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Jergensen Retains BITD Win in Cal City, Trick Truck Title After Extended Review

After multiple days of deliberation, Best in the Desert officials decided not to impose a penalty on Kyle Jergensen for leaving a wheel on the race course during last weekend’s season-ending Cal City Desert Classic. Per review, it was determined that Jergensen lost a wheel on course when a tire strap failed shortly after changing a flat, and that the issue was therefore unintentional.

The decision not to apply a possible one hour time penalty not only kept the win in Jergensen’s hands, but also decided the Trick Truck championship in his favor, after he beat defending series champion and top title rival Kevin Thompson by more than eight minutes across the two days of racing. The duo entered the event tied with 400 points, and BITD’s official ruling to uphold or forgo the penalty would either give Thompson two titles in a row or allow Jergensen to claim his first class title.

Both of the series’ premier truck classes were decided with race wins in Cal City, with incoming 6100 points leader Dustin Grabowski defending a 20-point advantage over Ray Griffith with a victory as Griffith finished third. While Sam Berri’s 1500 title was never in doubt, he also took the win in the premier car class to lock up that championship.

The most intriguing points battles came in the UTV divisions, as Ryan Piplic and Dustin Jones entered the event separated by just one point in the Turbo class and Mitch Guthrie Jr. was within striking distance. In the end, it was Vito Ranuio, the incoming fourth place driver in points, who would take the win over Guthrie, but Piplic would take the title over Jones by beating him by just over 21 seconds over the six-lap event. As a result Piplic would claim the title by three points; in the opposite scenario, Jones would have won by one.

In the other two pro UTV divisions, NA and Unlimited, incoming points leaders Josh Row and Michael Isom would lock up their championships by finishing Saturday’s races. Austin Bolton and Jim Beaver would take those class wins, respectively, with Bolton defeating Zachary Kisman by nearly five minutes and Beaver posting a more than 12-minute victory over Trey Gibbs. Row’s final points advantage was 12 over third place finisher Dallas Gonzalez, while Isom’s margin of championship victory over Beaver was just seven points.

The 2022 Best in the Desert season kicks off shortly after the new year, with the annual opening events in Parker, Arizona coming on January 6-8 for UTVs, motorcycles, and quads and January 20-23 for cars and trucks. Each division will contest at least five championship events next year, with seven events in total on the schedule for motorcycles.

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.