Info for 2020 Mint 400 bike race, noob

Propson351

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Hello all. Let me start by summarizing this entire post by saying I’d like to race the Mint on a bike next year, and am trying to figure out all the details.



Backstory: I’m 42, from Wisconsin, and have never raced the desert before. That’s the bad. For the good, I’m been riding and racing since ’95. MX, supermoto, road race, ice race, and hare scrambles. This being said, I know my way around a bike quite well and in all these disciplines can hold my own. As for the Mint, I’ve always been intrigued by desert racing but live way in the wrong part of the country. When I heard the bikes were back this year I was pumped. I did make it out two years ago to see the whole circus in action and watch the 4wheel classes. Truly and amazing event to attend, so I imagine being part of it must be wonderful. I have no false premonitions that I will be up front. This would be purely to participate in a dream, be happy with my ride, finish, and come home with some great stores. (Also I LOVE Vegas)



Ride: As far as the bike, I’m currently on a ’13 KTM300 that’s set up for woods racing. I know the suspension calibration and gearing will need to be adjusted, but that’s to be expected. The bike setup questions I have are….



Do I need a spark arrestor?

Do most guys run tubes or Bibbs?

Do I need any sort of headlight for this race?

Do I need the bike to be registered (state riding sticker) for the race specifically? In Wisconsin most bikes don’t even have titles since they are not needed

What would I need for a sticker if I came out a few days early to get some riding / practice in?

What type of navigation / safety devices does the association require? I know the 4 wheel vehicles get pretty elaborate in tracking, radios, gps, etc….


MORE ON NEXT POST...
 

Propson351

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Race itself: I was looking at this years specs, and it looks like the track was just over 80miles with amateurs running two laps (160+ total). Pit stop every 25-ish miles. Chances are I would be shooting for a 2 man team. I currently race hare scrambles which are 2hrs and generally cover about 40-45 miles at a much lower speed. These range from tight technical woods to high speed sections. I can run these races and still have plenty of energy at the end. I’m assuming the 80+ miles laps are around 3hrs?? I was thinking one rider for each lap, or is there a better suggestion?



Question on the pit stops. I’ve race the national enduro series when it stops nearby. They supply a trailer for everyone to put a gas can on and then it heads out to the pit area. When you get there you don’t need an extra person, just grab your can, fill, and move on. They also have some simple tools, tubes, and air in case you need to fix a tire. It’s on the honor system and if you use a tube you just flip them some $$ after the race. With the Mint, now do the pit stops work?

Can you send fuel out?

Does the association supply fuel at the pit stops?

Do you need your own person at every pit with a fuel can?

For a 2 man bike team, is it needed to have a “non-riding” person there to help out?



Misc: I’m sure there are 100 more questions, but this was a good start. A few more things.



Assuming the bikes race Saturday again next year, what’s the best day to arrive in town?

Is there local areas to get some riding in for practice in early in the week?

Do I need any special type if insurance?

This race is part of a series, correct? Do I need to be a member for a one off race?

Aside from www.race-dezert, what are some other good forums for bike riders that could offer more advice?

Are there hidden fees that will blow my budget?

This is a hard one, but estimated cost /person to be in Vegas from lets say Tuesday-Monday and run the race? (loaded question)



Thanks in advance for taking time to help out a fellow racer!!!!!
 

Doug.

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Do I need a spark arrestor?

Do most guys run tubes or Bibbs?

Do I need any sort of headlight for this race?

Do I need the bike to be registered (state riding sticker) for the race specifically? In Wisconsin most bikes don’t even have titles since they are not needed

What would I need for a sticker if I came out a few days early to get some riding / practice in?

What type of navigation / safety devices does the association require? I know the 4 wheel vehicles get pretty elaborate in tracking, radios, gps, etc….
Do I need a spark arrestor?

No.

Do most guys run tubes or Bibbs?

Mousse.

Do I need any sort of headlight for this race?


No.

Do I need the bike to be registered (state riding sticker) for the race specifically? In Wisconsin most bikes don’t even have titles since they are not needed


No.

What would I need for a sticker if I came out a few days early to get some riding / practice in?


In all honesty, none. It's not regulated down in the Jean/Primm area at all. I've been riding there for over a decade.

What type of navigation / safety devices does the association require? I know the 4 wheel vehicles get pretty elaborate in tracking, radios, gps, etc….


Best In The Desert Racing Association is the promoter of the series. You don't need any navigation device. BITD courses are marked better than anything you will ever see and very safe. You will need to first get a BITD membership ($60), transponder ($100, good for two years), race registration (Open Amateur cost $450 this year I believe) and if they use the same tracking system for bikes next year and make it mandatory it is $175 to rent the YB tracking unit for the race. For more information check out www.bitd.com and also www.themint400.com
 

cynicwanderer

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I'll try to address your questions inline... I have been doing Best in The Desert for about 4-5 years, so I'm relatively new.


Hello all. Let me start by summarizing this entire post by saying I’d like to race the Mint on a bike next year, and am trying to figure out all the details.



