McMurrough-Vegas-to-Reno-8-22-13After winning their last two races and months of preparation, McMurrough Racing and TJ Flores had their sights set on bringing another win back to the shop. Vegas to Reno, put on by Best In The Desert, is one of the only point to point off-road races that still takes place in the states. The racers and their vehicles compete in temperatures that can reach over 110 degrees, barrel through silt beds that swallow anyone that hesitates, and fly across long grated roads where trucks can reach speeds of 136 mph.

The events for Vegas to Reno began on Wednesday when over 50 Trick Trucks and Class 1′s lined up for qualifying. The 4.2-mile course was marked just on the outskirts of Las Vegas and the tight course would put two Class 1′s starting in top spots. The #80 McMurrough Racing Trick Truck would start Fridays race in the 6th place starting position. TJ would be the 3rd Trick Truck following right behind Jesse Jones and Bryce Menzies.

“We were excited for our starting position. We wouldn’t have too much dust to battle come race day and we just needed to set a good pace and let the race come to us.” -said driver, TJ Flores.

BJ-TJ-Baldwin-Off-Road-7-18-13Reno, NV – BJ Baldwin and relief driver TJ Flores fought hard to overcome several setbacks they encountered to finish fourth at the HDRA Eldorado Reno 500. BJ had enlisted the help of TJ Flores to handle some of the driving chores in the grueling 500 mile race. Normally BJ doesn’t use a relief driver but he is still healing after a hand injury that required a rod and a splint on his finger. With that finger sticking straight out, there is a chance it could get caught on the steering wheel doing even worse damage to the finger.

BJ had to do what he could for the team; he drove his truck during qualifying. He must have released every bit of his pent up energy. He went out and torched the field; taking the number one qualifying spot. He would take off in the lead on race day and drive the initial 18 miles before handing the Monster Energy / Toyo Tires / Rigid Industries Trophy Truck over to TJ.

Last week Best in the Desert held “The longest off-road race in the United States” in the TSCO Vegas to Reno. The race challenged competitors with 549 miles of rocky, silty Nevada desert.

BITD recently posted the official finishers of the race, confirming Steve Strobel’s overall win and first in the Trick Truck class. Finishing second overall and first in Class 1500 was Garrick Freitas. In the Open Pro Motorcycle class, Shane Esposito earned the overall win. Greg Stuart earned the win in the Quad Pro class, and Brandon Schueler took home first place in the Class 1900 UTV division.

Check out more Vegas to Reno Coverage
Strobel Vegas to Reno Race

Vegas to Reno Photo Gallery

2011 BITD Vegas to Reno Qualifying

Airing in February on Fuel TV, Mad Media will be presenting exclusive coverage of the “2010 General Tire Mint 400.” The Mint 400 SNORE desert race held just north of Las Vegas, Nevada. It began as an annual off-road race that began in 1967. Called the “The Great American Desert Race” in the mid-70s, it features a legendary 400-mile course considered by many to be the toughest in North American off-road racing.

The Mint draws hundreds of participants, thousands of fans, and even a number of celebrities. It was depicted in Hunter S. Thompson’s epic novel “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” in 1971, which was later made into a feature film starring Johnny Depp and Benicio del Toro.

If the grandstands full of off-road race fans at the SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge is any indicator, off-road racing appears to be alive and well in 2011. Despite recent years where rain and ugly weather plagued this race, sunny skies and a steady desert breeze greeted racers and fans at the Laughlin Event Park.

Although this race doesn’t have the most jam-packed field since it’s so early in the season (SCORE officials told us 123 racers entered), many big-name racers looking to stay in the points battle for the year-end championship were definitely on hand. The race format is unique compared to the longer endurance races SCORE puts on south of the border. The Laughlin Desert Challenge is held on a 6.25-mile loop course just away from the main strip of casinos on the riverbank. The overall time of both Saturday and Sunday’s laps combine to determine the overall winner for each class.

The SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge is the first race of the five-event off-road desert race series, but more importantly it serves as a kick-start to a new year of off-road racing. New sponsor stickers are plastered over cars, some new teams are tackling different classes, and much like the New Year is for dieters hoping to shed a few pounds, this first event gives racers the hope of starting off a championship drive by winning the first race of the season.

The Laughlin Desert Challenge is unique to the longer, more tedious races SCORE puts on south of the border. This race, which is held at the Laughlin Event Park just off Casino Drive, features a 6.25-mile loop course. The event at one point consisted of two days of racing with each serving as individual events, but SCORE now combines the racing from both days to determing the overall winner. More on that when racing begins tomorrow.