch) you'll need to be ready to race is available on request from Polaris dealers so you can line up in an identical vehicle to Crocker at the next event.

To request a demo ride of a Polaris call 1800 654 142 for your nearest dealer or visit www.polarisindustries.com.au

Polaris RZR S pricing and a full list of required accessories with estimated pricing is available on request.

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