BITD Silver State 300Fort Mill, SC – August 20, 2013 – It’s the longest off-road race in the United States.  The General Tire Vegas to Reno race, put on by Best In The Desert (BITD), is not for the faint of heart.  For nearly 550 miles, teams navigated the harsh terrain of the Nevada desert from Las Vegas to Reno and more than 95 teams attempted to claim victory.  It was CJ Hutchins who took the top spot for Team GT finishing first in Class 1500 and fourth overall completing the race in 9:34:58.  The win marked Hutchins best finish in the famed race.

“Congratulations to CJ and his entire team on their 1500 win and fourth-place finish overall at Vegas to Reno,” said Travis Roffler, director of marketing for General Tire.  “To have four wins with CJ (Hutchins), Steve (Alexander), Banning and Randy (Merritt) – who has now won three times in a row at Vegas to Reno – all on red letter GRABBER’s is amazing.  Vegas to Reno is a demanding 550 miles and I’m proud of each and every one of our teams for finishing.”

Vegas-to-Reno-General-Tire-8-8-13There is no better way to start the 543-mile long General Tire “Vegas to Reno” race than at the head of pack and dust free. And on this coming Wednesday, August 14th, 59 unlimited class cars and trucks will be competing for a chance to do just that and claim the “Team Ford” Pole Award.

Best in the Desert is desert racing’s only sanctioning body that holds Time Trials for the unlimited car and trucks at every one of their events and allows them an equal opportunity to compete head-to-head for the first starting position. At this year’s running of the famous General Tire “Vegas to Reno”, the Longest Off Road Race in the United States, an elite group of the greatest off-road racers in the world, 33 Class1400 Trick Trucks and 26 Class 1500 Unlimited Cars, will gather at a secret location in the desert outside of Las Vegas to determine who is the fastest one of them all.

Vegas-to-Reno-General-Tire-8-8-13An excited Casey Folks, director of Best in the Desert, announced that more than 275 of the world’s fastest off-road racers have signed up to date for the Longest Off Road Race in the United States, The General Tire “Vegas to Reno”. Of particular note, this is the largest number of entries this early in history for this spectacular race.

Set up to be a landmark race, the 2013 running of the General Tire “Vegas to Reno” race has the leading off-road race teams gathering in Las Vegas to challenge the treacherous terrain of the Nevada desert, that only Casey can create.

Racers from the U.S. and around the world are set to compete – with entries coming now from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Mexico, South Africa, Uruguay and 25 U.S. states.

Corona, CA – The summer break is almost over for most people in the off-road racing world, though the THR Motorsports / Monster Energy / Precision Concepts Kawasaki team certainly hasn’t been on vacation. After its history-making triumph in the 44th Tecate/SCORE Baja 500 in June, the focus switched to the classic BITD General Tire Vegas-to-Reno, and that 534-mile marathon is now upon us with the green flag set to wave at 5:45 A.M. on Friday, August 17, outside of Beatty, Nevada.

The stakes are higher this year for everyone with the introduction of a $10,000 winner-take-all bonus compliments of THR Motorsports, Hoosier Precision Machining, Monster Energy, GPR Stabilizer and Best in the Desert. It doesn’t matter what team or bike or rider–the $10,000 goes to whoever beats everyone else to the finish in Dayton, making this not only the longest off-road race in the U.S. but now the richest.

Las Vegas, Nevada – Best In The Desert, the largest off-road desert racing organization in the world, is excited to announce that a record setting 306 entries have already signed up for the longest point-to-point race in the United States. With two weeks remaining before the drop of the green flag, that number is expected to grow to well over 315, as additional racer registrations will still be accepted up to the day before the race. This is the 16th year that Best In The Desert has promoted an off-road desert race over 500-miles long from Southern Nevada to Northern Nevada. Starting north of Las Vegas, in Beatty and finishing in Dayton, just south of Reno, the race course traverses 534-miles of the most challenging terrain the great state of Nevada has to offer. From rocky trails dating back to the original “Pony Express” days, to vast silt beds, and climbing to elevations well in excess of 7200 feet, the General Tire “Vegas to Reno” off-road race tests endurance of the two wheeled and four wheeled racers and their machines; and treats them to the most incredible adventure of their lives.

