Aaron Cuevas Takes On The Competition
Story By: Aaron Cuevas
Photos Provided By: Adam Cuevas
We welcome to the stage a young man with talent and already seasons of experience in the dirt. Though his experience may have begun on a different beast than a UTV, his story yields tales of success before making the discovery and later the transition over to the UTV class. He is this month’s Little Ripper and his name is Aaron Cuevas.
The first time that I started riding anything was in Glamis when I was around six or seven years old. I would ride around on a little 50cc quad for hours during the day. I hated when it was night, because I couldn’t ride on the quad. Every once in a while I would go on night rides with my Dad and friends in his Can-Am. We would drive for a few hours, and I would usually fall asleep midway through. One particular night, the adults were sitting by the fire and my Dad mentioned he wanted to see how I would do in a race. I wanted to try it, so we planned it out and drove to Primm for my first race at WORCS not long after that trip.
Going to the race, we didn’t know what to expect, and I was nervous. The first time I went out to the track was for practice, and it was not that much different from what I was used to out in the desert, so when it was time to race, I was ready. I got the holeshot and was able to get out ahead and finish with a win. My fire for racing had officially started.
There used to be a track near my school called Milestone, where I would practice after school. Once we got a 70cc, we started to race and practice that too. We entered local races like the Dirt Series while continuing to race WORCS. That year I did pretty well and ended up winning the both 50cc championships at WORCS and Dirt Series, as well as finishing the season third on my 70cc.
After that season, we started to race 90cc quads where I got to race against kids my own age and started to get to know my competitors and made some new friends. That year was more challenging in so many different ways, so I had to get better. Taking it more seriously, we started to practice and work harder and more often. I could win one race without too much stress but then the next race I would have to fight my way to a second and third place, so there was a lot of back and forth. One of the Dirt Series races I was trying to stretch out the lead, but as I took off from this jump I saw someone else on it and slammed on the brakes turning myself sideways. I went crashing down the hill, producing my first major crash. Something I won’t forget, I was certainly shaken up but recovered just fine after a while.
From there, I continued riding for fun and did some racing at WORCS. One of my favorite races was while on a family trip to Oregon, but traveled over to Washington state to compete. I remember that race was super wet and slick which made it really fun. The same year was when I got introduced to RZRs and won my third race at South Point. Next up was the UTV World Championships, my first big race with dozens of kids racing against me. In the end I got seventh place and, more importantly, got me to really like RZRs. That year I went home on the 90cc season with a third place finish. In year one, in my RZR 170 I had to settle for 4th because I had some mechanical issues that held me back.
The following season was my last racing quads as I focused on learning and getting more comfortable with the RZR 170. I kept getting better but it came with a learning curve. Along with practice, I had an incredible coach in Shelby Anderson. She helped me so much, including working on smoother driving techniques. The following season I competed at the UTV World Championships again and placed third in my class this time. The race was nerve-racking but has been my biggest race accomplishment so far. There were around one hundred racers and I had tried my hardest to compete with the best of them.
More recently, over a two year span, I started racing in the 250cc class. Those two years proved I still had lots to learn, about the car and its weak points and myself. We quickly decided to move on to the 800cc and RS1 classes. Currently, I am racing both 800cc and 1000cc. This year something really clicked and I started to see podium finishes, including some wins. It has felt amazing. I have really focused on the RS1 and how to handle it, I’m still learning how to drive it competitively and am committed to never stop improving!
Follow Aaron’s racing @acetheracer to see what competition he’ll take on next!