The sights and sounds of off-road racing will fill the Parker area this weekend for the running of the BlueWater Resort & Casino/Best in the Desert Parker 425 presented by Impact. This event is one of the largest, oldest and most prestigious off-road racing events in the nation. It’s estimated the even draws 40,000 people to Parker.
The history of off-road racing in Parker goes back more than 45 years, to the very beginnings of the sport. It’s gone by different names and had different promoters and sanctioning bodies, but it has always attracted some of the top names in the sport. Since 2003, it’s been organized and promoted by Best in the Desert Racing Association of Las Vegas, Nev.
The race itself will be held this Saturday, Feb. 2. There will be two starts. The first, for the slower and two-lap classes, will be at 6 a.m. at the main pit area off Mohave Road, near the Parker Cemetery and behind Avi Suquilla Airport. The second will be at 1:30 p.m. on California Avenue in front of the Chamber of Commerce building. This start will feature the faster classes, including the Trick Trucks.
There are events surrounding the race you may be interested in. The Parker Area Alliance for Community Empowerment will be hosting the Parker Youth Off-Road Experience starting at 2 p.m. Jan. 30 at Pop Harvey Park. This event is intended to be more “kid friendly” than some other events in the area. Young people will have a chance to meet with off-road racers. The park is located at Agency Road and Mohave Avenue.
The Downtown Experience will start at 12 noon Thursday, Jan. 31 in downtown Parker. This street fair and “show and shine” has grown each year since it was introduced in 2010. It’s now one of the main events of the race weekend. Racers and their vehicles will be headed downtown following the time trials Thursday morning. The Downtown Experience will allow fans to meet with racers and get a good look at their machines. There will also be vendors, live music, and lots of activities.
Vendors last year included everything from food to race gear to artwork, clothing and all kinds of merchandise. One of the local churches was even giving away free Bibles.
Last year’s crowd at the Downtown Experience was estimated at 5,000.
There will be temporary street closures for the Downtown Experience and the afternoon start. Those closings are listed in a story in this week’s Pioneer.
The action will shift to the BlueWater Resort & Casino Friday, Feb. 1, for contingency, technical inspection and vehicle registration. It’s another chance to get up close to the race cars. However, race fans should bear in mind the racers and crews have business to tend to.
The After-Race Party will be held at 8 p.m. in the BlueWater’s Dig Lounge.
The event will conclude with an awards ceremony at 9 a.m. Sunday in the BlueWater’s Mohave and Hopi Rooms.
For more information, check out the Parker Pioneeer’s Parker 425 guide, as well as related stories in this week’s edition. You can also call the Parker Regional Chamber of Commerce & Tourism at 928-669-2174 or go online to Best in the Desert’s website at www.bitd.com.