BJ-Baldwin-HDRA-7-12-13Reno, NV – The HDRA Eldorado Reno 500 will be a tough race for BJ Baldwin but it won’t be due to the 500 miles of punishing rocks, silt and steep hills on the Tahoe-Reno Motorplex course. The toughest thing for BJ will be that he won’t be driving; well for very long anyways.

BJ is sidelined with a hand injury that needs a few more weeks to heal. His hand was damaged when a firearm suppressor failed, causing it to explode into pieces. “My hand is doing well but until the bone in my broken finger has a chance to heal, I have to be careful,” says BJ.

He has a titanium rod inserted into the marrow of his bone to keep it in position as it heals. If he were to catch that finger on the steering wheel the rod could get bent. Aside from the pain and a crooked finger, it would be very difficult to remove the rod. The best thing to do is let it heal. BJ also has a wrist injury unrelated to the accident that will benefit from a short break from driving. “I will start the race in my Monster Energy  / Toyo Tires / Rigid industries Chevrolet to qualify as the driver of record and then let another Vegas Trophy Truck driver, TJ Flores drive the rest, “says BJ, “TJ was my first choice to take over driving for me. He is the most logical choice since he races an SPD Trophy Truck similar to mine and has no contractual conflicts to deal with.

BITD-12-16-11The legendary Parker “425”, the historic Mint “400” and the panoramic Silver State “300”…what better way to start the 2013 Best In The Desert season. These great venues, along with the attention Casey Folks pays to make sure everyone in every class has the best racing experience possible, are just part of what makes “The American Off-Road Racing Series” so popular. Now mix in the world’s foremost desert racers, and you have the perfect formula for the tightest, most competitive and exciting racing that has taken place the first half of the 2013 season.

Super competitive is an understatement among the Trick Truck teams so far this year. With the first three races in the books, there have been three different winners. Jason Voss claimed the victory at Parker, Bryce Menzies took the top spot at the Mint, and TJ Flores grabbed his first Trick Truck win ever at last month’s Silver State “300”. This “anyone can take it” racing has really made for a fierce battle in the class points chase as well. Currently, Jason Voss and Gary Wheyrich are tied for first, with Steve Olliges sitting in second, only 22 points behind. Scott Whipple and Troy Vest are in great position as well, and are ready to shake up the chase should anybody stumble going into the second half of the season.

THR_baja-500_SCORE-5-28-13Corona, CA – May 28th – With more than a year under their belts working together as a team for THR Motorsports / Monster Energy / Precision Concepts Kawasaki, Robby Bell, Steve Hengeveld and David Pearson know exactly what it takes to win. And as the defending overall motorcycle champions in the 45th Tecate / Monster Energy / SCORE Baja 500, they’ve added a new weapon: Taylor Robert.

The 22-year-old from Arizona may be new to racing in Baja, but he has years of experience in many other arenas. He’s the defending WORCS champion, where he’s had a solid career having won the WORCS Pro 2 championship in 2008. He’s also represented Team USA abroad, earning gold medals at ISDEs in Mexico and Germany. This year, he’s concentrating on EnduroCross both domestically and internationally thanks to the inclusion of Enduro X at X Games in Brazil, Germany, Spain and the U.S. Racing is definitely in his blood.

TJ-Flores-Silver-State-5-14-13McMurrough Racing crew anxiously waited at the finish line of the 2013 Best In The Desert Silver State 300, as TJ and Stephanie were just mere seconds from making their last left hand turn of the race and coming into the checkered flag. Even though the finish is where winners are announced, it is not where the race is won. “They say the race is won at the shop and I believe it” said TJ, driver and owner of Champion Race Works. After the Mint 400 riddled the truck with a broken transmission, the crew had 6 weeks the turn the truck around and get it prepped and ready for the 298 mile race in Caliente, NV.

