Nov. 01, 2005 By ORC STAFF



First of all, we would like to thank both Best in the Desert & the Blue Water Resort and Casino for providing such beautiful accommodations and an historic venue! Our appreciation also goes out to the wonderful warm welcome from both the residence of Parker and Bouse, Arizona.

The morning of race day was filled with anticipation, hope and a brisk chill in the air. There were a record 133 entries, nine in our class. The first truck went off the starting line at exactly 7:30 am; our truck #7303 was the fifth truck in our class to start at 8:35 am.

Eric Tapley our Co-driver started the race. Knowing that this race course could be quite a nasty 425 miles, and the fact that last year we did not finish, our mind set was to just cross the finish line. Lap one proved positive to its history and visibility was really bad. On the “goat trial” we decided to keep a moderate pace and we still managed to catch up to the Fitts team # 7312, they must have seen us in their mirror because they promptly disappeared into the dust. We caught up and passed them a bit later. After we left pit 2 “Midway”, we reached a hearty 85mph that’s jamming for our truck! At pit #4 ”Midway-alt” we gassed up and did a visual check as Eric had taken out a buried rock somewhere in the silt bed before the pit. By the end of pit#1 we had passed 4 broken down trucks from our class. That was even more inspiration to just take it easy and keep the truck in one piece. At the beginning of lap 2 we had moved up into third place according to our information at the time.

Leaving Main pit we were right on the tail lamps of the Team Donahoe Toyota #7317, we had followed him for about 10 miles through the Mineral Wash and then passed him along with some other broken down trucks and buggies. We were pleasantly surprised that we never saw the Donahoe team again.

The newly fabricated Team Dixon Ford Ranger #7301 blew past us as if we were standing still down a fast straightaway, as we were busy setting a Team Dos Okies Motorsports land speed record of 95 mph. We were enjoying a surprising race with no problems-a first for us! Later on we were feeling pretty fast following a pro-truck, too bad the only part of it that we were able to pass was the remnants of their rear tire that was blasting down the trail!

The only other drama occurred about 2 miles outside of the Main pit on lap 2. Tragedy struck. Johnny Webster, our owner and main driver, started to talk to Eric about waterfalls, rivers and running faucets. After 8 grueling hours of driving on rough terrain, it was just too much for Eric’s bladder, and Eric gave the truck back to Johnny at main pit in one piece, but a little damp in the drivers seat if you know what I mean!

With the driver change were still able to get out of the pit before the Dixon team as they were having some suspension issues. Around mile marker 15 our truck got slightly stuck in a sand wash and the guys were able to get it out without too much effort, however the Dixon’s team were able to pass us. We had to hustle because we were aware that Lance Magin #7340 was close behind the Dixon team. We were quite pleased with the second place position and the truck was thankfully going along really well, so we kept on our steady pace. We had no need to stop at pit #3, so we drove through and passed Kenny Brager #8004.

We live in the same town as Kenny & his wife Vivianne and share pit crews. Not far out of pit #3, Kenny came blowing past us in a wash and we swore that we had switched paint schemes, but we hadn’t. By that time the sun was beginning to set and the wind died down so the visibility was again, almost zero. Evidently the prep on our PIAA lamps was somehow overlooked and to our dismay the lights only gave us about 30ft of light ahead of the truck. Both sets of eyes were ahead as we tried to keep up speed and stay on the course.

The Dixon team at pit#3 was a solid 10 min behind us and Lance Magin was about 10 min behind them. Things were getting a bit tight, but we kept our cool and collected frame of mind.

All went well and we crossed the Finish line just as the moon was rising over the mountain. Ear to ear smiles were all over our faces as we had just realized that we have just won our first-first place! We had six races under our belts up to this one, 2-second places, 1-third place 1-dnf and we didn’t make it do one race.

Not bad for a rookie team! The feeling of a win is awesome!

We want to thank our sponsors: Johnny’s Custom Auto Body, Harry’s Auto Signs, BFGoodrich, Amsoil, King Muffler, Faultline Suspension, Desertracing.com, Matco tools, Chaparral Signs and Swanson Ford.

Without the patience and dedication of our crew: JP Lehr-Webster, Alyssa Lehr, Donna Tapley, Brian & Larry Ziegler, Mike, George, Bob Wilson, Tim Pierson, John Gracie & KB Racing, we would not be where we are today.

Off-Road.com Newsletter
Join our Weekly Newsletter to get the latest off-road news, reviews, events, and alerts!