Seth Quintero is one of the most accomplished racers out there. He started when he was 4. Now, at 18, he has multiple championships under his belt. He is, perhaps, part of the first generation of racers that learned to drive a UTV before they could ride a bike.
Seth Started early. He started riding dirt bikes when he was four years old—the same year that Yamaha released the Rhino. He got a taste for speed, a taste for off-road, and a taste for competition while the rest of us were riding tricycles and wagons.
This persisted, and his passion grew for years. Dirt bikes and off-road riding were forever engrained in Seth. Over the next nine years, his bike was his favorite toy. He could change a chain faster than he could do the dishes, and he rode every day with his family riding along with him and cheering him on.
Then something happened that would change the course of his life. His dad got injured in a dirt bike accident. His mother told him he couldn’t ride dirt bikes anymore. They were too dangerous. His favorite hobby that was so quickly shaping his life was gone. But their support for him didn’t stop.
As an alternative, she bought him a much safer Polaris RZR 170. It had a roll cage and harness and was just like a miniature version of the RZR 800 which had released just a few years prior.
He started racing short course in 2012 at the age of 10. Side-by-side racing was still relatively new back then, with just a few models vying for handling and horsepower dominance. Can-Am’s Maverick and Arctic Cat’s Wildcat X would both release that year. The RZR XP 900 had just launched a year prior. The field of sport UTV competition was small, and Seth was getting in on the ground floor.
And boy was he ever primed for racing. He had years of desert experience ripping on dirt bikes and took to his RZR 170 like it was an extension of his body. Seth didn’t waste any time getting familiar with it—he seemed to just know it intuitively. He had preternatural skill behind the wheel. He took turns fast, throttled efficiently, and reacted faster than anyone else on the track.
He wasn’t just a racer—he was a winner. In 2014, he handled his 170 better than a slew of other racers and came out on top of the youth class of the UTV World Championship. And he was only 11 years old.
A year later, he doubled down and won both the UTV World Championship and the World Off Road Championship Series (WORCS) in the youth class. All this before he could even get a driver’s license.
In 2015, we were all getting excited about the upcoming Polaris RZR Turbo line. We were arguing about what a turbo could really do with a 925cc engine. Would it outperform the Can-Am Maverick Turbo that released a year ago?
Meanwhile, Seth was reaching the limits of his 170 and ready to upgrade to something with a little more oomph—a Polaris RZR 570. Having shown ability beyond his years, he stood at the precipice of greatness and dove right in.
In 2018, he joined the Best in the Desert Racing Series and challenged the grueling Mint 400. This quintessential desert race is the ultimate endurance test for racers and their side-by-sides, and it’s exactly the sort of thing Seth loves.
The change from short course to desert was a welcome one for Seth. It combined his love of the open desert with his insatiable appetite for competition. On his first try, he not only finished the race, but landed a spot on the podium in second place. And he still didn’t have a driver’s license.
By now, the industry was fully mature with the top racing machines—the Cam-Am Maverick X3 and the Polaris RZR XP Turbo—duking it out for horsepower supremacy. Others were entering the fray too: The Wildcat XX released the year before, the Honda Talon would release later that same year, and the Kawasaki Teryx KRX 1000 was due out the following year. With so many tried-and-true manufactures stepping up to the sport UTV plate, the industry was galvanizing around racing and speed-driven machines at the same time that Seth’s racing career was hitting full speed.
He continued his streak in 2019 where he won the Best in the Desert Racing Series. That year he cemented himself as one of the all-time greats with a top finish in the UTV World Championship, the BITD Series Championship, the Silver State 300, the Parker 250, and the Mint 400.
With the domestic circuits conquered, it was time to take his talents to international venues like the Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia. He may have been ready for Dakar, but Dakar was not ready for him—he was unable to race at Dakar in 2020 due to his age.
In 2021, he raced in the Dakar Rally for the very first time. His goal was as high as ever: “I want to be the youngest American to ever win it.” He was on track to do it too. At the end of 8 of 12 total stages, he was ranked second overall and just nine minutes behind the leader (and ten minutes ahead of third place). Unfortunately, his transmission blew on stage nine, costing him over eight hours. He still managed to finish the entire race after grueling tow to the pit before the next stage, but didn’t finish where he’d hoped. Watch him next year—if his vehicle holds out, there’s no reason he couldn’t take first in the planet’s toughest race.
Seth has always been motivated and always kept his priorities straight. His father insisted that school always came first, and then racing. He graduated high school with a perfect 4.0, and his racing record is near perfect too. He sets the bar high for himself and he reaches it more often than not.
Seth grew up racing UTVs. He is among the first to have the privilege to do so. Not only that, but his work ethic, racing philosophy, and continuous improvement embodies the state of the industry today.
Just ten years ago, side-by-sides were primarily for work. People would take there Rhino or Ranger that they used around the farm and blow off steam on the weekends. But as sport UTVs like the RZR, Maverick, Wildcat, and others grew and changed, power and performance took over the industry.
What the hobby is really about is community. Getting together with friends and enjoying some off-road adrenaline is what this life is all about. Seth takes it to another extreme. His pit crew is his family. His older sister is his number one fan. His adrenaline rush comes at the end of 400 miles when he proves that he’s the best in the world that day.
Seth is the ultimate goofball, and he insists his job on the team is making everybody smile. That is his life. That is our life. That is the life.