Las Vegas, Nevada ~ Best In The Desert announced the three Division Grand Champions this past weekend during the Year-End Awards Ceremony in Las Vegas, Nevada, and it was an incredibly exciting and emotional awards ceremony!
Mark Weyhrich and Gary Weyhrich in the TSCO Unlimited Car win the first time Best In The Desert Grand Championship. They won the Grand Championship with a total of 218 total points. The TSCO Car won the 2002 and 2003 Year-End Championship and they will retain that #1 plate, 1501 for the 2004 racing year!
Doug Eichner and Marc Speath won the Quad Pro Grand Championship with a total of 222 total points. It was a very close race for this Quad Pro team, Eichner/Speath had to finish at least 4th in the Las Vegas "200" to retain the #1 plate, and they did it! Eichner also raced the year with John Gregory, from Cycle Parts West, who contributed to this very prestigious Grand Championship.
But, the big surprise of the day was the Motorcycle Division Grand Championship. With the structure of the point system the Grand Championships went to the teams with the greatest amount of total points for the year and that just happened to be the Over-50 Expert Motorcycle team of Glenn Brown, Lou Monterone and Tracy Walters, with 240 total points. It was a very exciting moment, they were stunned and Glenn Brown was speechless at the winner's podium! It was a great moment and just goes to show you that consistency is what gets you to the podium, it also shows that there are no age restrictions at the winner's podium when you are doing what you love to do, and at Best In The Desert that's either racing a Car, Truck, Motorcycle or Quad, just come out and do it!
The Year-End Awards Ceremony was a great event. One of the focal points of the weekend was the retirement of Malcolm Vinje, and his Class 7100 Winning Ford Ranger. Malcolm has been racing off-road for the past 30 years and has decided to spend his spare time traveling with his wife Michie versus long nights at the race shop prepping the race truck. He loves off-road racing and plans to attend Best In The Desert events supporting his fellow racers. The Hydrotex Racing Team of Malcolm Vinje, Jim Gilchrist, Mark Hansen and Rick Sherard also won the Year-End Award in the 7100 Pro Class, with 201 points. The team received a standing ovation as they walked to the podium and it was a very emotional time as they each said good-bye. The Vinje Team has been with Best In The Desert since the very first car and truck event, which was the 1996 "Vegas to Reno" event, and it will be very strange not seeing this very beloved team and entourage at each event.
The Open Pro Motorcycle team of Destry Abbott and Shane Esposito, riding for Kawasaki Team Green, won the Year-End Award, with a total of 225 points. It was a battle for this championship and the outcome of the Las Vegas "200" determined the Year-End Championship between the Kawasaki Team and the American Honda Team of Johnny Campbell and Steve Hengeveld. Abbott and Esposito placed 2nd with a time of 4:29:16 and the Honda Team was right behind them in 4:30:17, 1 minute and 1 second determined the Year-End Championship Award. Thrilling for the Kawasaki Team and heart breaking for the Honda Team.
Another very close Year-End Championship on the line was between the ProTruck Class 1200 Teams. John Becker, racing a Ford ProTruck, had 137 points coming in to the Las Vegas "200" and Rick L. Johnson (Toyota Rick, as he is referred to) had 140 points, a 3 point difference. This was the closest race in all of the Best In The Desert classes, and this was the race everyone was watching! John Becker finished 2nd in the Las Vegas "200" which tied up the Year-End Championship for him with a total of 168, and Rick L. Johnson took home the 2nd place Year-End Award with a total of 166 points.
A motorcycle Year-End Championship to take note of was the 4-Stroke Pro Class Championship. Christopher Blais, riding a Honda, won the Year- End Championship with a total of 236 points. The interesting factor in this championship is that Christopher rode every race this year as an Ironman, which means he rode alone. The Pro Teams can have two on a team but Christopher chose to ride alone. Best In The Desert does have an Ironman Class, which has a great many riders riding solo, but at the speed's the Pro's ride it is certainly an exceptional feat.
Following is a list of Year-End Champions, are hats are off to all of these teams and they are all exceptional racers with great race teams and great pit crews. We hope to see all of these great teams back next year to defend these championships!
<pre> Car/Truck Year-End Champions- Driver of Record Listed
Class 1500 Mark Weyhrich 218 points Jimco Class 1000 Eli Yee 215 points Jimco Class 1400 Kyle Taylor 204 points Ford Class 4100 Marc Stein 202 points Ford Class 7100 Malcolm Vinje 201 points Ford Class 8100 Greg Foutz 200 points Ford Class 3100 Mike Falkosky 197 points Ford Class 7300 Aaron Dixon 194 points Ford Class 7200 Larry Roeseler 170 points Ford Class 1200 John Becker 168 points Ford Class 8000 Curt LeDuc 165 points Ford Class 1100 Jeff Moore 166 points MIT Class 2000 Kevin Graves 56 points Jimco
Motorcycle/Quad Year End Champions - Rider of Record Listed
Over-50 Exp Glenn Brown 240 points Yamaha IM Exp Troy Walker 239 points KTM 4-Stk Pro Christopher Blais 236 points Honda O-40 Exp Mark Davidge 227 points Gas-Gas Open Pro Destry Abbott 225 points Kawasaki 250 Pro Gordon Keller 222 points Kawasaki O-30 Exp Duane Schwab 222 points KTM O-35 Exp Ron Purvines 202 points KTM O-30 Pro Jason Weeks 195 points KTM Open Exp Cody Gremel 194 points ATK 250 Exp Jonathan Martinez 178 points KTM 4-Stk Exp Kevin Parsons 173 points Yamaha 125 Exp Jeff Maginn 135 points Honda 125 Pro Matt Sales 128 points Kawasaki Quad Pro Doug Eichner 222 points Roll Design Quad Exp Ed Teixeira 197 points Honda Teixeira Built
Car/Truck 2nd Place Year-End Champions- Driver of Record Listed
Class 1000 Tony McLaren Penhall Class 1200 Rick L. Johnson Toyota Class 1400 Bucky Strunk Chevy Class 1500 Chuck Hovey Jimco Class 3100 John Holmes Ford Class 4100 John R. Sunderland Ford Class 7100 Miguel Alvarado Jeep Class 7200 Hector Salazar Ford Class 7300 Rob MacCachren Ford Class 8000 Keith Moore Chevy Class 8100 Randy Merritt Ford
Motorcycle/Quad 2nd Place Year-End Champions- Rider of Record Listed
4-Stk Pro Daryl Folks KTM Open Exp Scott Herweg Kawasaki O-30 Exp Brett Hoffman Honda O-40 Exp Kurt Sofka Jr. Honda IM Exp Dan Lorenze Yamaha Quad Pro Wayne Matlock Suzuki Quad Exp Dean Waters Yamaha