BITD Vegas to Reno UTV Race – RECAP & RESULTS

| August 26, 2009 | 6 Comments

2009 Vegas to Reno - The Long WayWell, should we say amazing! What a spectacular three days of racing! I don’t know of another race that this can be compared to…day after day these drivers had to climb into the drivers seat and put on another 300+ miles across the Nevada desert. These vehicles had to withstand the beating of rocks, silt, cliffs, ruts, extreme heat and driver exhaustion.

We apologize for the “not so live” coverage. The Nevada desert is just like the moon, and there was no getting Internet access the entire time. You want to experience a natural disaster…try taking Internet and cell phone coverage away from over 1000 people for three days and look around! It certainly was classic! So, let me attempt to recreate the excitement of this exceptional race!

With pride I am announcing that nine UTV’s started this adventure and four finished!  An amazing feat!  To boast, the four UTV’s starting on the third day all crossed the finish line including two Polaris RZRs, one Arctic Cat Prowler, and one Kawasaki Teryx.  Brandon Schueler and Jim Creagan were the only two cars in the class to finish all three days totaling 996 miles, which is an every bigger accomplishment. What makes it even more exciting is just over 15 minutes separated the two after three days of racing.

vegastoreno2009-423The Best In The Desert (BITD) Vegas to Reno the Long Way is the longest point-to-point race in the US.  Casey Folks from BITD invented this race to test man and machine to the finish line 3 days in a row.  Each team leaves the start line early in the morning and attempts to make it to the finish every day.  They then have one hour in the “work area” to service and repair the vehicle, fuel it, load the GPS etc and then check it into impound for the night.  The next morning they get to walk to their vehicle and are only allowed to warm it up before they line up for the start and do it all over again.  It is possible to DNF on Day 1 OR Day 2 and still start Day 3 for the finish as the race is not only about finishing order but adjusted time.

The UTV’s ran just behind the motorcycles and ATV’s and had about a two hour head start on the Trophy Trucks and Class One Cars.  On Day 1 all nine cars pulled up to the staging area at 5:30am in Beatty, NV and anxiously waited for the green light.  I ran into 1902 Sappington at the first pit where he was already wrenching…he had blown a head gasket and warped his heads.  But, he was already buttoning up the machine to race again as I was leaving!  The heat was a constant pull on the vehicles reaching temperatures in the triple digits.  1909 Perret had a blown header pipe on the exhaust, and 1924 Lasher DNF’d the day with a blown up engine.  Five vehicles crossed the finish line on Day 1 to hit the work area where Lasher had already been working on the engine swap.  1919 Schueler crossed the finish line in Tonopah, NV first, but took an 1:20 minutes in the work area getting all of the issues worked out of the car to have a successful second day. 1947 Creagan crossed the finish line 2nd, but took less than an hour in the work area, so after adjusted time came out first on Day 1.  1912 Cook was the last to cross the finish line after 11pm and I saw him cranking away in the pits getting ready to stage for Day 2.

Day One – Beatty to Tonopah

At 5:30am on Friday morning I felt like I was at Glamis on a holiday weekend!  The roar of the four strokes was exhilarating!  There was about a 2 mile parade of bikes and UTV’s to the start line in Tonopah, NV getting ready for the 368 miles that had to be accomplished.  Two more vehicles ended up on the trailers on Day 2: 1912 Cook had several belt failures, clutch problems and ended it with a stator failure.  1902 Sappington had more engine problems and continually struggled with swapping parts, but eventually timed out.  1924 Lasher’s new engine was running, but certainly not at optimum performance.  The night before I had been there when they were talking about jetting and had decided to run it rich…better than lean.  But that decision also led to jetting and intake issues which gave them less than 100% for all of Day 2 & 3.  Once again 1919 crossed the finish line first in Hawthorne, NV with Van de Loo in the driver’s seat.  The Schueler team had a broken a-arm bolt that plagued them on Day 1 and again on Day 2, plus they had three flat tires.  They do run Tire Balls, but decided to play it safe and take the time to swap out the wheel at the next pit.  1947 Creagan followed Schueler close behind to finish second.  Creagan had fuel pump issues around pit 5, as did many vehicles throughout the 3 day race due to extreme heat.

