Sheri Samson Tim Hall and his crew work on his vehicle in preparation for Friday’s Vegas to Reno off-road race.

Sheri Samson
Tim Hall and his crew work on his vehicle in preparation for Friday’s Vegas to Reno off-road race.

When Sgt. Tim Hall narrowly survived a mortar blast in Afghanistan back in 2010, he came home as a local hero. He was known as the one soldier that fought all odds of death, but sustained life as a double amputee due to the injuries inflicted. Hall endured endless surgeries and years of rehabilitation as he learned to overcome his disability, which never hampered his love for racing.

“Racing and driving is my focus,” he said. “I dream of doing it professionally with solid sponsors that allow me the opportunity to compete more than I do now.”

When Hall is driving, it’s as if he has no disability. “I’m a competitor out there running the best race I can just to win. I’m not nervous about it. I just want to get out there and do it.”

One would think that the endurance of a 500 mile, non-stop race, which is properly named “Best in the Desert – Vegas to Reno”, would be too much for most people, let alone someone like Hall.

But Hall says, “No way – not a problem”, as this General Tire sponsored event will be taking place Aug. 13-15 within the Silver State of backroad bliss. Entitled “The longest off-road race in the U.S.” this endeavor is known in the off-road circuit as a monster due to the commitment that’s needed both physically and financially. Hall explained that his orange 2014 Polaris 1000 RZR was purchased for racing. He competed in the Vorra race this year, coming in second in his class and fifth overall.

“We’ve made adaptions to the original stock model for this race and the tough terrain. I have everyone involved, because this is a family thing. We do our own work and luckily we have the tools to make it happen.”

With the garage full of his team, some retrieved parts while another held tools for his dad, Eric Hamrey, as he continued the mechanical side of the build. When Hamrey was welding, Hall’s father, Russ Hall, ran an errand. The racing experience is definitely a family affair, which was evident as everyone took a role in the excitement.

With so much of racing involving private strategies, Hall’s racing team will have two drivers, one backup driver and a mobile crew. With pit stops designated along the mapped out route, the team anticipates a 15-16 hour time frame, which includes driving throughout the night and into the following day. With all the other racing vehicles on the track, there will be intervals of stops, break downs and possible accidents that can delay the already exhausting hours up to the finish line. Many estimate it to be a 24-hour race based upon the unknowns that can happen.

With a price tag that can reach close to $10,000 to participate, Hall’s team has done everything they can to save money and reach their goals. They had six tires donated by BF Goodrich and gratefully accepted smaller donations toward the racing investment. A local donation was made by Wade Barton from Sign City, with a bright orange wrap on the razor, including the names and the numbers for the race. A bold 1989 racing number was placed clearly on each side of the vehicle. Hall’s mother, Tammy Hamrey, shared that his number was chosen in honor of his birth year.

There are many categories within this race; from trucks to quads to motorcycles, which then breaks down into professional and amateur levels. Each racing vehicle must provide proper lighting, identifying numbers, and abide by the rules, with volunteers giving directions throughout the race.

In Team Hall the mobile crew will consist of Sheldon “Pooter” Self; Dakota Sanford; Adam Halverson and Gary Hamrey. Eric Hamrey will assist with mechanical issues, while co-drivers Sgt.Will Blinco and Russ Hall, Jr. will be on hand to split the miles at specific spots. Sgt. Maj. Preston Eaton will be Hall’s backup driver should a permanent exchange need to take place.

In the final stages of preparation the razor is equipped with a special fresh air system which is hooked into the racing helmet, along with a radio system with GPS and team communication abilities. There is access to hydrating liquids built into a system layout that is next to several safety configurations. The team will head to Las Vegas for opening ceremonies, with the race starting in Beatty wrapping around the rural roads and ending in Dayton. The final stage is an evening awards night held in Reno on Saturday, Aug. 15.

Hall’s outlook is simply to seize life for yourself, which is vital in his choice to race.