The BlueWater Desert Challenge could be considered one of Best in the Desert’s trickiest races. Separated in to two days of seventy-six miles and five different races separated by class, it’s an all out sprint to the finish in the sandy terrain that Parker, AZ has to offer. Vehicles are pushed to their limits as holes deepen and the course changes from race to race. Seventeen JIMCO racecars entered the BlueWater Desert Challenge and when it was all said and done, #1153 Brad Wilson won the second race overall and #1553 Ray Griffith finished third overall in Class 1500.
Wilson jumped out to an early lead in the second race Saturday morning, which combined the 1100, 6000, 3000, 2000, 8100 and 7100 classes. Lap by lap, Wilson extended his lead until he crossed the finish line 00:47 ahead of #3002 Tim Brown. The next Class 1100 competitor finished +03:40 behind Wilson. Kyle Quinn carried Wilson’s dominant performance over to Sunday, where the duo finished +04:11 ahead of the second place finisher overall, including +14:24 faster than the next Class 1100.
To begin the weekend, #1549 Sam Berri laid down the fastest qualifying time heading in to race day, nearly three seconds faster than top Trick Truck qualifier, Josh Daniel. Five JIMCO Class 1500 racers qualified in the top eight, including #1577 Justin Lofton, #1553 Ray Griffith, #1590 Kevin Thompson, and #1525 Joel Whitted.
Starting alone off the line, Berri was first to the open desert. Berri’s clean air was short lived after lap one in which he fell back +00:39 after electrical problems caused overheating right off the start, causing him to slow from race pace. Griffith and Lofton moved past Berri on corrected time and Lofton began to lean heavy on the race leader.
When Lofton came in to the iconic Parker Python after lap two, time splits showed him in the lead on corrected time, with Griffith +00:19 in third place. Unfortunately on that last lap, Lofton suffered a flat that handed over the lead to Harley Letner. Saturday’s race ended with Griffith +00:39 seconds off the leading pace set by Harley Letner. Lofton dropped +02:42 on the third lap and Mattox, Whitted and Berri joined the two in the top ten.
On Sunday, drivers pushed the limits through the dust to earn back the time lost on day one, which ultimately dropped competitors one by one. At the finish, it was JIMCO’s Ray Griffth who took the last spot on the podium in third place, +02:45 behind Harley Letner.
Four Jimco Trick Trucks raced the BlueWater Desert Challenge. Jason Voss, having already won in Parker earlier this year, was JIMCO’s best showing. The 2013 Champion has been on a tear this year with wins at the Parker 425, Silver State 300 and Vegas to Reno and a second place finish at the SCORE Baja 500. Voss qualified as the second fastest Trick Truck and was first to chase down Josh Daniel on day one, beside Kyle Leduc.
Voss spent the majority of the day duking with Leduc, both within a couple minutes of race leader, Josh Daniel. After Leduc eventually dropped out, Voss finished in second place +04:20 behind Daniel. Daniel was again first out to the desert on day two and Voss pushed heavy right out the gate. However, Voss didn’t make it a full lap before having radiator issues that would cause him to limp to an 8th place finish.
Brad Wilson also raced in the third race in his #1053 JIMCO and finished 5th in Class 1000. Twenty Class 1000 racers started took the green flag on Saturday but only twelve saw the checkered flag. #1056 Johnny Buss finished a respectable 11th in Class over the two days.
Next up on the desert racing schedule is the grand daddy of them all, the SCORE Baja 1000.