After qualifying 16th, TJ and Stephanie knew that they would need to drive smart and not over drive the truck. As the truck staged for the start of the race, the crew was setting up for their fuel pit at RM 148 and other visual pits throughout the course. Another key to winning a race like this is having a flawless fuel stop and no mistakes during the race.

The Class 1 car of Justin Lofton lined up at the start and at 9:30am sharp the race started. Lofton would quickly set the pace of the race and by the time the #80 McMurrough truck left the starting line, they would have 7 minutes and 30 seconds to make up on the leader.  Hairpin turns and cliffs are apparent in this point to point style course and you also have to factor in the silt, dust and 135mph roads. It takes a talented and experienced driver to navigate this race.With half of the course behind them and no mistakes in driving, TJ and Stephanie pulled into pit-4 where the crew was ready. Two new BFG tires and fuel topped off, the #80 truck was on the gas and back on the course in no time. With a 45 second pit stop and no one passing them during their pit, they were now on the hunt for the win. Clear dust didn’t last for long as the top trucks started catching one another; Stephanie kept her eyes on the GPS and navigated TJ through the thick, heavy Nevada dust. “We have learned to work really well together inside the truck” Stephanie stated, “I really trust TJ to get us to the finish safely but also get us a win.”

freitas_13-bitd_off-road-5-10-13Alamo, NV – Northern Nevada must be a favorite location for Garrick Freitas and the Freitas Motorsports crew. They always do well on the high-speed point-to-point courses there. The team won back-to-back Vegas to Reno races on some of these same roads that were run at the Best in the Desert Silver State 300. Point to point races typically favor the unlimited open wheel cars like Garrick’s General Tire FOX Jimco. Multi-lap races are better suited to the big Trick Trucks. First, the heavy trucks tear up the course and then use their huge tires and long travel to overpower the lighter class 1500 cars. Not this time; the top five finishers at the Silver State had three 1500 cars and only two Trick Trucks. Garrick qualified 15th but called upon his Kroyer horsepower to charge all the way up to third in class 1500, fifth overall at the drop of the checkered flag.

“We were trapped behind Damen Jeffries for most of the race,” said Garrick, “He was running a good pace but we wanted more. We had plenty more speed on tap with our Kroyer Racing engine but it was too risky trying to pass in the dust. We made a charge a couple of times but one attempt resulted in us almost plowing over a tree. We got going again with no damage but it was a close call.”

TrophyLite-Silver-State-300-5-9-13Ben Abatti III had a great race at the Best in the Desert Silver State 300. He drove the first half of the race and then turned his Trophylite over to his father Ben Abatti II to complete the race. They built an insurmountable lead on the rest of the field, taking the victory by over 11 minutes. If the story ended there, most would be happy but that is not the case. The team was penalized 15 minutes for a race incident. It’s safe to assume that Casey Folks does not like to hand out penalties to his racers but the problem with most rules, they don’t weigh intent and in order to be consistent they have to be held to the letter, which is not always fair. The Abatti’s drove a great race and took the news hard when they learned of the penalty at the awards ceremony.

“This race was important to us,” said Ben Abatti III, “My Dad has been racing for a long time. There is no way he would break the rules on purpose. We had a big lead; we didn’t need that fraction of a second off our time. We were unable to talk with Casey before the penalty was applied, we had no idea we did anything wrong. If we broke the rules then give us a penalty but why not ten minutes instead of fifteen so we can keep the win that we earned?” The 15 minute penalty dropped the Abatti’s back to third.

Buckhannon-4x4-Can-Am-5-8-13Valcourt, Québec, May 8, 2013 – Can-Am ATV and side-by-side racers won numerous classes and earned several podium finishes at various off-road events in the U.S. and Canada. Highlighted by Team UXC Racing / Can-Am X-Team racer Michael Swift’s morning overall and U2 class win, Can-Am 4×4 ATV racers won five morning classes at a soggy round five of the 2013 AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country held in Kentucky. Team Hendershot Performance won the Pro SxS race at round three of the American Woods Racing Championship Series in Pennsylvania. Maverick™ 1000R side-by-side team Murray Motorsports finished third in the SxS Pro class at the Best In The Desert Silver State 300 in Nevada. In the Courses VTT series in Canada, a Maverick pilot earned a podium position while three Can-Am DS 450 racers swept the ATV Pro class.

