The tradition of off-road racing in Parker continues with the Tensor Tire Parker 250 this weekend, Feb. 19 and 20. There will be two major races during this event. The first will be on Saturday morning, Feb. 20 and will feature motorcycles and quads. The second will be that afternoon, and it will feature utility terrain vehicles (UTVs).
In addition, there will be youth UTV races, and contingency and technical inspection will be in downtown Parker. They will be held during a street fair, the Downtown Experience.
Off-road racing in Parker dates back to the early 1970s, the early years of the sport. They were run for many years by Short Course Off-Road Enthusiasts (SCORE) International. They are now run by Las Vegas-based Best in the Desert Racing Association.
Perhaps the most notable development in recent years for this race has been the rapid growth of UTV racing. Ten to 15 years ago, when UTVs were first being introduced, there were only a handful of UTVs participating. In 2020, more UTVs participated than quads and motorcycles combined. They also posted times comparable to the best of the motorcycles and quads.
Please be aware there are some notable changes for this year’s race from races in years past. Due to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, lands held by the Colorado River Indian Tribes have been closed to racing. This means the starting line, main pit area, and Parker Python, which are located on Tribal land behind Avi Suquilla Airport, will not be used.
The starting line and main pit area have been moved to a location off Shea Road outside of Parker on land held by the Bureau of Land Management. This is close to where the Parker off-road races started in the old days when SCORE ran the races.
In previous years, contingency and technical inspection were held at the BlueWater Resort & Casino. However, the coronavirus pandemic has put the BlueWater, a Tribal enterprise, on a limited opening. All special events have been cancelled until further notice. As a result, contingency and technical inspection will be held in downtown Parker on Feb. 19.
Contingency and technical inspection will be held at the same time as the Downtown Experience, a street fair sponsored by the Parker Regional Chamber of Commerce & Tourism. It runs from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 19. There will be vendors selling food, merchandise and racing gear.
The big races themselves will be held on Saturday, Feb. 20, with the starting line at the previously mentioned location off Shea Road. The motorcycles and quads will begin staging at 7 a.m. and set out at 7:30 a.m. The UTVs will begin staging at 12:15 p.m. and set out at 1 p.m.
Youth UTV races have also been scheduled for Friday, Feb. 19. The first will feature the 170 Stock, 170 Limited Stock, and 250 Modified classes. Staging will be at 12 noon with the race starting at 1 p.m. The race will run 35 minutes.
The second Youth UTV race will be for the 570 Stock, 570 Modified, 800 Modified and 1000/RS1 Stock classes. Staging will begin at 2 p.m. and the race will start at 3 p.m. Again, it will run for 35 minutes.
The youth races have become popular for a couple of reasons. First, they feature the next generation of the sport of off-road racing. They are also popular because they are on a short course with continuous action and no long periods of no vehicles passing by.
The youth races will start and finish at the same location of the start and finish for the Saturday races off Shea Road. The course will be about 1 to 3 miles long.
While on BLM land, all individuals involved with the race, including racers, pit crews, officials and spectators, will be required to follow the BLM’s rules and guidelines regarding the coronavirus pandemic. They will be required to wear face masks at all times, and they must follow social distancing guidelines. Those who fail to follow these rules and guidelines will be asked to leave.
Best in the Desert reminds everyone to follow all posted rules if they want the races in Parker to continue. They are also reminded to clean up their campsites if they are camping, and to take out their trash when they leave.
“With the BLM, La Paz County, Town of Parker and the State of Arizona watching us closely, it is very important you follow all rules and not be ‘that person’ who makes it difficult for the rest of us to continue racing in Parker,” BITD’s Jeff Phillips said on their website. “Keep in mind, Best in the Desert does not care what your name is, who your sponsor is or how much money you have! Our goals are simple: be fair to all entrants, offer a safe race, and most importantly, do our best to make this a fun weekend.”
Schedule of Events for Parker 250
Friday, Feb. 19
Downtown Experience, Technical Inspection and Contingency
8 a.m. to 6 p.m. in downtown Parker
Driver Registration, Parker Community/Senior Center, 12th Street and Laguna Avenue
8 a.m. to 10 a.m., Youth UTV
10 a.m. to 1 p.m., UTV Turbo/UTV Production
1 p.m. to 3 p.m., UTV Unlimited, UTV Sportsman
3 p.m. to 5 p.m., All Motorcycles and Quads
5 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., Late entries
First race: 170 Stock, 170 Limited Stock, and 250 modified
12 Noon, Staging at starting line
12:30 p.m., Parade Lap
1 p.m., Youth race starts, 35 minutes plus one lap
Second race: 570 Stock, 570 Modified, 800 Modified, 1000/RS1 Stock
2 p.m., Staging at starting line
2:30 p.m., Parade Lap
3 p.m., Youth race starts, 35 minutes plus one lap
Saturday, Feb. 20
First race: Motorcycles and Quads
7 a.m., Motorcycle/Quad Staging at Start Line
7:30 a.m., Motorcycle/Quad Race starts
Second race: UTVs
12:15 p.m., UTV staging at starting line
1 p.m., UTV race starts
Due to restrictions on public gatherings due to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, there will be no awards ceremony. Plaques and other awards will be mailed to the winners.
Spectator rules for the Parker 250.
There is (1) spectator area for the race and it is located on the designated side of Shea Road. The following are prohibited:
1. Camping in any area outside the designated spectator areas.
2. Parking, stopping, or standing any vehicle outside of the designated spectator areas.
3. Failure to keep your site free of trash and litter during the period of occupancy or failing to remove all personal equipment, trash, and litter upon departure.
For your safety and to protect the desert environment persons MUST NOT:
1. Cut or collect firewood of any kind, including dead and down wood or other vegetative material.
2. Possess, discharge, or use firearms, other weapons, or fireworks on Friday & Saturday Feb 19& 20.
3. Sell, give, or otherwise provide any alcoholic beverage to a person that has not reached the age of 21 years.
4. Be in possession of any alcoholic beverage unless that person has reached the age of 21 years.
5. Violate quiet hours by causing an unreasonable noise as determined by the authorized officer between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. Arizona time.
6. Allow any pet or other animal in their care to be unrestrained at any time.
7. Operate any vehicle, including an off-highway vehicle, which is not legally registered for street and highway operation, including operation of such a vehicle in spectator viewing areas, along the racecourse, and in designated pit areas.
8. Park any vehicle in violation of posted restrictions, or in such a manner as to obstruct or impede normal or emergency traffic movement or the parking of other vehicles, create a safety hazard, or endanger any person, property or feature. Vehicles so parked are subject to removal and impoundment at the owner’s expense.
9. NO ATV’s, motorcycles, bicycles and/or UTV’s are allowed to be ridden in any spectator area
10. Spectators will be required to wear a face mask at all times during the duration for the event.