John Swift and Steve Olliges knew that competition would be tough for the 2011 Best In The Desert Vegas to Reno race when over 250 drivers tossed their hat in the ring. The entry list for the longest desert race in America included 27 competitors in the marquee Trick Truck class, all vying with the No. 28 BFGoodrich / MasterCraft Safety truck of Swift and Olliges.  The event started with tech and contingency, where the biggest buzz was not about their unlimited Trick Truck, but Olliges’ beautiful ’79 Ford F150 that will be campaigned in Best In The Desert’s Class 8 starting at the Bluewater Desert Challenge in October.   “The truck really resonates with people, young and old, who appreciate desert racing’s rich heritage,” Olliges noted.

Swift and Olliges qualified 37th for Vegas to Reno, demonstrating that the present day competition is blistering fast.  In order to finish well in the 549-mile race across the harsh Nevada desert, Swift and Olliges would have to run a nearly flawless race; and when the green flag dropped that is just what they did.  Steve Olliges set a fast pace from the start with Jason Bateman navigating.  An electrical issue was addressed early on by their expert pit crew, and Steve handed off the truck to Jonathan Swift and Daniel Llewelyn who opened up the new Dougan Racing Ford engine to turn the 39-inch BFGoodrich Project tires as fast as possible, taking turns picking off competitors and marching forward in the crowded field.

Reno, Nev.— The Vegas to Reno Off-Road Race brought more than 5,000 people through 16 rural Nevada communities and over 500 miles of BLM desert last weekend.  While race safety is a priority in permitting the event, the economic boost to these communities is vital, too.

There were no major accidents and only a couple of minor medical incidents. The BLM will continue to permit off-highway-vehicle racing on public lands while working with promoters and participants to improve safety and reduce the impacts to public lands.

“The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) was comfortable permitting this event,” said Leo Drumm, outdoor recreation planner. “The race promoter, Best in the Desert, has a good safety record and planned for all contingencies.”

The race is held annually on established roads on public lands in Nevada. The race has continued running for over 20 years and has become a part of the state’s history.

Starting near Beatty, Nev., to avoid Mojave desert tortoise habitat, motorcycles, quads, buggies and unlimited trucks headed north and traveled through 16 rural Nevada towns along the way. In Tonopah, restaurants were full and gas stations were busy.

Before issuing the Special Recreation Permit (SRP) for the Best in the Desert Racing Association, the BLM analyzed the Environmental Assessments (EA) used for permitting the event in previous years and determined the EAs provided adequate environmental analysis to permit the event for this year.

Best In The Desert official sponsors: Ford Motor Company – official truck, General Tire – official tire, Lucas Oil – official oil, VP Racing Fuels – official fuel, KC HiLiTES – official light, John Deere – official UTV, Husqvarna – official motorcycle, Fabtech – Official Suspension, Fall Advertising, Prerunner Maniac, McKenzies, PCI Race Radios, Azunia Tequila, and Sportsman Cycle Sales.

Corona, CA – Zip-Ty Husqvarna racers took to the Nevada desert over the weekend in the Best In The Desert Vegas to Reno, where Nick Burson and Ty Davis teamed up to take a podium finish in the Open Pro class.

Burson and Davis piloted their Zip-Ty Racing-prepared 2011 Husqvarna TXC511 to fifth overall in the longest off-road race in America, where they also finished third in class. The race was a first for Burson, who had never run the Vegas to Reno before, and he had a rather tough go of it after a crash early in the race.

“Everyone got lost on the dry lakebed,” Burson explained. “There was a 90-degree corner on a lakebed and everyone missed it except Esposito. I got across the lake and as soon as I turned around, I was looking up to see if I could see any dust trails and I hit a sand bush and went straight over the bars.”

Fortunately Burson wasn’t injured too badly, and the bike was still in running shape, though it carried some damage to the next pit stop.

