Photos by Matt Kartozian/Durka Durka Photo
Andy McMillin started first off the line and was the first to cross the finish line on day one.
As if making Best in the Desert’s Vegas to Reno race the “longest off-road race in the United States” wasn’t enough, BITD Director Casey Folks decided to make the race even more sadistic by including a few more challenges for competitors. The entire race will cover 996 miles of Nevada desert over three days, and not one mile of the course could be pre-run. What’s more, race teams were only afforded one hour to wrench on their vehicles after day one. Sure, teams could work beyond the hour mark, but then they’d be assessed time penalties for every hour, minute and second they went over the hour mark.
Sound like too much? Apparently not, because close to 300 racers took to the course today, which started just outside of Vegas at Beatty (which, I was told, was the hottest place in the nation yesterday). One look at the slam-packed “Camp Adventure” full of race teams, pit crews, race fans and others, would show just how many people are taking to the highways to follow the race. Prior to the race, BITD representatives said there were 750 RVs preregistered for Camp Adventure.
|TJ Flores finished third overall unofficially on day one and was the first buggy across the finish line.|
During the race, Andy McMillin made the most of his first-place starting position that he earned by burning the fastest time in qualifying. He stayed out in front for the race, losing the lead on corrected time a few times, but eventually holding off BJ Baldwin to take the honors for day one.“It was a really good day, really clean,” McMillin said after the race. “We kind of started pushing the pace in the second half. BJ and a couple other guys had us on time in the first half, so we were pushing it in the second half but still not wanting to make any mistakes, just keep it smooth and really go racing tomorrow and Saturday.”
|BJ Bladwin was in conention today but still took a respectible second place overall on day one.|
Baldwin had a solid race today, coming off the line in sixth, but by the third pit stop Baldwin had taken over the lead on corrected time. Had it not been for issues with the air jack while repairing a flat just outside of pit three that cost the team about five minutes, Baldwin might have taken the overall lead on the day.
“We played it pretty conservative,” Baldwin said at the finish line. “We had one flat. I blew a corner and hit a big rock. I messed up. I was talking on the radio and I was distracted, and I hit a big rock.”
Overall, Baldwin felt they ran a good race today.
“I didn’t want to take any chances today because we have two more days,” he said. “I didn’t want to do anything stupid today; if I’m going do something stupid, it’s going to be tomorrow or the next day.”
|A little cat-and-mouse play on day one at BITD's Vegas to Reno.|
|Harley Letner charged from 11th off the starting line to fourth overall - and second in buggies.
Photo by: Josh Burns
The eleventh vehicle off the line was Baja 500 race winner Harley Letner (though drive of record for that vehicle is Kory Halopoff), who was able to work through the pack to be the fourth vehicle across the line and fourth overall. Letner did note that the lack of pre-running did change things a bit.
“We’ve always been taught to pre-run as much as we can, so going in not knowing was pretty gnarley, but I started to recognize it in some spots from previous years,” Letner said. “I only lost the rear brakes, so that got kind of tricky and calmed us down, so we just tried not to make any mistakes.”
|Sam Berri was unofficially fifth in Class 1500 on day one.
Photo by: Josh Burns
Jason Voss was also able to work through the pack to finish in the top five and be the third truck across the line.
““We just wanted to let people slowly drop out in front of us and be sitting in a better position for day two,” he said. “It worked out for us today.”
Tomorrow marks day two of the Vegas to Reno desert race, with racers covering the most land of each of the three days at 367 miles.
Best in the Desert – Unofficial Day 1 Results
Trucks and Buggies Top 20
1. Andrew McMillin (1400) – 5:40:10.149
2. BJ Baldwin (1400) – 5:41:32.483
3. Kevin Colan (1500) – 5:43:18.649
4. Kory Halopoff (1500) – 5:44:55.821
5. Jason Voss (1400) – 5:47:56.664
6. Gary Weyhrich (1400) – 5:55:43.289
7. Pat Dean (1500) – 5:57:09.461
8. Kory Scheeler (1400) – 5:57:09.461
9. Tim Herbst (1400) – 5:58:48.961
10. Jesse Jones (1400) – 6:01:43.399
11. Sam Berri (1500) – 6:01:45.711
12. Rick D. Johnson (1400) – 6:03:19.961
13. Mike Bilek (1500) – 6:07:42.993
14. Tracy Rubio (1400) – 6:14:25.539
15. Todd Jergensen (1400) – 6:14:46.336
16. Troy Herbst (1500) – 6:14:50.727
17. Levi Rockhill (1500) – 6:17:16.274
18. Ron Whitton (1400) – 126.96.36.1999
19. Will Staats (1400) – 6:17:45.086
20. Mark McMillin (1400) – 6:22:57.321
Bikes and ATVs Top 20
1. David Pearson (Open Pro bike) – 5:37:41.118
2. Ricky Brabec (4Stk Pro bike) – 5:44:39.727
3. Adam Thissen (Open Pro bike) – 5:59:58.946
4. Sean Berryman (Open Pro bike) – 6:03:54.430
5. Michael Johnson (Open 30 Pro bike) – 6:07:07.133
6. Tim Fitzpatrick (Open Expert bike) – 6:10:28.008
7. Josh Wilson (Open Expert bike) – 6:18:44.383
8. Robert Patterson (Open Expert bike) – 6:18:56.961
9. Mike Whitman (Open Expert bike) – 6:19:02.618
10. Jamen Noorda (Open Expert bike) – 6:24:11.227
11. James Oleson (4Stk Expert bike) – 6:29:25.555
12. Jim Easley (Open Expert bike) – 6:32:57.696
13. Greg Stuart (Quad Pro) – 6:34:39.118
14. Wayne Matlock (Quad Pro) – 6:36:31.227
15. Dewayne Boerner (Open 30 Pro bike) – 6:37:57.539
16. Kyle Mangels (4stk Expert bike) – 6:39:52.680
17. Bret Greenholz (Quad Pro) – 6:42:21.993
18. Alan Cameron (4stk Expert bike) – 6:46:39.055
19. AJ Stewart (Open Expert bike) – 6:47:44.914
20. David Scott (Quad Pro) – 6:50:22.571