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By: Robert Janis

Best in the Desert Racing Association
The Desert’s Best

Have you ever wondered who the best desert racer is? You can follow the results and participate in races of the "Best in the Desert Racing Association" and find out. Who knows, it could be you.

Casey Folks, the current director of "Best in the Desert," started the organization in 1984 as a motorcycle-only group. ATVs became a part of the organization in 1996 with the first running of the Vegas to Reno race. “The event was originally run in 1982, ‘83 and ‘84 under another organization called HDRA and the name of the race was the 'Frontier 500,'” said Folks. “I raced all three of those races on a motorcycle. Later I resurrected the event under "Best in the Desert" as the promoter and changed the name to ‘Vegas to Reno.’”

The purpose of the "Best in the Desert Racing Association" is to create the best, most professional, fair, and safe run off-road races, explained Folks. The group sanctions and produces only desert races.

Events include: Epic Racing Products Parker 250; Bluewater Resort and Casino Parker 425; Kawasaki Team Green Laughlin U.S. Hare Scrambles; Motion Pro Nevada 200 Trail Ride; Terrible’s Town 250; Bluewater Grand Prix; TSCO Vegas to Reno; Nevada Rally Experience; Las Vegas 300; Gold West Cycle AVI 150 U.S. Championship Quad and UTV Race; and the Henderson’s Terrible 400. Out of this group of events, six permit ATV (called quads) racers to participate. According to Folks, an average of 55 to 60 quads participate in the quad events. Out of that about two or three are women, added Folks.

Since the races take place on public land, the "Best in the Desert" has to obtain a variety of permits from Nevada state government agencies. For example, they have to get permits from the Nevada Highway Patrol and the Nevada Department of Transportation. For the Vegas to Reno event they have to get permits also from five different counties and permission to race on the land from private property owners. And each site has to meet certain criteria set down by the "Best in the Desert."

"'Best in the Desert' personnel are planning out events a year prior to the schedule of the event," said Folks. According to Folks, there is a lot of logistics involved in laying out the course, getting the necessary permits, promoting the event as well as other manners. There are 11 Best of the Desert officials who are involved in overseeing events. The director is the chief executive officer and is responsible for the conduct of all business transactions and race events. All other officials report directly to the director. The Chief Steward shares the responsibility for the on-course conduct of all racing events. The race official is the organization’s on-site official at all race events. The course marshals assist the chief steward in on-course conduct of a racing event. The chief technical inspector directs the inspection of entrant’s vehicles before and after the race to assure that the vehicle complies with the rules.

The assistant chief technical inspector performs the duties of the chief technical inspector if he is not available. The scoring director oversees the timing and scoring of each racing event. The communications director directs the radio communications network operations of a racing event. The checkpoint captain directs the operation of the checkpoints. The paved road crossing captain is responsible for the operation of the paved road crossing and the immediate area around the paved road crossing. The pit stop captain is responsible for the operation of the pit stops. The starter starts an event by displaying the appropriate flag and/or lights.

Since large distances are traveled during each race, each racer or racing team must have a pit crew that travels to different locations of the course to provide any necessary maintenance to the ATV. The racer or racing team communicates with their pit crew via radio.

Although there is no age limit on who can race, Folks pointed out that participation depends on the racer’s experience. "'Best in the Desert' stewards make that decision,” said Folks.

There are three race classes under the Quad category: Professional Class, Expert Class, and Amateur Class. All quad classes are open. This means that there is unlimited displacement, unlimited frame size, unlimited wheel size, and unlimited suspension. All quad classes are non-age group classes.

Racers must be a member of the "Best of the Desert" to participate. Entry fees vary by event. For example, the entry fee for the Vegas to Reno race is $975, and the fee for the AVI 150 is $475.

According to Folks, about 4,000 spectators on an average attend the quad events. Special spectator areas are constructed and designated and are in a controlled environment.

The association has a website (www.bitd.com). The site offers racing news and updates including event schedules, standings, and points. It also offers stories about the racers who participate in the "Best of the Desert" events, anecdotes written by pit crew members, rules and regulations, and links to desert racing-related websites.

Companies that sponsor the "Best in the Desert Racing Association" include Ford, Maxxis, VP Racing Fuels, Donahoe Racing, KC HiLiTES, Honda, Kawasaki, Sportsman Cycle Sales, Tube Specialties Company (TSCO), Epic, Golden West Cycle, Suncoast, South Coast, Kodak, AVI Resort & Casino, Blue Water Resort & Casino, Destination Henderson Nevada, and International Racing Consultants (IRC).

2007 Race Schedule

March 30, 31, April 1, 2007
Motion Pro Nevada 200 Trail Ride

April 27, 28, 29, 2007
Terrible’s Town 250

May 18, 19, 20, 2007
Blue Water Grand Prix

August 23, 24, 25, 2007
TSCO Vegas to Reno

September 14, 15, 16, 2007
Nevada Rally Experience

October 5,6,7, 2007
Las Vegas 300

November 2,3,4, 2007
Golden West Cycle AVI 150 U.S. Championship Quad & UTV Race

November 30, December 1,2, 2007


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