The sections of the Parker 425 off-road race that were planned for land on the Colorado River Indian Tribes’ reservation have been cancelled. Best in the Desert Racing Association has announced the race will still take place, but it will all be on land held by the Bureau of Land Management.
BITD President Bryan Folks said other events associated with the race that take place within the Town of Parker, including contingency and the Downtown Experience street fair, will likely go on as scheduled.
The BlueWater Resort & Casino Parker 425 presented by Jimco will be run Jan. 13-16. The time trials will be Wednesday, Jan. 13. Contingency and Technical Inspection will be Thursday, Jan. 14. That is also the same day the Parker Regional Chamber of Commerce & Tourism has scheduled the Downtown Experience, a street fair and “show and shine” in downtown Parker.
The race itself will be held over two days. On Friday, Jan. 15, the two-lap and slower classes will run, while the faster classes, including the Trick Trucks, will run on Saturday, Jan. 16.
In a press release dated Dec. 29, the Tribes said they were cancelling the portion of the races on reservation land due to the recent increase in coronavirus cases among Tribal members. They noted Indian Health Services has reported 141 new cases between Dec. 1 and Dec. 27. In the same period, La Paz County reported 473 new cases, bringing the county’s total up to 1,347. A total of 33 county residents have died.
“The influx of thousands of racing spectators would drastically increase the number of COVID-19 cases on the CRIT Reservation when the pandemic is already reaching alarming numbers,” the Tribes’ press release stated.
The Tribes noted their “Stay at Home” resolution, No. 54-20, was re-instated Dec. 24. It sets a 10 p.m. to 5 p.m. curfew on Tribal lands, prohibits non-essential travel, cancels recreational activities, and prohibits gatherings of six or more people not in the same household. The order will remain in effect until at least Jan. 31.
Folks said BITD had been planning for the possibility the Tribes could go on lockdown again. He said they had made arrangements with the BLM to conduct the races entirely on BLM lands. He said the starting line, main pit area, and finish line will be on Shea Road above Osborne Wash. He said they would be in the area where the old Parker 400 had its starting and finish lines and pit areas.
One of the most popular spectating and camping areas, the Parker Python near Avi Suquilla Airport, is on Tribal land and will not be used this year. In the past, this had also been the main pit area.
The BLM has already given approval to holding the race on their land, Folks said.
Now that the reservation portions of the race have been cancelled, Folks said BITD is focusing their efforts at revising their plans. He said they should have maps and other information available sometime next week.