Vern Hee: SNORE 250 invades Beatty

The Southern Nevada Off-Road Enthusiasts invaded Beatty on Saturday for the PCI Radio 250, and I have to say it was a well-organized race and a great show for all who saw it.

The race was two times around a 120-mile loop around the town of Beatty. The racers filled the town and took all the hotel rooms and RV places, according to the Beatty Chamber of Commerce. There were close to 100 racers in the race.

The overall winner of the race was Travis Chase (4 hours, 2 minutes, 25.11 seconds) of Glendale, California, driving his Unlimited truck. Second place overall was Fred Hatch (4:03:17.040) in his Class 10 vehicle and Jim Tucker (4:06:19.17) was third in his Class 1 vehicle.

A good spectator sport

Off-road racing is something else. I would recommend it to anyone to watch off-road cars and trucks in action. It is truly a sight to see a truck or car going 100-140 mph in the desert. This was my first SNORE race and it was nothing like the name implies. What I like about it is you can pretty much go into the desert and watch the race as long as you are beyond 50 feet from the course. You just have to know where the course is going and that is usually provided on the SNORE website.

No fighting traffic

It was an uneventful drive out to the Beatty 250. There were no traffic or ticket hassles like when you go to NASCAR. Also, I didn’t need a handicap placard to get a good spot. Not that I would ever do that. I basically had a reserved parking spot. Oh, and I didn’t pay for parking either. It was free to park in the Beatty desert. Of course, the government will change that.

Parking for this event was a no-brainer. I think I parked in the cactus section next to … all the other cactus bushes. The only thing I really disturbed was some jackrabbit and maybe a horned toad that was lying around.

I found a really secluded place thanks to my source for secluded places in Beatty, James Revert, owner of Revert Tire. He always tells me where to go, even when I don’t want his advice!

I found my spot and you know what? It was a reserved seat and I didn’t have to step over a crying kid or avoid sitting on someone’s spilled beer. And there was no one yelling in my ear or telling me “Down in front, please.”

It was a cool place to set up my chair on a small ridge that overlooked the course. While I sat, I dug through a pile of old cans that dated back to 1905 and were left there by some old miners, looking to get rich in the nearby town of Rhyolite. Of course, I didn’t take any of the cans because that would be a violation of the law. Besides, my wife doesn’t like me sifting through other people’s garbage and bringing it home.

Burros obstructing my view

I found the desert a good place to not think about the NFL and their problems with the national anthem. I took my photographer, Horace, just west of the town across from the old dump and found a place to watch the cars drive by. As I stood there watching the racers go by, some of the cars for a brief second pursued a herd of about 10 upset wild burros. It was a sight to see. You won’t see that at NASCAR.

I have been to a lot of Best in the Desert races and SNORE was just as good. The big difference was the intensity and the number of racers. But I don’t mean that in a bad way. Best in the Desert just does things differently; like they leap-frog the pit crews, which means the pit crews will rush ahead of the racers to be in position for the next pit stop. They discontinued this in SNORE for safety reasons.

A lot of families

The one thing about SNORE racing is you will see a lot of families involved. The majority of racers are garage racers, meaning they do all of the work on their vehicles themselves. The pit crews will be made up of family members too.

“I brought my entire family up here, my kids and my dogs,” racer Darryl Cygela said. “I do everything I can to get my kids and family out here. We go out to every race we can make it to.”

His dad raced street cars and Cygela got started in off-road racing doing motocross. But his true love is racing cars in off-road racing.

“It is something I can get my whole family into,” he said.

And Cygela made a good point, which is SNORE is a great place to get kids started in off-road racing.

Many of the great off-road racers, like Bob MacCachren, who has won the SCORE Baja 1000 three times in a row and will be going for another on Nov. 16, started off-road racing in SNORE.

When I really think about it, I like off-road racing because I can see myself doing this. I am sure you all have taken the family off-road vehicle out in the desert and when no one was watching just pushed the pedal to the metal and imagined yourself driving in the Baja 1000. Or am I the only one?

The next off-road race in Nye County is next week. It’s the VT Construction Tonopah 250. There will be above-average traffic on U.S. Highway 95 on Friday and Saturday of next week.

Contact sports editor Vern Hee at