It was only a few brief months ago that Jesse Jones was plagued with bad luck at the Baja 500. Now it was time to settle the score. This past weekend was the 2013 Best In The Desert, Vegas to Reno. The longest off-road race in the United States. Jones and his crew made only minor changes to the #76 FOX Trick Truck to prepare for the 543 mile race across the Nevada desert.
Festivities for the race started Wednesday just North East of the Las Vegas Valley where over 50 Unlimited race vehicles staged for time trials. A 4.2-mile course was set up in the middle of the desert and after everyone attempted to set the fastest time, results would show that Jesse Jones and the #76 FOX Trick Truck would start the race 3rd off the line and the first Trick Truck out of 33.
“Starting in the front of the pack has its advantages and disadvantages,” Jones said. “We knew that we would have to have a flawless race to finish first.”
At 9:30 a.m. on Friday morning the first Unlimited Car was off the line and just 3 minutes later Jones was in full race mode. “The first 35 miles of the course are full of sharp turns and even sharper rocks. It is crucial to get through here with zero flats and hold your position.” That is just what he did. The course is one of the fastest courses in the Best In The Desert series and with miles of graded roads you are destined to be following in someone’s dust. The thick dust hung in the air for first half of the race and the running order on the course stayed the same just till the racers inched closer to Goldfield.
As the front-runners started to pull off to change flats, it was about this time where the race really started for most. Jesse Jones was 4th on the road when he pulled into Pit-5 at RM 191. A fresh set of BFGoodrich Tires and topped off with race fuel in under a minute put the #76 FOX truck back on the course before anyone gained any positions over him. As Jones continued to work his way through the field, reaching speeds of 134mph, the truck was running flawlessly. Temperatures on the Kroyer Racing Engine were right where they needed to be and with Jesse running FOX’s newest External Cooling System, “Cactus Coolers”, the finely tuned shocks also performed perfectly.
A interesting racing incident between teammate Bryce Menzies around race mile 394 would see Jones running down Menzies in the dust to gain the physical lead of the race. A reroute in the course that was not noted on the GPS put Menzies in a 6ft ditch on his side. Jones missed the reroute as well crashing into and sending Menzies’ truck back onto its wheels. As the first half of the race was in the dust, it would now be Jones leading the pack with clear air putting victory in sight.
“We knew that just cause we were first on the road, we didn’t have the race won just yet. Jason Voss had a small timed lead over us and by this point in the race, there was no where for us to make up and put time on Voss.” Said Jones.
Get the Flash Player to see this player.
The last 40 miles of the course were complete with switchbacks and more sharp rocks. Jones piloted the #76 FOX Trick Truck all 543 miles without any major damage and reached the finish line in 9 hours and 19 minutes after he started. The #76 FOX Trick truck was the first to cross the line but it would be Voss who would take the win a slightly quicker overall time.
Jesse Jones finished second overall just in front of teammate, Bryce Menzies who battled Jesse for the majority of the race. Next weekend Jesse Jones and Bryce Menzies will go head to head again with Jones’ return to short course off-road racing in his new FOX Pro-2 at the legendary Crandon International Raceway.
Visit ridefox.com/jones for the latest updates on Jesse Jones or follow him on Instagram at @JonesTT76.