From the most grueling desert terrain in the world to the stop-and-go of your daily commute, Anywhere is Possible with General Tire! Here’s a look at the biggest news in the world of off-road racing this week:
Best in the Desert: Parker 250 Preview
The 2020 Best in the Desert season begins this weekend in Parker, Arizona with the Parker 250 presented by Polaris RZR. Run specifically by UTVs, motorcycles, and quads, the race serves as a prelude to the Parker 425 for premier class Trick Trucks, buggies, and other cars and trucks just a few short weeks later.
Defending UTV Turbo champion Mitch Guthrie Jr. has his hands full at this year’s Dakar Rally, but the entry list remains deep nonetheless. Phil Blurton will look to regain the UTV Turbo crown by starting off the season on a high note, while defending race winner Dustin Jones, 2019 Baja 1000 winner Justin Lambert, and 2019 Baja 500 winner Craig Scanlon are also part of a deep entry list. Other perennial front-runners like Jason Murray, Brandon Schueler, and Branden Sims will also line up, while Down and Dirty Show host Jim Beaver will also make his first start of the 2020 season at his home UTV event.
At just 17 years of age, Seth Quintero’s Dakar debut will have to wait, so he’s back on the UTV NA entry list at Parker to defend last year’s race victory and championship against SCORE champion Kaden Wells and talented short course convert and fellow Red Bull athlete Mia Chapman. The UTV Unlimited field is led by defending Parker winner and champion Michael Isom, who will face off with names like Jeramiah Drew and Robert VanBeekum in an especially deep 20-entry field.
Youth and short course races will run on Friday, with the motorcycle/quad race starting at 7:30AM on Saturday and the UTV race following at 1PM.
The 2020 Dakar Rally kicked off its first-ever visit to Saudi Arabia on Sunday with its first stage, heading from Jeddah to Al-Wajh. Over 340 entries, led by 144 motorcycles and 83 cars, are part of this year’s event, with 2019 motorcycle champion Toby Price and 2019 car champion Nasser Al-Attiyah the incoming favorites. A strong American contingent featuring UTV racers Casey Currie, Mitch Guthrie Jr., AJ Jones, and Blade Hilebrand, plus motorcycle front-runners Ricky Brabec, Andrew Short, and Skyler Howes, intend on making this the first year that a Dakar title comes home to the United States.
Teams covered more than 1,000 kilometers in the first two days of action, including nearly 700 kilometers of special stage routes. Tuesday’s 504-kilometer loop starts and finishes in Neom, while the next few days feature a challenging mix of dunes and gravel depending on the day before competitors arrive in Riyadh for Saturday’s rest day, which breaks this year’s event into two even portions of six stages each.
For in-depth coverage of this year’s Dakar Rally, click here.