Anytime you have two trucks that finish on the podium after suffering rollovers, you know it was a wild race. The Best In The Desert series, Vegas to Reno race is always tough. This year’s event was more brutal than anyone could have imagined after Northern Nevada was pummeled with rain. The rains left standing water in some areas of the 545 mile course and washed away the top layer of dirt to expose sharp rocks sticking up everywhere. There were also trenches, washouts and ruts that pounded the drivers and their Trophylite race trucks.
Just prior to the weekend’s Best in the Desert Vegas to Reno race, BITD announced its 2016 schedule. Among the notable changes is an update to the Vegas to Reno race, in which the race will be extended to 640 miles and be stretched out into a two-day format.
San Clemente, CA –– Hot off a top 10 finish at the M.O.R.E. Freedom 250 three weeks ago, Azuñia Racing rolled in to Sin City with a full force effort to conquer Best in the Desert’s Vegas to Reno. V2R has earned a well-deserved reputation as one of the toughest endurance races in desert racing. The heavy rains that eroded the 500+ mile racecourse days prior made conditions especially brutal on race day and the #6110 piloted by Azuñia Tequila Founder, Jim Riley, was forced to surrender after a promising start to “The Longest Off-Road Race in America.”
Las Vegas, NV – They say there is no test tougher than desert off road racing. When you think of the toughest races in off road, one that ranks at the top has to be Best in the Desert’s Vegas to Reno, (V2R). V2R is the longest off road race in the United States traveling over 530 miles through some of the worst terrain in Northern Nevada. It is a race that no team takes lightly. Taking a brand new car here is gutsy; taking that car to a second place podium finish is incredible. Coleman Motorsports beat all but one of the 28 other competitors at V2R in their first race with a newly constructed Jimco Class 10.
Las Vegas, NV – The General Tire ATX Wheels Jeepspeed Series took on the longest off road race in the United States, the Best in the Desert General Tire Vegas to Reno race, (V2R). V2R starts in Beatty, Nevada and travels north for 543 miles to the finish in Dayton, Nevada. The mere distances involved are daunting but Mother Nature conspired to make it even more difficult. Many times the rain is a blessing; it can help hold the silt together making it easier to get through normally tough sections. This year’s course still had silt, rocks and ruts as usual but the heavy rains in some sections scoured the ground. It washed the top layer of dirt away to expose all the rocks below. In order to prevail, teams would need determination, guts and a little luck.
Jeepspeed Challenge race winner Todd Jackson had lots of all three. “We had a good race, we had a plan and we stuck to it,” says Todd, “We started third in our Grand Cherokee and eventually got past the other trucks out front. We opened up a big lead, about an hour, so we did some much needed service at pit 14. We changed the air filter, bled the brakes and changed the right front hub. I pulled out of our pit and 100 feet later the steering arm broke. We were lucky it happened right there. The crew had all their tools available to make a quick repair.”
After 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.
Fort 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.”
There 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.
An 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.