Western Motorsports Completes Longest Off Road Race in America Mason-Backus Drive to 4th in Class and 29th out of 146 Vehicles in 1000 mile Vegas to Reno Race The Best in the Desert Racing Association's Vegas to Reno -- The Long Way, a...
Western Motorsports Completes Longest Off Road Race in America
Mason-Backus Drive to 4th in Class and 29th out of 146 Vehicles in 1000 mile Vegas to Reno Race
The Best in the Desert Racing Association's Vegas to Reno -- The Long Way, a 3-day 1000 mile off-road race that takes teams through grueling desert terrain began near Las Vegas, Nevada on Thursday August 20th and for those lucky enough to finish ended near Reno (NV) on Saturday August 22nd. Driver's Dave Mason and Rick Backus battled 149 other competitors on a course filled with natural elements of sand, silt, rocks and intense dust. They brought their #1265 Eleven Western Builders Protruck Ford to a 4th place class finish and 29th place finish overall.
The Drivers were supported by Co-Drivers/Navigators Mark Moffatt, Matt Nelson, Mike Nelson and Rob Fox. Each day the race truck was followed by nearly thirty crew members and six chase vehicles carrying fuel, tools and spare parts. Crew Chief Josh Nelson was instrumental in accomplishing the top finish with his quick decision making about needed race vehicle repairs and the tremendous logistics that go into the event.
The strategy for Day-1 was to run a conservative pace and keep the truck in one piece. The day began with Driver Rick Backus and Co-Driver Mark Moffatt, who ran flawlessly. Around mid-way Driver Dave Mason and Mike Nelson took over and continued a conservative but fast pace. That approach paid off as the truck crossed the first day finish line in 7 hours 2 minutes 58 seconds, which was good enough for 2nd place. By the rules of the event the team had just one-hour after each day to work on the truck and get it prepared for the following day. The team went to work on the truck making just minor repairs.
Rolling off the Day-2 starting line on Friday morning Western Motorsports was in high spirits after their top finish that started the event the day before. But the new day brought on challenges for the team. Driver Rick Backus and Co-Driver Matt Nelson had a right front ball-joint failure before reaching the first pit. Nelson was able to get the truck rolling again despite having to work on the race course with an extremely hot race vehicle. Once reaching Pit #1 further repair was needed to the ball-joint. In addition the truck was suffering from intermittent power so the call was made to change a carburetor. In all, the repairs cost the team over 2-hours of lost time. Ending at 699 miles into the race Western Motorsports posted a 4th place finish with a Day-2 time of 10 hours 30 minutes 50 seconds. With the late finish the sun had already set on what was a long tiring day for the team. Despite the troubles of the day the team pressed on making an impressive amount of repairs and changes to the truck in their allotted one-hour.
Rested and ready Day 3 began with the Western Motorsports team full of optimism as they headed into the final 300 miles still in the running for the race win. Rick Backus ran a very fast pace through some of the toughest terrain of the course. He not only navigated a fast pace through these very technical sections, but did it with a thumb injury he incurred on the first day of racing. The other challenge of the final day was logistics. The course is very spread out among hundreds of miles with limited access points. Crew Chief Josh Nelson led his team of vehicles throughout the day coordinating over the radio and cell phones. The crew made fast pit stops to keep the day's momentum going. Driver Dave Mason finished off the final few hundred miles at a blistering pace bringing the truck across the finish line for a 3rd place Day-3 finish with a time of 6 hours 12 minutes 34 seconds.
Of the 149 Four-Wheel vehicles entered in the Vegas to Reno race many cannot claim finishing as part of their story. But for Western Motorsports several months of preparation paid off as they conquered 1000 miles across the Nevada Deserts in a total of 23 hours 46 minutes 24 seconds placing them inside the top 30 finishers. There isn't much time to rest after this long race. In less than one month the truck will be prepped and ready for the next event, the Best in the Desert Silver State 300 September 25-27 in Mesquite, Nevada.