Vegas-to-Reno off-road race will take place despite deadly accident

The Best in the Desert’s Vegas to Reno off-road race will take place as scheduled this weekend despite a deadly accident at a minor race in another series Saturday in the Southern California desert.

Casey Folks, who has owned and operated the Las Vegas-based Best in the Desert series for more than 20 years, said he received confirmation Tuesday from the Bureau of Land Management that the federal agency had issued a permit to allow him to conduct the event.

The 14th annual Vegas-to-Reno event will be the first off-road race since Saturday’s tragedy in Lucerne Valley, where eight spectators were killed and 10 others injured when a race truck crashed into spectators lining part of the course during a Mojave Desert Racing event.

The BLM announced Monday it began an official investigation of the California crash. The review is not expected to extend to Nevada, where the BITD, SCORE Desert Series and Southern Nevada Off-Road Enthusiasts organizations have races on federal land.

Folks said there never has been a spectator fatality at one of his races, but he will add a safety measure for the 535-mile race that starts Friday morning in Beatty and ends late in the day in Dayton.

Race vehicles will be required to stop before entering each of 16 pit areas adjacent to the circuit to ensure slow speeds where spectators are allowed to congregate.

Folks said he will have 426 workers and at least four BLM rangers monitoring the course. More than 250 teams have entered the event and will go through technical inspection Thursday at Aliante Station.

Contact reporter Jeff Wolf at or 702-383-0247.

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