BITD: 2003 champions, year-end awards report

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...

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


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Series Offroad
Drivers Curt LeDuc , Rob MacCachren , Greg Foutz , Kyle Taylor , Mike Falkosky , Steve Hengeveld , Larry Roeseler , Johnny Campbell , Jonathan Martinez