The 2021 Maxxis Tires “Casey Folks” Vegas to Reno Presented by Fox is set for Aug. 11-15. This year marks the silver anniversary of the event. The race was first held in 1996 and welcomed cars and trucks to compete alongside its motorcycle entries, officially opening the Best in the Desert series to all off-road vehicles.
The race was a life-long dream of Best in the Desert Racing Association founder Casey Folks. Though the racing association was originally organized as a motorcycle desert racing series only, he wanted to hold events open to the car and truck racing community. While there were some who weren’t supportive of the decision to open the series to all off-road vehicles, Folks worked tirelessly to embrace the entire desert racing community, efforts that grew BITD into what it is today.
The first Vegas to Reno race started about four miles south of Sloan, Nev. and finished at Aspen Creek Ranch seven miles south of Dayton. The event turned out to be more successful than Folks or his critics imagined. While the race was a hit for motorcycle competitors who had grown to love and expect exceptional events organized by Best in the Desert, it was the 60 car and truck entries that would become big supporters and help to grow the series.
Jeff and Jim Stiles won the 1996 Vegas to Reno in a Raceco car in 11:04:29 while Ty Davis and Paul Krause took the fastest overall time in the Open Pro Motorcycle class with 8:44:57. Since the first Vegas to Reno was also the first Best in the Desert race open to cars and trucks, it would be the first time motorcycles competed against cars/trucks for overall bragging rights. And while the motorcycles held the early advantage, the cars and trick trucks soon caught up, celebrating overall winning times themselves. Now it’s the UTVs who are climbing the ranks. It’s all a part of the competition.
Vegas to Reno grew over the years to include nearly 400 competitors in 2020, making it the largest and the longest single-day off-road race in the U.S. at 500 miles. Last year, a USA Today Readers Poll named Vegas to Reno the seventh most prestigious motorsports event in North America, solidifying the association’s role in the sport and expanding its reputation.
This year’s event will start with time trials on Aug. 11 and the event will run through Aug. 15. The first motorcycle entry will leave the starting line at 5:45 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 14 followed by the rest of the field. With COVID restrictions being lifted, Best in the Desert is planning a big after-race party to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the event at the Sands Regency Hotel & Casino in Reno, Nev. Race registration is open at www.bitd.com. Race information and final schedule will be added to the website as the event approaches.