Another year has passed, the Mojave Desert's Johnson Valley OHV Area was saved, 40,000 spectators moved into the sand and scrub for a week of man-against-the-end-of-the-world racing, we have recently returned and even more recently recovered from another week on the Means Dry Lake Bed witnessing the King of the Hammers.
From the deserts of Baja to the hills of Pikes Peak to stadiums across the country, there's any number of places you can go to watch off-road racing trucks do their thing. But with Frozen Rush, Red Bull has skipped past all of them and headed to the ski hill.
Land Rover may not be the first name that comes to mind when you think of racing, but the British off-road marque has been known to send some of its machinery off to the rally raid circuit – usually prepared by Bowler and based on the evergreen Defender. What we have here, however, seems different for a few reasons.
A Toyota subsidiary is preparing to enter a Toyota Land Cruiser for a very long off-road ride while emitting 60 percent less carbon dioxide than its regular diesel competitors. Toyota Auto Body Co. has enrolled a team into the 2014 Dakar Rally that will race a biodiesel-fueled Land Cruiser 200 with fuel made from used cooking oil.
Whenever you want, you can play at being Mad Max. The task only requires closing your eyes, powering up the Gas-Free And Violent Post-Apocalyptic Dystopia program in your mental holodeck, then delivering a few lines in your best early Mel Gibson monotone like, "I think we've got some hoon trouble." or "I'm just here for the gasoline."
The grainy image above is a shot from a video taken just seconds before a truck barreled into a crowd during an off-road racing event in Harrisburg, Ore. on Saturday. With about 1,000 people in attendance at Monster Air 2012, this jacked-up 1970s Ford pickup lost control and veered off course into the nearby crowd injuring three adults.
Endurance off-road racing is brutal, and riders willing to tackle the open desert on a motorcycle are as tough as they are adventurous. Sam Longson, competing in the Best in the Desert "Vegas to Reno" race on August 17, showed just how rough off-road racing can be when he rode his bike the final 14 miles of the race with three broken ribs and a partially collapsed lung.
If bad news comes in threes, we don't want to know when the other shoe will drop. Shortly following the news of Indianapolis 500 champion Dan Wheldon's death yesterday comes the equally sad development that off-road racer Rick Huseman was killed when the small aircraft in which he was flying crashed near Barstow, California. Huseman, 38, was the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series Pro 4 Unlimited Series champion just last year.
The initial findings have come in concerning the accident at the California 200 off-road race tragedy that left eight people dead three months ago. The race promoter, Mojave Desert Racing, was contractually obliged by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to keep spectators at least 50 feet away from the course. In turn, it was the BLM's duty to monitor compliance with that stipulation, and sadly, neither of those things happened.
Last weekend, Emily Miller of Rod Hall Racing was out to become the first Ironwoman in the history of the TSCO Vegas to Reno off-road race to finish the grueling competition solo. To do so, she'd have to drive the her H2 the entire 457-mile distance. She did it in a time of 16:40.30 after having lost the front passenger wheel at mile 80 and having to rebuild the front end. And she still came in third in the stock-full class. Teammate Chad Hall took first in an H3 Alpha, and was the first product