The longest off-road desert race, almost 500 miles, ran through Mineral County last weekend drawing people from all over the world to try their luck at the one-day, all or nothing pursuit of being crowned the winner.
Starting outside of Pahrump, the run weaves its way through the deserts of Nevada and ends outside of Dayton.
Racers put their skills, lives and trust on the line when they face such issues as: washouts, boulders and other races. They are met are specified pit areas by their pit crew who have to race the clock to keep the man (or woman) and machine at its top performance.
Donald Jackson, who has taken the lead of this organization after the death of his mentor Casey Folks in January of 2017 made some changes to the race this year.
He decided to start the motorcycle and quad classes prior to daylight, due to their slower running speeds and the safety of the riders. Racing during the daylight hours would cut down on injuries and due to darkness and dusty conditions.
The car and truck class would start one half hour later than they did in the 2017 race which would allow the motorcycles and quads to get further down the race trail. Signs were also implemented showing trucks that they have a possible bike ahead of them. Jackson also chose to enforce the closing of pits along the route and positioned Care Flight along the route to help with injuries which required more medical attention than what could be given by local hospitals, such as Mt. Grant General Hospital, whose staff successfully survived the 22nd BITD race.
Joining the hype this year was Laird Hamilton, who is best known for successfully riding the heaviest wave ever ridden called the Teahup’o on Aug. 17, 2000. On this same date 18 years later he would in a UTV racing in the General Tire “Vegas to Reno” presented by Fox, Longest Off Road Race in the United States. Prior to racing, Hamilton was handing out samples of his Laird Superfood products during the contingency and registration. At press time, it was unknown what place, if any, Hamilton took.
Johnny Angal out of Mesa, Ariz. and driver of truck #63 would be the first in his class to reach the finish line. There was only .57 seconds separating his time from the Menzies, Mantney, McMillian and MacCachren teams, the BITD Facebook announced.
The top motorcycle team made up of Jacob Argubright and Max Eddy completed the race in 8 hours and 36 minutes, coming to Nevada from Lake Elsinore, Calif.
The team of Josh Herzing and Phillip Luce would place as the last team to cross the finish line outside of Dayton. Possibly seen as a failure by some – the team should be commended for actually being able to complete the race which tests all skills that racers may have.
Jackson was quoted as saying, “We are all dedicated to making sure “Vegas to Reno” will always continue in the great tradition and spirit that Casey would want.”
Currently, BITD crews are cleaning and repairing the race course as a show of good faith to the counties that allow them to race across their public lands.