Jun 27, 2023

2023 Vegas To Reno Results

The 27th running of the Casey Folks Vegas To Reno, the opening round of Best In The Desert’s American Off-Road Racing Series, August 19-20, came down to the wire after 500-plus miles of unpredictable racing. With some of off-road’s biggest names—like Skyler Howes and Ricky Brabec—not in attendance, the door was wide open for a new team to stake their claim and win the prestigious Vegas To Reno for the first time.

Best In The Desert’s flagship race, known as one of America’s longest and fastest single-day off-road races in the country, started its journey through the Nevada desert about one hour outside of Las Vegas, Nevada, in Amargosa Valley and trekked 521 miles north through the countryside to Dayton, Nevada.

After a successful running last year, the BITD crew brought all the Pro motorcycle classes, not just Open Pro riders, to Wednesday’s Time Trials to determine a start order for Friday’s main race. The 10-mile loop situated at the start line in Amargosa Valley saw Clayton Roberts (N7) throw down the fastest time, followed by Trevor Hunter (N1) and Luke Reynolds (N4), all three of which were the perennial favorites thought to be fighting for the win on race day.

Per usual, the N7 bike left the start line at 5:45 a.m. with just enough light to see through the wide-open desert. Through the first 50 miles, the lead bike had used the low light and hanging dust to their advantage, pulling nearly a minute on physical time ahead of the rest of the field while most remained intact with their start gaps of one minute. Just past pit one, the N4 team on the Desert Ready Mix/AEO Powersports Husqvarna misjudged a high-speed corner, hitting the deck and ultimately ending their day early.

As the early miles clicked off, the N7 Cooper Motorsports GasGas trio of Roberts, Shane Logan and Danny Cooper built a sizable gap from pit to pit. Sitting comfortably in second, the N1 duo of Hayden Hintz and Hunter, piloting the Dirt Bike Test/Prairie Dogs MC/1-800-Dent-Doc backed Honda CRF450X, struggled with a clogged air filter and brake issues, losing valuable time to the leaders in the faster sections of the race course as their bike went down on power.

Around the halfway point, the N1 team performed a lengthy maintenance pitstop to change the rear wheel and fix their plaguing air filter/brake problems. Once back on the road, the gap to first grew to its max at nearly 10 minutes. However, in the closing 200 miles, the momentum started to switch as the N1 Honda team found momentum late and started pulling back time on the distant leaders out front. At each pit, the time gap shrank, and the race livened up as it closed in on the final miles of the race.

It’s not often you see a 500-plus mile, nearly nine-hour-long race come down to minutes and seconds, but the two Pro teams at the front did exactly that. Just a few miles from the finish line, the gap had shrunk to about one mile, or 60 seconds at BITD speeds, with the Honda team closing in. An unpredicted rainstorm over the mountains surrounding the finish saw a deluge of rain flood the rocky mountain roads, leaving slick rock and mud bogs as additional obstacles for the racers to overcome. Unfortunately for the N1 team, a brief mishap with a mudhole saw them lose valuable time to the leaders, giving the Cooper Motorsports team some breathing room to cross the finish line in 8:46:42, one minute and six seconds ahead of the Honda team on adjusted time. However, some infractions during the race forced a time penalty on the Cooper Motorsports squad, relegating them back to second overall on the day behind the Hintz/Hunter duo.

While the race at the front of the pack was a nail-biter, the battle for the final podium position was no different. Mike Baxter’s Alpine Signs/Carson City Motorsports team fought to the end with Jesse Canepa’s Primo Racing team, with Baxter’s trio topping Canepa’s team by less than a minute, finishing in 9:19:18.

Other notable finishers include fifth overall and 30-Plus Pro winner Gregory Pheasant/Willy Heiss, first Ironman Pro Zach Myers, and the first Expert team of Kody Moutafidis/Wyatt Brittner.

Trevor Hunter

Trevor Hunter chases down the leaders during BITD’s Vegas To Reno.The winning team of Hunter and Hintz.The Danny Cooper/Clayton Roberts/Shane Logan trio came close to winning but had to settle for second place.Zach Myers was the first Pro Ironman rider.The Kody Moutafidis/Wyatt Brittner team won the Expert division.