One of the oldest, baddest events in off-road racing makes its return this weekend in Las Vegas—and for the first time since 1976, it’s bringing back the bikes.
Motorcycles are some of the biggest news makers in a massive field at this year’s Mint 400, as well over 500 car, truck, UTV, and bike entries prepare for the Great American Off-Road Race this Saturday and Sunday. From legendary racers like Larry Roeseler to a new generation of American stars like 2019 Dakar Rally stage winner Ricky Brabec, the more than 150 bike teams on this year’s entry list add a unique flavor to what is already one of off-road’s most colorful events.
That’s not to say that the premier Unlimited Trucks won’t claim their rightful place at the forefront of the festivities when they run on Sunday. The latest trend in the sport is for top competitors to build 4-wheel drive trucks, starting with defending Mint 400 champion Bryce Menzies and carrying on with Dan McMillin and teammates Jesse Jones and Cameron Steele. They’ll be challenged by the sport’s usual suspects, including two-time Mint 400 winners Andy McMillin and Justin Lofton, 2017 winner Rob MacCachren, and Jason Voss, who is still chasing his first Mint 400 victory.
A number of racers find the Mint so nice that they’ll be running it twice. Steele is one of them, as he’ll compete on a motorcycle on Saturday before hopping in his truck on Sunday. But Craig Scanlon will look to do the Mint 800 on the same day, as he starts the event on Pro Turbo UTV on Sunday morning before hopping into a Class 6100 truck on Sunday afternoon.
The UTV classes, in fact, are some of the largest in the event, with the 75-entry Pro Turbo field topping all lists. Defending Mint 400 champion Justin Lambert will have to take down defending Best in the Desert champion Phil Blurton, last year’s Pro Naturally Aspirated UTV winner Kaden Wells, and six dozen of the sport’s best. Pro NA polesitter Seth Quintero will look to inherit Wells’ title in a field of 40, while the UTV Rally class offers an inexpensive solution for racers to come out and play.
The 2019 Mint 400 festivities kicked off on Wednesday with the annual Mint 400 Parade and Dinner of Champions, and continue on Thursday and Friday with the Mint 400 Off-Road Festival. The motorcycle race kicks things off on Saturday at 7AM, with two Limited class races on Saturday at 1PM and Sunday at 6AM before the Unlimited classes take to the track at 1:30PM on Sunday. Live streaming will be available throughout the weekend on The Mint 400 website and social media pages, starting at 10AM on Saturday and 9:30AM on Sunday.