The “Vegas To Reno” off-road race was billed as the “Longest Off-Road Race in the United States,” and at 534 miles for the 2014 running of this event put on by the Best In The Desert (BITD) off-road racing organization, it certainly qualifies for that moniker. It’s also a tough one, with just 115 cars and trucks finishing of the 175 vehicles that started this year.
As in most racing events, starting on the pole is beneficial. However, in off-road racing, it’s extremely helpful as you can avoid the dust of other racers, and you don’t have the additional obstacle of passing so many cars on a thin ribbon of dirt road through dangerous desert terrain to move up . This race though, is also notorious for the winner coming from the back of the pack to take the win. Drivers such as Bryce Menzies, who had a bad qualifying run and ended up rolling, would be one starting in the back that could be that silent threat.
The race started northwest of Las Vegas in the old mining town of Beatty, Nevada. The course would work its way toward Reno, leading drivers across a desert torn by monsoon rains that plagued the area all summer causing some serious damage. As cautious drivers lined up to take the start, the thought of not knowing what exactly was ahead of them would run through their minds.
BFGoodrich Team driver Voss left the rest in his dust at 9:30 a.m. and didn’t miss a beat the entire day. It would be in Voss’ dust where the others would use every mile of the course to make up time on fellow competitors. Menzies started closing the gap from his rear start and made his way up to 7th on corrected time before his truck would have mechanical problems that would set him back again. His threat on the leaders would fade into the dust.
The race averaged speeds in the high 50’s; fast for a desert race. It took winner, Jason Voss 8 hours and 29 minutes to complete the race and with a 15 minute lead over second place. Dale Dondel finished second behind Voss, and Gary Weyrich would round out the podium in third, followed by Strobel, then Jones to complete the top five.
The top five finishers in the Best In the Desert Vegas To Reno, held Friday, August 15, 2014: ￼First, Jason Voss, Cupertino, California (8:29:28); Second, Dale Dondel, San Jacinto, California (8:44:09); Third, Gary Weyhrich, Troudale, Oregon (8:46:35); Fourth; Steve Strobel, Clarks, Nebraska (8:56:00); Fifth, Jesse Jones, Phoenix, Arizona (8:58:24).