Ed, Troy, and Tim Herbst, all from Las Vegas, won overall in the Car and Truck Class in the Nevada 2000, a six-day 2,000-mile off-road following the perimeter of the state of Nevada. Billed as "an off-road adventure of a lifetime" by the race director Casey Folks, this was considered to truly be an adventure by all participants: the racers, the support crews, and the more than 235 volunteers it took to make this race a huge success. The six days provided some surprising finishes. "In a long endurance race such as this one, anything can happen. It's not over 'til it's over," said Casey. In asking him how he felt at the finish line, he said, "This race was very complicated to stage logistically; we had a few glitches, but it was near perfect. I am a very happy man today - my dream came true."
The finishing rate in a race of this magnitude is staggering; 178 teams entered the race, which represented 535 racers. Of the 171 teams started the race, and an unbelievable 140 teams finished the race. Of the 88 cars and trucks that started, 66 finished; 69 motorcycles started the race with 61 finishing; and of the 14 Quads that started, 13 finished. Overall, an impressive finishing rate.
The Best In the Desert Racing Association paid out more than $122,000 in prize money, and the Ford Motor Company, a major sponsor to Best In the Desert, put forth $50,000 in prize money. In certain classes, Ford Motor Company will pay an additional $10,000 if the class is won by a Ford truck.
Ford Truck Motorsports brought more than 50 engineers to the Nevada 2000 to observe the racing environment, understand the punishment desert racing gives the vehicles, and broaden their engineering backgrounds through participation in this one-of-a-kind event. Many of the participating engineers served as technical resources to multiple race teams, thus enhancing their engineering and interaction skills, while improving the overall performance of Ford trucks in the event.
Emotions were running high as racers began to cross the finish line at the Terrible's Town Casino in Pahrump, Nevada. Jonah Street of Ellensburg, Washington, and Steve Hengeveld of Oak Hills, California, came across the finish line first, riding a Honda motorcycle, with a time of 25:41:53, the cumulative time from the six days. Fifty-four seconds later, Johnny Campbell of San Clemente, California, also riding a Honda, came across the finish line. The crowd was silent until the corrected time was announced and Johnny Campbell and partner Tim Staab were pronounced the winners. Johnny Campbell and Tim Staab were running second to Destry Abbott and Brian Brown, both of Irvine, California, riding a Kawasaki, for the first three days. On day four (Elko to Reno), they ran into some obstacles when Tim crashed the Honda on a long stretch. Tim managed to get the motorcycle into the next pit and pass it off to Johnny, but broke his ankle when he fell. Johnny rode the final 120 miles into Reno. Even though he wasn't feeling well, Johnny rode solo on day five (Reno to Tonopah) and again rode solo on day six (Tonopah to Las Vegas). Johnny Campbell proved to be a true champion and took First in the Open Pro Class, despite the many obstacles in his way.
The Car and Truck Class winners were also unknown until the finish line. Thought by some to be an Ivan "Ironman" Stewart and a Larry Ragland race, it was proven true once again to not assume anything until the checkered flag is waved. On day four (Elko to Reno), Ricky Johnson, driving the Ragland/Johnson Vortec-powered Chevrolet TrailBlazer, ran into a tight section and rolled the TrailBlazer. Ricky sustained only minor injuries, but unfortunately the TrailBlazer did not; the Ragland Chevy was out of the race. Leading at the end of the fourth day was Ivan "Ironman" Stewart, driving a PPI/Toyota. One minute and 30 seconds behind Ivan was Troy Herbst, driving the Ford Smithbuilt 1500 Unlimited Car. One minute behind, in third position, was his brother Ed Herbst, driving a Ford in the 1400 Trick Truck Class. Four minutes and 51 seconds behind the pack was Brian Stewart, Ivan Stewart's son, driving the second Herzog/Vortec trick truck. These two classes were decided at the finish line as well. Later on the sixth day, Ed Herbst ran into some bad luck with mechanical troubles with his Ford and was out of the race.
The Nevada 2000 certainly represents a growing trend in off-road racing: Take high-mile events to their absolute extreme. When you stop and ponder just what it takes to complete a race of this magnitude, it's mind-boggling, not only from the aspect of what it takes in regard to human stamina, but also what it takes to ensure that a truck can handle 2000 miles of hard-core on-dirt punishment without suffering a major breakdown. Just thinking about what these drivers and teams went through to compete in the Nevada 2000 is sure to evoke a newfound respect for this special breed of competitors. That said, how many miles long can these races get? How about the Nevada 2,500 in 2001?
The Top Five Overall Finishers in the Car and Truck ClassFirst OverallNo. 1502 - Unlimited Car Class
Troy, Ed, and Tim Herbst of Las Vegas
Todd Gorsch and Mike Smith of Huntington Beach, California
AJ Martin of Orange, California
Vehicle: A Smithbuilt FordTime: 26:06:32
Second OverallNo. 1481 - Trick Truck Class
Brian Stewart and Mark Miller of Lake Forest, California
Barry Beacham and Ryan Arciero of Irvine, California
Bekki Freeman of Henderson, Nevada
Vehicle: A Vortex-powered Chevrolet TrailBlazerTime: 26:28:36
Third OverallNo. 1444 - Trick Truck Class
Ivan "Ironman" Stewart and Larry Roeseler of Rancho Santa Margarita, California
Vehicle: A PPI/ToyotaTime: 27:03:26
Fourth OverallNo. 1527 - Unlimited Car Class
Damen and Casey Jefferies of Temecula, California
Vehicle: A Porter-ChevroletTime: 27:39:20
Fifth OverallNo. 1415 - Trick Truck Class
Brian Collins, Keith Underwood, Bill and Robbie Goerke of Las Vegas
Vehicle: A ChevroletTime: 27:45:10
The First and Second Place Finishers(all driving Fords received additional prize money from Ford Racing)
FirstNo. 1299 - 1200 Protruck ClassSteve Barlow of Temecula, California
Time: 30:03:41Prize: $6,000
FirstNo. 3101 - 3100 Pro ClassMike Falkosky of Ramona, California
Time: 42:53:27Prize: $10,000
FirstN o. 4112 - 4100 Pro ClassMarc Stein of San Diego
Time: 37:14:06Prize: $10,000
FirstNo. 7301 - 7300 Pro ClassDeputy Steve Williams of Carson, California
Time: 45:12:10Prize: $10,000
FirstNo. 7102 - 7100 Pro ClassJoe Custer of Fountain Valley, California
Time: 48:18:19Prize: $3,000
SecondNo. 3107 - 3100 Pro ClassRobert Sibbio of Phoenix
Time: 43:16:57Prize: $5,000
SecondNo. 7302 - 7300 Pro ClassRob Reinsterson of Woodside, California
Time: 46:14:37Prize: $5,000
SecondNo. 7201 - 7200 Pro ClassCraig Turner of Orange, California
Time: 47:59:52Prize: $1,500