Best in the Desert Vegas to Reno: Race Preview

Images via Harlen Foley

The biggest remaining event of the 2022 Best in the Desert season gets going this Thursday and Friday, as the Method Race Wheels Casey Folks Vegas to Reno takes teams nearly 500 miles north from Bonnie Claire to Dayton. The longest point-to-point race on the BITD calendar is one of the toughest challenges teams will face all year, and plenty of Vegas to Renos have been won or lost thanks to a heartbreaking incident or mechanical failure just miles away from the finish line. Late revisions to the route, forced by recent monsoons, have also seen the race shift out of its usual start in Beatty, while skipping impassable water between Tonopah and Millers.

This year’s event features a unique new twist on qualifying, with Method Race Wheels Head to Head Time Trials running all day on Thursday. As the name states, instead of sending vehicles off one by one at the Primm qualifying course, they’ll go two at a time, with multiple lanes to work with and plenty of challenges to conquer. It’s not just the usual unlimited classes doing battle, though—the UTV Turbo Pro and Trophy Unlimited classes, Open Pro motorcycles, and Classes 1000 and 7200 will join the usual Trick Truck, 1500, 6100, and 6200 divisions in qualifying.


More than 300 entries are signed up for this year’s trek, with a star-studded entry list across all of the top divisions. Usual suspects like Bryce Menzies, Justin Lofton, Kyle Jergensen, and defending event winner Ryan Arciero and podium finishers Steve Olliges and BJ Baldwin are all there, but the Trick Truck class will also include some unique entries. Dan and Luke McMillin will team up in Dan’s #23 Mason truck, while Honda’s Jeff Proctor will step up from Class 7 to the class and Dakar Rally legend Toby Price will lead a team as well.

A whopping 38 entries in UTV Turbo Pro, 28 more in the rapidly expanding UTV Trophy Unlimited, and 21 in UTV N/A Pro will also do battle, and each class will have some heavyweight favorites and celebrity entries. Defending Turbo Pro winner Austin Weiland is back to defend his title over last year’s runner-up Dustin Jones and Branden Sims, but Vito Ranuio and Joe Terrana enter the event separated by just four points for the season long-lead after finishing first and second in the Silver State 300, Phil Blurton is always a threat to win, and Dakar T4 winner AJ Jones is back home looking to pick up where he left off as well.


The Trophy Unlimited battle will see Wayne and Kristen Matlock take on Mitch Guthrie Jr. and Ryan Piplic, but Dakar motorcycle winner Ricky Brabec will also join Jamie Campbell in a Raceco entry and recently retired UFC legend Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone will also add flair to the entry list. In the N/A Pro class, multiple Honda and Kawasaki entries will go to battle with the normal Polaris RZR contingent, but don’t count out Max and Robby Gordon in their Speed UTV to go for the win, either.

Live streaming coverage of Method Race Wheels Casey Folks Vegas to Reno begins on Thursday at 9AM PT via RydeTV, while the CBS Sports Network will air highlight shows on Sunday, August 28 and Sunday, September 4. Following Vegas to Reno, the 2022 Best in the Desert season resumes on September 22-25 in Ely, Nevada with the Battle Born 200.

Chris Leone

A veteran of the motorsports industry (both physical and digital), Chris Leone contributes coverage of race events of all types to Off-Road Racer. Elsewhere, he is the marketing/communications manager at iRacing, media director of Jim Beaver's Down & Dirty Show, and a frequent contributor to UTV Underground.

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