“We were just going to do a gas stop,” Davis recalled, “and we saw a hand guard broken and he said, ‘You might have to ride. I just crashed.’ I looked at the bike and there was no rear fender, and I was like, ‘Yeah you did!’ That early in the race we weren’t ready to be switching everything over. But we had to swap out the front brakes and then I got on the bike and made it to pit ten.”

Following the crash, Davis ended up riding far more of the Vegas to Reno than he had originally planned. “I was just doing this to be a relief rider for Nick, and I ended up on the bike for over four hours. He was the one who’s supposed to be in shape, not me!” Davis said with a laugh.

Still, Burson was able to get back on the bike and take it to the finish. The durable and fuel-efficient Husqvarna TXC511 proved to be the ideal race weapon for over 500 miles of wide-open racing. Davis commented on putting Husky’s open-class off-roader through its paces at the Vegas to Reno.

“Casey [Folks – BITD race promoter] grates the courses now so it was really smooth and the speeds were extremely high. It was like an 8-hour dyno run on that thing; it was wide open! I guarantee you that bike has never been ridden that hard for that long.”

“It all goes to show that desert racing is not easy, and not for the weak, so it’s no surprise that Ty, Nick and the TXC511 endured to finish strong in the Vegas to Reno,” commented Husqvarna’s National Marketing Manager Corey Eastman. “It’s another proud finish for Husqvarna North America this year.”

Photo by Mark Kariya

San Luis Obispo, CA – The Canidae Off Road Racing team qualified in 34th place out of more than 270 entries at this year’s Best in the Desert Vegas to Reno offroad race. The 34th place starting position put them 19th off the starting line in their Trophy Truck class. Driving hard and powering through the rugged terrain, co-drivers Scott Whipple and Scott Gailey kept pushing the truck throughout the race to finish a strong 5th in their class, only 21 seconds off 4th place, and only 7 minutes shy of a podium finish. The Vegas to Reno race is over 500 miles long and the Canidae Team turned in a 10 hour, 19 minute and 10 second time on course.

The event was blogged live at the team’s website and Facebook fan page and attracted more visits and comments then any other race in the team’s history. “Reports and pictures kept coming in from Canidae as we watched the live tracking at Best in the Desert. We saw them making their way forward through the pack, doing better and better as the race went on. They even lost a cylinder part way through and just kept right on making great time and passing other teams. It was exciting and we’re all really happy for the crew,” said Marlon Coffman, long time supporter of the team.

Driver Whipple started the race with navigator Patrick Gailey. They managed to turn in a smooth and consistent performance, battling through the pack and gaining on the leaders despite a flat fire. At mile 289 co-driver Scott Gailey took over for Whipple and despite a dead cylinder on the team’s 800 HP 454 Dougan small block, he managed to push the truck hard and claim a top 10 finish and a 5th place in class.

Gailey found himself battling not only the course and the other drivers, but also the sun as the team made the decision earlier to not take the additional pit time to attach their normal night-time lighting. As the sun drew closer to the horizon, the team wasn’t sure Gailey would be able to cross the finish line before the lack of proper lighting became an issue. Fortunately, he beat the sun and crossed with time to spare.

At the end of race day, Whipple commented, “What an awesome day. We have the best crew who worked together as a team flawlessly. Interviews are over and we’re loading up so we can celebrate! Thanks to all of you who support us and cheered us on!”
Next up for Canidae Racing is the BlueWater Desert Challenge on October 14 to 16 in Parker, AZ.

Canidae Racing is supported by Canidae Pet Foods, Lucas Oil, BFGoodrich Tires, Magnaflow Exhaust, KC HiLites, Torco Race Fuels, Tap It Brewing, JE Pistons, Fox Race Shox, Geiser Bros. Design & Development, K&N Air Filters, Racepak, CalTex Freight, McKenzies, Specialty Fasteners, XRP Hoses and Fittings, Norco Tires, and GET Performance.

Photo credit Mike Wilson Photography.

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