Lofton wins class 1 at Nevada 1000

June 25, 2002|By AARON CLAVERIE, Staff Writer

ALAMO, Nev. — Imperial Valley-based off-road racers rode to class wins in last weekend's Best in the Desert Nevada 1000, a grueling three-day race that began just outside Las Vegas on Thursday.

Racers drove from Ely, Nev., to Tonopah, Nev., on Friday and back to the finish at Alamo on Saturday.

Westmorland's Bob Lofton and his teammate, Mike Julson of El Cajon, piloted their Jimco-built buggy to a class 1 win in 16 hours, 59 minutes.

The team finished just behind the first four-wheel finisher, Damen Jeffries of Oak Hills. Jeffries raced his silver Herman Motorsports' Ford F-150 trophy truck to the finish line in 19 hours, 56 minutes.

Four motorcycles finished ahead of the four-wheelers.

In a bit of an upset, Team Kawasaki riders took the top two spots with Team Honda motocrossers, including the motocross winner of this year's Baja 500, Steve Hengeveld, finishing three and four.


Lofton was the highest- placing finisher among Imperial Valley racers, as he has been at previous events this year such as the SCORE San Felipe 250.

The next highest-placing Imperial Valley racer Scott Webster of Brawley. Webster and his Alpine-based racing teammate, Jim Dizney, won the class 10 title in their Brawley Tractor-sponsored buggy. A class 10 ride has unlimited suspension and a limited motor. Webster and Dizney run a 1650 cc Honda in their buggy.

The Webster-Dizney team finished the race in 11th place overall (four-wheel) in 19:09.

Lofton and Webster on Monday both said the 1000 was as tough as billed but a lot of fun.

During the second day of racing Friday, the course wound through Area 51, where the U.S. government allegedly has stored alien spacecraft and parts for study.

On Thursday on the way to Ely, the racers buzzed past the craters on the outskirts of Las Vegas where the U.S. conducted nuclear bomb tests.

Some of the areas the participants raced through had never been open to racers before, and a lot of the course didn't follow roads or trails, according to Lofton.

"You had to pay attention to the (track) arrows, especially because we were not able to pre-run. You had to really be on your toes all the time," he said.

Webster agreed.

"It was right through the bushes," he said when asked about the parts of the course that didn't follow trials.

Not that the parts that did were any easier.

Webster said the trails through some of the mountain passes on the way to Ely were so tight in sections that he only had a few inches of clearance for his buggy, which is wider than some of his competitors'.

Compared to racing in the recent Baja 500, Webster said the 1000 course was "a lot tighter and twistier; real narrow."

In addition to Webster and Lofton, the Scaroni family from Heber made the trip to Nevada for the race, along with Jason Jernigan of Imperial and Vince Wavra of Brawley.

Steve Scaroni raced his SMD Motorsports Excursion, a stock Ford Motor Co. SUV tricked out and custom-built for off-road racing in the 40 class, which pits big rumbling off-road vehicles such as Humvees against SUVs like Scaroni's

Scaroni's son Matt raced the family's pro-truck.

Both Scaronis finished the race, Matt in 22:17 and Steve in 25:00.

Wavra motored to the finish line late Saturday in his class 5 Volkswagen bug. He was one of the final finishers in the sportsman class.

Jernigan was the only Valley racer to not finish. He smashed his red class 7 truck into a tree on the first day of racing, in the tight section of the course Webster talked about.

Jernigan plans to have the dents hammered out in time for the upcoming Tonopoh 300.

>> Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419 or

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