Day Two – Tonopah to Hawthorne

Now comes heart.  Now comes dedication.  Now comes true sportsmanship and downright getting it done!  Day 3 from Hawthorne, NV to the ultimate finish line in Dayton, NV was another 298 miles away.  Only four vehicles qualified to start for this epic day of racing!  Schueler, Creagan, Lasher staged at 5:30 AM and were off into the desert not long after sunrise.  Perret and showed up a bit late, but in time to make it before the cutoff. Schueler had a practically perfect day, and crossed the finish line first for the third day straight!  Now that is something to brag about! Creagan’s tracker hadn’t worked since pit 5 the day before, so many didn’t even think that he had started, yet he crossed the finish line in second place just two minutes behind Schueler.  1924 Lasher had overcome a blown steering rack around pit 6 and a coolant leak just after pit 7, but successfully rolled across the finish line to take third for the day.  The story comes from 1909 Perret who rolled his RZR after pit 2, uprighted it and drove on a blown shock.  With multiple tire problems, he drove 20 miles on a front tire flat to the finish.  Perret finished only :30 seconds behind Lasher.

Day Three – Hawthorne to Dayton

What a race!  The final adjusted time results put Schueler’s RZR only 15 minutes ahead of Creagan’s Arctic Cat.  Imagine keeping the race that close for three days straight!  Perret ended up finishing third, and Lasher was only 5 minutes behind him after the adjusted time and took forth place.  The finish line was fun to watch as the exhausted and dirty boys smiled and showed their white teeth in accomplishment!

I don’t know if there is a race that can compare to this.  We talk about the Baja 1000 and yes, it is the same mileage, but it is all done in one day in November.  This is the Nevada desert in August…reaching triple digits where the drivers only have some 300 miles to go, but they have to get up and do it over and over again.  The adrenaline wears down, the challenges become greater, and the true test of succeeding has to surrender to pure exhaustion.  The four teams that finished represent that solid class of racers.  Congratulations from UTV, we were proud to watch each of you!


Awards Brandon Schueler Interview

Awards Jim Creagan Interview

Jagged X Wins UTV Class at Vegas to Reno - The Long Way

Jagged X Wins UTV Class at Vegas to Reno - The Long Way

Jagged X Polaris RZR S

Jagged X Polaris RZR S

1919 Jagged X  (Polaris RZR S) Wins the UTV class!

1947 Bi-Polar Racing - Arctic Cat Prowler 1000

1947 Bi-Polar Racing - Arctic Cat Prowler 1000

1947 Bi-Polar Racing (Arctic Cat Prowler 1000) takes second.

1909 Perret  - Polaris RZR

1909 Perret - Polaris RZR

1909 Perret Motorsports (Polaris RZR) takes third

1924 Lasher Motorsports - Kawasaki Teryx

1924 Lasher Motorsports - Kawasaki Teryx

1924 Lasher Motorports (Kawasaki Teryx) takes fourth

Overall   Veh #  Name                     Class    Day1            Day2         Day3           Total Time

1              1919     Schueler, Brandon        1        10:36:42      11:49:30     08:03:08     30:29:20.773

2              1947    Creagan, Jim                  2       10:32:38      12:06:19     08:05:38      30:44:36.664

3              1909    Perret, Pierre                  3      12:05:55       15:30:00    11:28:02       39:03:58.008

4              1924    Lasher, Michael             4       14:15:00       13:25:52    11:27:30        39:08:23.718

5              1948     Cresap, Tabor                5       11:57:33       15:30:00    14:15:00       41:42:33.180

6              1903    Palhegyi, Ron                  6       14:15:00     15:30:00     14:15:00       44:00:00.000

7               1916    Lindsay, Mark                 7       14:15:00     15:30:00     14:15:00       44:00:00.000

8               1902    Sappington, Cory          8       14:15:00     15:30:00     14:15:00       44:00:00.000

9               1912    Cook, Mike                       9      16:19:19      15:30:00     14:15:00       46:04:19.711

* 14:15:00 is the DNF time allocated for Day 1

* 15:30:00 is the DNF time allocated for Day 2

* 14:15:00 is the DNF time allocated for Day 3


9/20/09 6:35am – Jon Crowley has been on the starting line since 5:30 this morning keeping track of the teams and the starting order.  There are 9 UTVs in line and ready. 2 Prowlers, 1 Teryx, 2 Rhinos and 4 RZRs. Last year’s V2R winner, 1919 Jagged X is ready.

I ran into team 1910 in the parking lot last night.  They were calling the race due to a fuel regulator issue.  They were headed back to Merced, CA.

They are getting ready to start in about 15 minutes!



Line up

Line up

Jon is chasing for Lasher Motorsports

Jon is chasing for Lasher Motorsports

9/19/09 5:35pm :

WOW What a GREAT day on the 120 degree asphalt of the Sunset Station Hotel!!  I had a great time talking to some of the UTV teams and checking in with them on their strategies for this race.  There is a lot of awesome vehicles that rolled by UTV’s and others!

