Post image for 2012 BITD Vegas to Reno Post Race Report

2012 BITD Vegas to Reno Post Race Report

by chaosfab on September 11, 2012

TOTAL CHAOS Swims in Silt At 2012 BITD Vegas to Reno!

 

A record 323 total racer entries signed up for the 17th annual Best In The Desert (BITD) Vegas to Reno race. Long distance races are the ultimate test on man and their machines. Terrain constantly changes and your choice of equipment can dictate a finish from a short day.  Vegas to Reno is the longest off road race in America! 535 miles of Nevada desert string a point to point off road adventure. With recent heavy rain in the northern section of the course drivers had to thread the needle on washed out roads that carved out double down ditches in danger sections. While GPS is a handy device, it all boils down to respecting the terrain and knowing the limits of your vehicle.

The race course which ran across dry lake beds was converted into waist deep pools of Nevada silt. So deep you just pinned it and swam through it. Majestic 6,000 foot mountain rally roads, sections of tire eating rock gardens and scattered mud holes left from monsoonal weather tested drivers, navigators and their vehicles. 21 racers were ready to battle in class 7200. The TOTAL CHAOS project Toyota Tacoma #7216 was called on to battle in the gun fight. The stock Toyota 4.0 power plant proved to be one sharp knife against the stacked field of racers!

Truck #7216 was spotted on the IRC at 0 MPH at mile 64 right out of the gate. Blinding thick dust and a pool of silt swallowed the 2wd Tacoma in a bottle neck as they crested a hill and had zero visability. Co driver Mike Allen fought fiercely to air jack the truck up and pile rocks under the rear tires to get the vehicle mobile. Matt stated, “We just could not see the hood of the truck the dust was so thick! We opted to back off and play it safe to avoid hitting another racer. In turn we just got cross rutted and got stuck.” After 21 minutes of rock stacking, the truck was back on the trail but now had to fight with dust from the class 10 cars, that eventually caught up and passed them while they were buried. TC owner Matt Vaughan started the race and was determined to make up some lost time in the sweltering triple digit heat. Waist deep pools of silt were carved into a 2 track single lane slot that stretched for miles at a time. With 100% trust in their GoodYear MTR tires they stayed on the gas, jumped the ruts and put the hammer down and began to trail blaze off the sides of the course for traction and more visibility. Passing car after car they began to make up for some of the lost time.

At the ½ way point of the race the team was running outside the top 15 in class. As the day stretched on, class 7200 began to succumb to the elements. The Tacoma was well prepped and was running flawless. At pit 8 a scheduled fuel stop and co-driver change put Jeremy Bonds in the navigator seat. After fighting the thick dust for the first 6 hours, high clouds dropped temperatures and they finally broke into the top 10 in class.  One the same set of GoodYear tires they started the race with, the team focused on the remaining 200 miles and the night leg when Nicole Pitell-Vaughan jumped behind the wheel at Mina. “We had some killer terrain when I first strapped into the truck. Fun, technical rally trails. Then we hit this rock hill with a Mason truck blocking the course and a class 1 stuck on the ridge next to us. The Toyota 4.0 with new Currie rear end had to run the lava rocks and forge its own trail to get around. The GoodYear tires were awesome for traction,” stated Nicole after the race. “I trusted Jeremy with his lane choice and we just pinned it! I was pretty pumped to not get us stuck considering I don’t do much rock crawling.”

Fuel stops and camel pack refills were the most pit activity the team had during the race. The nor cal Locos Mocos crew covered the remote Rawhide pit to keep the TC crew members on highway heading north in route to Dayton. No rookies to fueling or taking care of a racer, the crew had a 4 corner inspection, 22 gallons dumped and some snacks ready for a quick pit stop and GO.

As the sun set the desert seemed radiant. Some of the richest green shrub in areas that had recently been hit by heavy rain were a treat to see and smell after the brutally hot early dry day. Sprinkles misted the crew as they chased down the checkered flag. Scattered mud holes and rain ruts were to be respected in the latter section.  The leader finished in 11:02:25 and TEAM TC crossed the line in 11:46:42 for 7th in class 7200 and 54th overall.  Out of the 190 4 wheeled starters 120 finished within the time limit.

Owner Matt Vaughan of TOTAL CHAOS commented after the race, “We set out to do way better than last year. We took a 13th  place finish to a 7th. If not for getting stuck we could have earned a top 5 in class 7200.” That’s a pretty impressive finish for a pump gas, factory chassis 2wd Toyota pickup. The TC suspension bolts to the factory mounting locations and the race truck still has a factory cab and working doors, while most the competition runs a fully custom fabricated tube chassis with 600+ HP for a power plant. We brought a pretty sharp knife to the Best In The Desert gun fight!

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