One Engine Block, Two Windows
Racers shouldn’t have all the fun, especially when it comes to races in Laughlin, Nevada. After hearing about race fans taking the Mojave Road to get to Laughlin, fellow photographer Mike Ingalsbee (of Mike’s Race Photo) and I decided we were going to do just that. SNORE’s Rage at the River event was calling our names and the Mojave Road was the perfect avenue to get there.
A snippet of U.S. history is in order. The Mojave Road starts just outside of Barstow, California, and winds its way through the desert of the same name (Mojave), ending up just south of Laughlin. The route connects the dots of a series of water sources used by intrepid travelers during the 1800s. Back in the day, Anglo settlers risked attack by marauding native Paiute and Mojave tribes, so the U.S. Army built a series of forts to protect the water, as well as the travelers. Fast forward to the 21st century and the Mojave Road survives as an off-road route largely thanks to the efforts of Dennis Casebier and Friends of the Mojave Road.
Creepy-crawly trail groups often take two or more days to run the Mojave Road, especially when multiple sightseeing stops happen along the way. The speedier mindsets and long-travel suspensions employed by prerunner fans make the Mojave Road a quicker proposition. At the same time, speeds need to be kept reasonable, because others are watching, including Rangers with ticket books….
The plan was to run the Mojave Road just past Marl Springs and camp out at the base of the nearby Marl Mountains. The next day, we’d make our way into Laughlin to catch SNORE’s Tech and Contingency.
But, things don’t often go as planned. We’ve alluded to the outcome already.
As for SNORE’s Rage at the River, it’s one of the best values stateside desert racers could hope for. Southern Nevada Off-Road Enthusiasts (SNORE) give participants a race course that combines jumps, bumps, twists, and turns in a short-course, spectator-friendly infield area, and then treats them to a big, fat helping of big-hit desert terrain. The desert section crosses the Needles Highway twice, adding miles to the course and value to the racing adventure. All the classes run on Saturday, and again on Sunday, giving everyone two days of racing for the price of one trip. When we finally got there, Rage at the River didn’t disappoint, and it’s easy to see why it’s becoming wildly popular.