In honor of the 2022 Parker 250 and Parker 425 off-road races, this is a reworking of a column that ran in January 2021.

It’s January, and that means it’s time once again for off-road races in Parker. Given all the restrictions they were under from the Colorado River Indian Tribes and the Bureau of Land Management, it’s remarkable that Best in the Desert Racing Association was able to pull them off in 2021. Hats off to them.

I discovered the Bouse Spectator Area during the 2021 Parker 425, and I really liked it. It was easy to get to, and you had a great view of the race trucks as they sped by.

I was hoping 2022 would be closer to “normal.” I miss the starts in downtown Parker, and most of my favorite places to get photos are on Tribal land. I did enjoy having contingency downtown and being worked in with the Downtown Experience street fair.

I was also hoping that, in 2022, the main access road to the races wouldn’t be Shea Road. I use the term “road” very loosely here. I know the signs warn the road isn’t maintained regularly, but, from State Route 95 to the cattle guard, it looks like it’s received no maintenance since before Reagan was President. I know off-road racing is rough, but you’d think the access road to the race site would be smoother than the course.

Don’t get me wrong. The spectator areas and the main pit area were great. It was getting to and from those locations that were a problem.

Just tearing up the pavement and leaving it as a dirt or gravel road would be an improvement.

I wonder if maybe Shea Road is some top secret government project and these are experimental pot holes. That would explain the lack of maintenance.

At one point, I was driving towards town and trying to “tip-toe” around the pot holes. I had a big RV hauling a trailer behind me. He was staying behind me and following my moves regarding the pot holes. I guess he figured I must know where they all are and it would be a good idea to just follow me.

It could be Shea Road is intended to be the world’s longest auto disassembly line.

Maybe we're in an off-road racing sequel to “Caddyshack” and Mr. Gopher has been at work. Where’s Bill Murray when you need him? It could be the pot holes are the work of Wile E. Coyote and his malfunctioning Acme products.

Perhaps it was my brain being jostled on the road, or it was sunstroke from when I was waiting for the tow truck following the nasty flat tire I got. I came up with a brilliant idea for a new off-road event for the Parker area:  The Shea Road Pot Hole Challenge.

We could run it by itself or in conjunction with any of the off-road events in Parker, like the Parker 425, Parker 250, or the BlueWater Desert Challenge.

The course would be on Shea Road from the railroad tracks to the cattle guard. A points system would be used to determine the winner. The winner would be determined from a combination of the fastest time, the fewest number of pot holes hit, and the least amount of damage to the vehicle.

We could run events with different classes of vehicles. We could start with motorcycles and quads and maybe go all the way up to semi-trucks. We could include tanks and armored personnel carriers, but that might be a bit much.

This could turn out to be an incredibly popular event. Look at how popular demolition derbies are. This would be along the same lines.

I’m thinking of who the sponsors for such an event would be. Several possibilities come to mind. They include tire, wheel, axle and shock absorber manufacturers, towing companies, auto body and repair shops, front end and alignment shops, insurance adjusters, scrap metal dealers, auto junk yards, orthopedists and chiropractors.

Another sponsor could be that luggage company that showed how their bags held together under heavy abuse. Maybe we could have that watch company that bragged how their products, “take a licking and keep on ticking.”

Whatcha think? Is this a great idea or what? Do you think this is something the community could get behind?

I think I better get my tongue out of my cheek before I push all my teeth out.


(1) comment


Shea Road is/was a construction road, used while developing and building the CAP Canal system, Planet Ranch and for access to the Swansea Mine. I don't know who originally paved the stretch on the Res, but it hasn't been touched since at least 1969, when I first drove on it. And it wasn't in the best shape then. Responsibility for maintaining it rests with CRIT and/or the Federal Government, that I'm quite sure have other priorities than expending funds to provide a route for non-Tribal members to get out to play in the desert. For anyone thinking that the State or County could pitch in to repair or maintain it, there are State Laws that prohibit public moneys being used on roads that they don't have "title" or legal easement to. The County does "maintain" (as in keeping them reasonably passable) the various roads in the La Paz Outback, such as Shea Road (off the Res), Swansea Road, Mineral Wells Road, Planet Ranch Road, etc. but those have easement from the Feds to the the County. The signs that state "This Road Is Not Regularly Maintained" is a legal provision that shields the County from litigation in case of accidents or collisions that could be remotely due to road condition. Even just to remove the degraded pavement and grade to 100% dirt status could be close to a million dollars for the 5 mile stretch. Paving it (prep and pave) would be over a million a mile.

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