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Record number of drivers turns out for Vegas to Reno

The 24th Annual Maxxis Tires Casey Folks Vegas to Reno Presented by Fox entered the record books as the largest, best paid, most rewarding and certainly most challenging Vegas to Reno event ever held.

Best In The Desert held its 24th annual “longest off-road race in the United States” this past week, and thanks to organizers, sponsors and respectful attendees, the event went down without issue despite being under tight restrictions because of the COVID-19 pandemic. A record number of racers turned up to compete, and everyone complied with safety protocols including random temperature checks beforehand, wearing masks on site and practicing social distancing.

A record 394 vehicles turned up to race, including 34 Trick Trucks and 38 Class 6100 trucks, 53 UTV Turbo Pros and a staggering 111 UTVs spread across various classes. Entries were up in every class, with the motorcycle division showing a huge turnout.

The 514-mile point-to-point course saw some new challenges including a new starting area in Amargosa Valley, some completely new sections and other routes that haven’t been raced in years on the way up to Dayton.

But that didn’t stop Bryce Menzie from defending his 2019 championship, winning overall with a blistering time of 7:48:00, beating Kevin Thompson by approximately 8:45. Luke McMillin, Jason Voss, Andy McMillin, Steve Sourapas, Eric Hustead, Cameron Steele, Rob MacCachren and Adam Householder rounded out the top 10 for Trick Trucks. Ray Griffith won Class 6100 in 8:46:01, barely 4:35 ahead of Ryan Hancock and Jax Redline.

The UTV Turbo Class was one of the most tightly contested classes of the day with a little under 4 minutes separating first place from third. Once again, Can-Am’s Phil Blurton and Beau Judge took the win in a time of 9:52:26, followed by Polaris driver Mitch Guthrie in second place in 9:55:21 and Dustin Jones driving another Can-Am in third at 9:56:11.

Polaris driver Seth Quintero once again won the UTV Production class with a time of 10:34:39 followed by Kolton Hustead and Kristen Matlock. Wes Miller won the UTV Unlimited Class in 10:44:15.

Reigning Dakar champ Ricky Brabec, riding for JCR Honda Racing, came home with the overall motorcycle win, riding solo with a time of 7:53:54 giving him the second-fastest time overall.

Brabec had a tough battle going head to head with defending champ Skyler Howes for most of the race. Howes, however, crashed hard near the finish. Brabec stopped to assist, but Howes’ day ended, while Nic Garvin, who also put in an incredible solo ride, ended up finishing second place overall. Third overall for Open Pro MC went to Nic Colangeli.

Other notable Class winners include Danny Magdaleno in the Quad Pro Class, Jake Johnson in Class 1500, Jared Teague in Class 1000 and Felicia Webb, who led the team in the Women’s MC Class. The closest battle of the day was in Ironman Pro where Jason Alosi beat Zach Myers by 18 seconds.

“I can’t thank the volunteers enough for all their help and support for making this event happen, especially with the new COVID-19 mitigation plans,” said Donald Jackson, Best In The Desert operations manager. “Without all these wonderful people dedicating their time to the sport we love, this event would not have been possible. They truly are extraordinary people who would do anything to keep the sport of off-road desert racing alive.

“A huge thank you to the Bureau of Land Management for putting their faith in us to pull off this event in current circumstances.”

As the second race in the Maxxis Tires Triple Crown, there was an additional $67,000 in prize money. Menzie took home a $25,000 bonus, Griffith got $7,500, Blurton a $7,500 bonus and Brabec an additional $3,500. Bonuses in the Maxxis Tires Triple Crown include $40,000 for the Unlimited Car and Truck Class, $11,000 for the Limited Car and Truck Class, $11,000 for the top UTVs and $5,000 for the Pro Motorcycle/Quad Class.

This money all comes on top of the normal Best In The Desert prize money, meaning that more than $100,000 was paid out to racers this past weekend making this the richest Vegas to Reno event ever run.

Results will also count towards the year-end Best In The Desert Series Class Championships, Maxxis Triple Crown Championships and the all-new Adventure Series that started with the recent Silver State 300 and includes the rest of this year’s races.

The next event on the Best In The Desert series calendar is the Jagged X National Desert Cup Presented by Quantum Motorsports on Sept 25-27.

The event is the cornerstone of the Best In The Desert Racing Association Series and was first organized by founder Casey Folks in 1996. Besides being the longest off-road race in the United States and the largest single-day off-road event in North America, it was also recently voted one of the Top 10 Motorsports events in the United States by a USA Today readers poll.

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