When a vehicle is first bought, some set out to enjoy it as it came, but for others, it is the start of a journey to transform it into the vehicle they have dreamed of. For Mat Tessier and his 2016 Yamaha YXZ1000R, it was destined for racing.
“Growing up, I always wanted to race cars, but when I was racing moto, I fell in love with the dirt and specifically short course off-road,” Tessier said. “I started working for one of the top Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series race teams as a mechanic. There, I learned everything that goes into racing short course and eventually learning fabrication leading to me building my car.”
“I wanted to race in the Lucas Oil Offroad Racing Series, and the Yamaha platform was, in my opinion, the best possible Production 1000 car. I purchased the YXZ1000R in January 2017 and began transforming it for the series. The 4130 roll cage I built from the ground up a week after I bought the car has to be my favorite part of the build.”
The Production 1000 class has specific rules because Tessier had to keep the factory suspension because it is a stock class. Tessier switched to JRI Shocks with PAC Springs on all four corners, keeping within the class rules.
Tessier used custom powder-coated Dirty Life Wheels wrapped in Hoosier dirt track tires to keep traction in the dirt. Getting the power from the drivetrain to the wheels was done with Demon Powersports axles. In addition, Tessier worked with MTM Hydro Parts, Ameribrade, and Vibrant Performance to get the vehicle done.
Tessier enjoyed racing the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series and was a midpack driver. His best race happened in Reno, where he finished 9th after starting 25th.
“I have done a couple of Jump Champs events, raced short course from 2017 to 2019,” Tessier said. “Since then, I have done some small races at Adams Motorsports Park in Riverside, California.”
With the Lucas Oil Short Course Series a part of off-road racing history now, Tessier has converted the car to race on pavement and rallycross. As with any build, it grows with the times and the owner, but most importantly, they are still being driven.
Transitioning from racing, Tessier followed his passion for fabrication and the off-road industry by opening his own shop.
“I own Hoodrat Manufacturing which is more than just a custom fabrication shop,” Tessier said. “We also source and make safety gear for industry workers and production race car parts.”
Tessier continues to be a part of the off-road community, helping fellow racers and building some of the top vehicles in the dirt. To follow everything that Tessier continues to build, be sure to follow him on social media.