Up in air moments at off road event | NevadaAppeal.com

Up in air moments at off road event

Roger Diez

I was at the Wild West Motorsports Park on Friday for press day for the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing series Toyota Silver State Showdown, which runs over the weekend.

It was my live introduction to the series, although I’d seen some of the races on TV. This is a serious, professional, high-end operation, but also has some beginner classes for youngsters.

I was able to sit down and talk with John Harrah, who founded and owns the Superlite Class of race trucks. John has moved up to the Pro 4 class (also known as Unlimited 4). These are four-wheel-drive pure racing vehicles with 900 horsepower V8 engines that will reach 100 miles per hour on the Wild West course. That doesn’t seem like much on a course with some fairly long straightaways, but with all the jumps on the course, the cars are in the air much of the time. I discovered just how much of the time is spent airborne when I rode along in a practice session with John’s son, Dawson, in a two-seater Superlite truck. Dawson is an absolutely awesome driver, and despite carrying my extra 200 pounds he passed one of the other 15 cars in the session after starting last. He is an ex-motocross racer, following in his father’s tire tracks.

John has won the Baja and raced everything from shifter karts to snowmobiles, starting at the age of 3. Also racing out of their stable this weekend is seven-time X-Games champion Matt Buyten of Minden.

If you want to check out the action this weekend, head east on I-80 from Sparks, take exit 23 at Mustang, cross under the highway, and follow the signs. Tickets are $30 for one day, $50 for a two-day pass, and it is well worth the cost.

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Tonight I’ll be up at Lake Tahoe at the Montbleu Hotel to interview renowned motorcycle racer Dick Mann as part of the Lake Tahoe Adventure Motorcycle Ride & Rendezvous. I’ll also be introducing Jimmy Lewis, who will speak about his exploits in the Baja and Dakar races as well as other events he has won in his illustrious career. If you’re a fan of the relatively new sport of adventure motorcycle riding, you should head up to Tahoe to check out the action.

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Last Saturday night I was in the announcer’s booth at Fernley 95A Speedway for a points race in their six racing divisions.

Local drivers did well, including Carl Barlow of Silver Springs, who scored his third consecutive back-to-front victory in the Hobby Stock division. Dayton’s Royce Goetz finished just behind Barlow. Gardnerville’s Robert Miller did triple duty at the track, singing the national anthem and driving in both the Dwarf and IMCA Modified divisions. He was leading in the Dwarf main when his engine let go, and leading the last lap in his Modified when Fernley drive Shawn Natenstedt passed him in turn four to win by inches. Carson City’s Gary Nevers scored a third place in the Pro Stock division, and another Carson City driver, Derek Rosse, placed third in the Dwarf main after leading for several laps.