“Can-Am 4×4 racers dominated the murky Mammoth GNCC event, winning five classes. I was pleased to see Can-Am Renegade racer Michael Swift win his class, the morning overall and prove that sportsmanship is alive and well in our sport,” said Jimmie O’Dell, Race Manager, Can-Am. “Our Can-Am Maverick 1000R racers continue to make strides in the new side-by-side vehicle, winning two events and earning podium finishes in others.”

BITD-Alumi-Craft-5-7-13Alamo, NV – Chip Prescott and Ben Himel won the second race in a row driving their Alumi Craft Class 10 car to victory at the Best in the Desert Silver State 300 in Northern Nevada. The two won the brutally tough Mint 400 just over one month ago, one of the roughest races in memory. The race took a huge toll on all the competitors including Chip and Ben. They hit a boulder while blinded by the thick dust that blanketed the course. The impact peeled back the bottom skidplate and damaged the brake master cylinder. Even with the damage, the two remained competitive and went on to take the Class 10 victory.

At the Silver State 300, they would start seventh. Their plan was to get out early and avoid the dust that imperiled them so greatly at the Mint 400. At the drop of the green flag, their plan went out the window. “We wanted to get out in clean air as soon as we could,” said Chip, “The dust was really thick on the fast graded roads so it was difficult to close on the car ahead. We had to wait for sandy washes or hard-packed sections to close and pass other cars. Fortunately for us, we can maintain a fast race pace in our Alumi Craft and still have more to give when we need it. The minute the dust would clear, we would put the hammer down.”

BITD-12-16-11Canidae Natural Pet Food Company and California microbrewery Tap It Brewing will share the spotlight again this year as title sponsors of the Best in the Desert Silver State 300 race taking place May 3rd through 5th, in Alamo, Nevada, just north of Las Vegas.

The Canidae Pet Foods/Tap It Brewing Silver State 300 will feature racers from across the Western United States competing against each other in multiple classes including the prestigious Trick Truck class where CANIDAE has its own entry, the #95 truck co-driven by Scott Whipple and Scott Gailey.

Registration, tech and contingency will take place on Friday at the Aliante Station Hotel in North Las Vegas. Tap It Brewing has arranged to make special samples of their award-winning, handcrafted ales available to all race teams of legal drinking age while CANIDAE Pet Foods will be on hand with samples and coupons for its natural, holistic pet foods for all racers and fans in attendance.

Rob-mac-bitd-off-road-4-29-13The Canidae Tap It Silver State “300” scheduled for May 3-5, 2013, is a race rich in Eastern Nevada’s most scenic high desert beauty and history.  The 300-mile single loop race course starts 15 miles north of Alamo and features a mixture of high-desert mountains, sand-washes, and awesome panoramic views. It crosses through the vast cattle ranching pastures, past towns where railroading was the primary way of life in the late 1800s, and through the mountains where some of the wildest gold and silver mining camps in the West were located in the 1870s.  The Canidae Tap It Silver State “300” gives racers an opportunity to go back in time and experience what it might have been like to live as a cattle rancher, a miner or a railroad man.  However, there won’t be much time for taking in the spectacular sights of the surrounding landscape, as the course is a fast one that demands 100% of the racers’ attention.  The 2012 event turned into a 300-mile long drag race where the top three finishers were separated by a mere 34-seconds. This is not only a great race to experience, but also a great event to bring the entire family to. Best In The Desert racing is about creating memories and the Canidae Tap It Silver State “300” will definitely live up to your wildest expectations.  The Canidae Tap It Silver State “300” is a grand event, not just another great desert race!