Nye County is the off-road race capital

More off-road racing is headed to Nye County.

Best in the Desert, the organization that brings us the Best in the Desert series and races like the Pahrump 250 and the Vegas to Reno race has expanded to three races in Nye County, the third race being in Tonopah.

According to Best in the Desert’s new race manager, Donald Jackson, who took over from Best in the Desert President Casey Folks, who passed away in February, Folks was wanting to add another race to Nye County as early as December of last year, to bring three races to the Nye County area this year.

Why Tonopah?

“Casey Folks just before he passed was worried about losing a Parker, Arizona event as early as December, which was a two-day event,” Jackson said. “The Tonopah race will be on October 21 and will be a point-to-point 250-mile loop like the one held in Pahrump. We still have a race in Parker but we will not be going to Parker in October. We want to give people what we are known for and that is our long races.”

Jackson also pointed out that this was a new event and that it could bring as many as 3,000 people to the town. He told the town board that all the hotel rooms were already booked for the event just four days after the event was announced. There should be 200 to 250 entries and anywhere from 300 to 400 RVs.

Jackson said he had no problems getting approval for the course from the Bureau of Land Management. He said the course was already marked off by Folks. The Tonopah Town Board approved the race in March of this year and it was a unanimous 5-0 vote approval. The town board is banking on Best in the Desert filling the town like they did during the 20th anniversary Vegas to Reno race last year, where thousands of off-road racers filled the town.

Climate better for Tonopah

Bob Perchetti, owner of the Clown Motel, said this was not the first race Tonopah has had.

“Back in the 80s, Casey Folks came out and did the Tonopah 300,” Perchetti said. “It was so cold that year and a foot of snow hit the ground during the race. Folks told me if it was going to be this cold, he wasn’t going to come back.”

Perchetti said that now they are back the people in Tonopah love it.

“It will be a big day for the service stations and hotels,” he said. “We are full and the gas stations will gas up a lot of vehicles. We will also probably run out of things like ice. It will be busy here. I told the county commissioners and the town board, that these racers are great for the town and let them keep coming back.”

Tonopah Town Board Chairman Duane Downing said the board is in favor of any event that brings people to the town.

“This event increases business in our town,” Downing said. “It’s hard to get a tangible figure, but it definitely is a positive thing for the town. We look at any type of event where we know people will be coming in and spending money at the gas stations, hotels, convenience stores, and that’s positive.”

The only negative that Downing came up with was the parking for RVs in town.

“We don’t have enough RV parking in town, which means people will be dry camping. If events like this keep coming, it may promote new parking construction,” Downing said.

Last year, Times-Bonanza reporter David Jacobs said that when Vegas to Reno came last year, the people were camping wherever they could.

He said, “On Aug. 19 and 20 … While in Tonopah, they camped out outside Tonopah High School, at the Joe Friel Sports Complex, along Main Street and other open spots. Racers arrived in Tonopah on Aug. 19 and left Aug. 20 for the Reno region.” Contact sports editor Vern Hee at vhee@tonopahtimes.com