With its inception in 1967, and after a 20-year hiatus before starting back up in 2008, the Best in the Desert Mint 400 is heralded as being the largest off-road race in the world - this is supported by the epic epithet of 'The Great American Off-Road Race'.
2019 saw more than 550 entries from eager participants hoping to congregate in Las Vegas with the aim of beating the desert and be crowned champion. It also marked the 'Return of the Bikes' where entrants could race on multiple classes of desert bikes for the first time since 1976. Included in the race were two vintage classes 1980 – 1990, and 1979 and older, as well as desert classes including pro motorcycle, expert motorcycle, amateur motorcycle, Ironman and newly minted father & son, women and relay team classes.
With 4 races spread over 2 days, spectators were able to spend the weekend enjoying the sights and sounds of Las Vegas, as well as the smell and sounds of engines out in Primm, where the race start and finish lines were located.
Highlights from the weekend included Ricky Brabec, the Dakar Rally front-runner who gave Honda its first-ever motorcycle win at the Mint 400, and Justin Lofton, who became the first-ever three-time Mint 400 overall winner in Unlimited Truck alongside co-driver Derek Balcunas.
But, and maybe most importantly, the weekend wasn't just about off-road racing and the winners of those races. What sets this event apart and makes it so special, is the Annual Desert Clean-Up that the event organises. This year saw 250 volunteers collect trash from the desert, with initial estimates claiming that 30 tons of rubbish were collected during the clean. This is no small number, and it helps raise awareness surrounding environmental policies and how much trash can accrue over just one year, in a relatively small area.
Check out the many different live streams from the weekend over on the Mint 400 website! The highlight reels are amazing!
Photos (c) - The Mint 400 Facebook Page