The Parker 425 desert race is held annually and is part of the desert off-road series called 'Best in the Desert'. This race is actually the second one held here this month. The first was the 'Parker 250' and features quads, motorcycles and side by side type of off road vehicles. The 425 is all about buggies and trucks.
This years event had 17 different classes and over 150 entries. Even though the course is roughly 140 miles long, with that many classes and entries the event runs over two days. The slower classes run on Friday and the big boys run on Saturday. The total length of the race is 425 miles, or three laps of the course.
Thursday is Tech Inspection at the BlueWater Casino. The vendors are out in full force selling everything from tee-shirts to racing transmissions. You can really get close to the trucks for a good look.
|Trucks lined up for technical inspection. They checked to be sure everyone was following the rules, as well as ensure all safety equipment was up to standard.|
|Look at the shock absorber on this thing!|
|Tech inspector giving this truck a check-over. Look at the front shocks on this one!|
|You could buy a new transmission here.|
|Or a new helmet here. The carbon fiber ones are over $1500.|
|You could even buy a full race UTV.|
|They cost from $40k and up.|
|Heavy duty rear arms.|
|You could buy them from the guy behind the counter on the right. Robby Gordon was here, but not racing. He was popular with the kids. He would autograph their new remote control car.....that he was selling.|
|They don't stay shiny for long. This one raced in the Parker 250 a couple of weeks ago.|
|Some high-tech shocks.|
|This was one nice Jeep. It had all the off-road upgrades you could want. Both front......|
|.....and back. Very nice!|
Friday is race day for the lower speed classes. Not that they are slow. The winner of the fastest class completes a 140 mile lap in not much over two hours. Remember this is open desert, not some paved parking lot at Safeway. The attrition rate is well over 30%.
|These may be slightly slower trucks than will race on Sunday but they could sure move a lot of dust.|
|This guy needs a bit of body work on the front end.|
|Lots of helicopters in the air. Some teams had their own. Others were for the video crews to use.|
|Fully equipped rescue trucks at the ready.|
|There were stock Jeep classes.|
|The Jeeps got passed a lot.|
Saturday the big boys (read $$expensive$$) take to the dirt. A number of wrecks and roll overs and mechanical issues. Thankfully no one was seriously injured. Just one co-driver that need an ambulance ride to be checked out by the Doc.
|Missing a right front wheel.|
|Missing a right rear wheel.|
|The rescue trucks were kept busy. Thankfully very few injuries.|
|When a cloud of dust appears you know somebody fast is approaching.|
|Yep, he's fast!|
|This is the fastest truck on Sunday. The eventual race winner. Jason Voss.|
|The dust got pretty thick in the spectator viewing area so they watered down the course.|
|Another fast truck.|
|I needed the telephoto lens at 300mm to catch these guys up close.|
|Another expensive toy gets hauled home.|
|Thousands line the roads to watch.|
It was a fun couple of days watching desert racing. Thousands of people show up for these events. Many camp in the desert for a week ahead just to get a prime viewing spot. Barbecues and beer are commonplace. Law enforcement tend to turn the other way as long as everyone is having fun. I think we need to come back for this event again next year!
We leave Parker on Sunday and head to Quartzsite.
One last sunset from here:
......and that was Our View From Here!