I did get some interviews with some of the drivers and some special guests including Ivan Stewart!  Mike Lasher stopped by from Lasher Motorsports and Brandon Schueler of the Jagged X team talked to us about their race strategy too.  Basically Ivan says it all.

Keep coming back as we will start with race coverage tomorrow, and stay tuned … there is a lot more to come!


Interview with Mike Lasher #1924 BITD Race Vegas to Reno the Long Way

Interview with Brandon Schueler #1919 BITD Race Vegas to Reno the Long Way

Interview with Casey Folks Originator of the Vegas to Reno the Long Way Race

Interview with Ivan Stewart about this Epic Race

9/19/09 4pm: Contingency is just about done.  here are a few more shots.

9/19/09 12:25: Cool Polaris Ranger XP “Crew” from Marshall Motorart in contingency.

Vegas To Reno - Polaris RANGER

Vegas To Reno - Polaris RANGER

9/19/09 12:20: Cool Ranger Crew rolling through contingency.

Vegas To Reno - Polaris Ranger Crew

Vegas To Reno - Polaris Ranger Crew

9/19/09 Noon: Lasher’s team is registered and ready for contingency.

9/19/09:7:15am: Lasher’s crew is up and changing tires on the Teryx. Hitting the car wash in a few then off to contingency.

Lasher Motorsports - Kawasaki Teryx

Lasher Motorsports - Kawasaki Teryx

8/19/09: 6:45am: As Charlene mentioned, I rolled in to Henderson last night.  Parked and went straight to Hooters for a few beers. After the 10 hour drive from northern California, they hit the spot.  Plan to get out with the camera soon. and get some shots.  Back in a while.

– Jon

8/18/09  11:30pm:  I took a few minutes and ran over to contingency and checked out the layout.  Lots of great companies!  Then I worked my way over to the camping area where I found the Bi-Polar Arctic Cat racing team in full force as always.  They have been severly challenged by this race so far, but are planning on taking it like they did the Baja 1000 last November and go for the consistant win.

Jon showed up and not long after Mike and the gang showed up from Lasher Motorsports including Wally from America’s Adventure Tours.  Lasher and the crew is ready to roll.  They tested this morning outside of Barstow and had some good practice time.  With some adjustments to the Fox Shocks they made their ride even that much better.

We will be hanging out at Contengency tomorrow.  Check back tomorrow for pictures and fun stories from the day!  Or follow us live on where we will be talking to all the drivers as they pass by…


8/18/09  6:00pm:  Well, I have made it to Henderson, NV.  I got picked up from the house around 6:45am and have been sitting like a Queen at her Throne at the dinette of the motorhome typing away all day!  I love the fact that I finally didn’t have to drive and got to work!  Thanks Wayne!!

jon1I checked in with a couple of the UTV race teams…Lasher Motorsports is almost here and Jagged X is already loaded and ready to head out in the morning.  On our brief circle of the camping area I did see the Arctic Cat tents of the Creagans.

The laughing matter, which isn’t such a laughing matter to most of these UTV drivers, is they go off the line after the motorcycles and quads.  This is normal for a BITD race, but usually those are the only classes.  In this race, the big trucks will be heading out right after the UTV’s … it will be fun to listen to the drivers talk about how it was to be passed by a Class 1 Car!  I know I wouldn’t want to be in that position!

Jon checked in and he is still about two hours out.  He did send in a picture from his phone of a F150 SVT race Raptor truck being pulled by a Raptor Truck that passed him on the freeway that sure looked like the one we just posted news about.  Now that is cool!

I am going to head off to the pits and see who all is here and get a couple of pictures.  May be back tonight…or in the morning!


8/17/09:  “Live” Coverage of Vegas to Reno The Long Way will be available here on UTV starting Wednesday at Contingency, Thursday-Saturday through the pits and nightly updates, and wrapping it all up in Reno at the Awards Ceremony on Sunday.

If you are unfamiliar with this race, let me give you a tad bit of information and then you can go to for more…  This is the race of a lifetime.  It is the longest point-to-point race in the US and I have a feeling it may be the last running of it (please participate in our land use efforts!)  With almost 1000 miles for these vehicles and drivers to manhandle over a 3 day period, it is a true test of man and machine!

The course starts us off in Las Vegas for contingency on Wednesday, and then we head to the starting line for a 5:45am Thursday staging of the UTV’s in Beatty, NV.  Day one consists of 332 miles ending up at Tonopah, NV for the night.  Day two consists of 367 miles moving across the Nevada desert from Tonopah to Hawthorne, NV.  For those that make it to day three, we start off in Hawthorne, NV and finish in Dayton, NV after another 297 miles on the course.  Once across the finish line, we head to the showers in Reno, NV and to the Awards ceremony that will be on Sunday Morning.  On a finishing note, a vehicle may DNF one of the first two days, but they must start day three in order to be eligible for a finish. Another key to this race is that racers and pit crews only have so much time every night to work on the vehicle before it is impounded for the night.  See why I am calling this a race of a lifetime…it will be exceptional to watch every aspect of this race!

So let me define “live” for you.  If you have ever thought of what the moon looks like, I am sure it is similar to the Nevada desert!  Please be patient with us…we are assuming right now that we will have NO internet or cell service for a majority of the day, but we will be able to post updates nightly.  I am working with a group that may help us step up the coverage to post during the day, but I can’t guarantee it yet.  PLEASE bookmark this page and come back regularly as we will try OUR HARDEST to get the information up as soon as possible!

Jon and I will be posting onto this one page, so you may end up needing to scroll down to get to where you left off the last time…we will be in different places so we will have different info and pictures.  You will note that I have the date at the top of this post, we will be dating and time stamping so you can keep track.  Jon will be running with Lasher Motorsports and specifically covering the UTV portion of the race.  I will be sliding in and out of the UTV world as I will also be covering the new King of the Hammers Ultra4 class.

So are YOU ready? Here are the teams as posted by BITD on 8/14/09:

1902 Yamaha
Cory Sappington (44) Peoria, AZ,
Jeanette Sappington (43) Peoria, AZ,
Mathew T Seay (19) Sun City, AZ,
John Geiger () Peoria, AZ,
Desert Toyz

1903 Yamaha
Ron Palhegyi (65) Sonora, CA,
Ron Sewell (45) Sonora, CA,
Dan Palhegyi (37) Folsom, CA,
David Estrada (32) Pioneer, CA,
Fabtech, Rugged Race Products, OMF, Fox Racing, Palhegyi Design

1909 Polaris
Pierre Perret (23) Merced, CA,
Mark Cummings (22) Miraposa, CA,
Daniel Fontes (25) Merced, CA,
Kwik Komponents, Perret Farms, Modern Finish, Fireball Racing, Bill

1910 Polaris
Ricky Leard (29) Merced, CA,
Phillip Martin (20) Northridge, CA,
Richard Leard () Mariposa, CA,
N and S Tractor Co., Tower Works Fabricaiton, Atwater Electric, Victor Produce, Leardco, Kick Rockz Racing

1912 Polaris
Mike Cook (39) Peoria, AZ,
Bill Fain (37) Peoria, AZ,
John Stitt (36) Peoria, AZ,
Joe Conchola (30) Peoria, AZ,
Desert Toyz Motorsports, Cooks Commercial Glazing, Maxxis, OMF, Elka, Lucas Oil, PCI, Ride On

1916 Polaris
Mark Lindsay (47) Flagstaff, AZ,
Jason Spiess (29) Peoria, AZ,
Todd Douglas (44) Glendale, CA,
Polaris, Iron City Polaris, FST Fabrication, KASS, Desert West Outdoors, BSSand, Tireballs, King Shocks, REI Max, Lindsey group, Maxxis Tires, Vision X

1919 Polaris
Brandon Schueler (20) Peoria, AZ,
Chad Riccio (35) Avondale, AZ,
Mike West (41) Glendale, AZ,
Blake Van De Loo (42) Glendale, AZ,
Jagged X, Polaris, CR Designs, Elka, OMF, Vision X, Simpson, S&S Off-Road, MTA West, Robby Gordon Offroad, Tire Balls, ATL, Trophy Engineering, Fullbore

1924 Kawasaki
Michael Lasher (30) Riverside, CA,
Rick Wallace (54) Oakhills, CA,
Tim Orchard (54) Riverside, CA,
Pro Armor, Side X Side Outfitter, OMF Performance, CST, Fox Shox, Beard Seats, ITP, Kawasaki, K&N, Muzzys

1947 Arctic Cat
Jim Creagan (47) Yacolt, WA,
Aaron Bahner (35) Eden Prairie, MN,
Arctic Cat, Vision X Lighting, Greenball Tires

1948 Arctic Cat
Tabor Cresap (17) Yacolt, WA,
Sam Wasson (14) Hovark, WA,
Tim Waggoneer (37) Battleground, WA,
Kasey Squires (46) Battle Ground, WA,
Artic Cat, Vision X Ligthing, Green Ball Tires


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