Backstory: I’m 42, from Wisconsin, and have never raced the desert before. That’s the bad. For the good, I’m been riding and racing since ’95. MX, supermoto, road race, ice race, and hare scrambles. This being said, I know my way around a bike quite well and in all these disciplines can hold my own. As for the Mint, I’ve always been intrigued by desert racing but live way in the wrong part of the country. When I heard the bikes were back this year I was pumped. I did make it out two years ago to see the whole circus in action and watch the 4wheel classes. Truly and amazing event to attend, so I imagine being part of it must be wonderful. I have no false premonitions that I will be up front. This would be purely to participate in a dream, be happy with my ride, finish, and come home with some great stores. (Also I LOVE Vegas)



Ride: As far as the bike, I’m currently on a ’13 KTM300 that’s set up for woods racing. I know the suspension calibration and gearing will need to be adjusted, but that’s to be expected. The bike setup questions I have are….



Do I need a spark arrestor?
As per the BITD rules, yes, but no one has checked mine.
Do most guys run tubes or Bibbs?
Most run Bibbs/Mousse
Do I need any sort of headlight for this race?
No, not this race. Although it makes you more visible.
Do I need the bike to be registered (state riding sticker) for the race specifically? In Wisconsin most bikes don’t even have titles since they are not needed
Not for the actual race
What would I need for a sticker if I came out a few days early to get some riding / practice in?
Yes, Nevada requires a OHV sticker. I don't know where you would get a temporary one. I have a CA sticker and plates, they honor those.
What type of navigation / safety devices does the association require? I know the 4 wheel vehicles get pretty elaborate in tracking, radios, gps, etc….
A Speedometer is nice, since there are some speed zones. An odometer is nice, so you know how far it is for the next pit/finish, but they also have mileage markers on the course. For the other races in the series they will post GPS files, but they didn't for the Mint400 Moto race. I usually load them on my Trailtech, just in case I get off course. A transponder is required ($100, I think) for scoring. Mint400 also required a Satelite tracker ($150 rental) for this race. A different tracker is required for some of the races in the series, but not all. All the other races also require a little red flasher, but I don't think Mint400 did.
MORE ON NEXT POST...
Got to www.bitd.com, which is the race organizaton. they have a rule book on their site as well.
 

cynicwanderer

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Race itself: I was looking at this years specs, and it looks like the track was just over 80miles with amateurs running two laps (160+ total). Pit stop every 25-ish miles. Chances are I would be shooting for a 2 man team. I currently race hare scrambles which are 2hrs and generally cover about 40-45 miles at a much lower speed. These range from tight technical woods to high speed sections. I can run these races and still have plenty of energy at the end. I’m assuming the 80+ miles laps are around 3hrs?? I was thinking one rider for each lap, or is there a better suggestion?



Question on the pit stops. I’ve race the national enduro series when it stops nearby. They supply a trailer for everyone to put a gas can on and then it heads out to the pit area. When you get there you don’t need an extra person, just grab your can, fill, and move on. They also have some simple tools, tubes, and air in case you need to fix a tire. It’s on the honor system and if you use a tube you just flip them some $$ after the race. With the Mint, now do the pit stops work?

Can you send fuel out?
You are responsible for your pit support. You can hire someone like Baja Pits who will take the fuel out and provide support, or buddy up with someone. people are very friendly for the most part in this series, so it should be easy to find someone to pool resources.
Does the association supply fuel at the pit stops?
No.
Do you need your own person at every pit with a fuel can?
No, but it helps. I sometimes self-pit. This year, I pitted with a friend.
For a 2 man bike team, is it needed to have a “non-riding” person there to help out?
Not required, but nice to have help/support.
Misc: I’m sure there are 100 more questions, but this was a good start. A few more things.



Assuming the bikes race Saturday again next year, what’s the best day to arrive in town?
might be different next year. you will have to check their website for the schedule. you usually have to be there a day in advance for the onsite registration/tech inspection.
Is there local areas to get some riding in for practice in early in the week?
Yes, plenty. Go onto Advrider.com and hook up with some people that know the area to ride before the race. You are not allowed to pre-run the actual race-course.
Do I need any special type if insurance?
you have to provide your own insurance
This race is part of a series, correct? Do I need to be a member for a one off race?
yes, it's part of Best in The Desert (www.bitd.com). you do have to be a member to race
Aside from www.race-dezert, what are some other good forums for bike riders that could offer more advice?
There are usually threads on advrider.com and thumpertalk.com about these races. You can always start a thread when the time gets closer.
Are there hidden fees that will blow my budget?
When stuff breaks on your support vehicle or bike at the last minute.
This is a hard one, but estimated cost /person to be in Vegas from lets say Tuesday-Monday and run the race? (loaded question)
I'm by myself, sleep in my van and eat cheap. probably less than $500-750 for fuel, food, misc stuff for three-four days, besides the registration costs. I'm 600 miles away.
Thanks in advance for taking time to help out a fellow racer!!!!!
 
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Doug.

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I’m assuming the 80+ miles laps are around 3hrs?? I was thinking one rider for each lap, or is there a better suggestion?

That's generally what most people do, try to cut it in half. Yes between 2 and 3 hours per lap at the Mint was about normal.

Question on the pit stops. I’ve race the national enduro series when it stops nearby. They supply a trailer for everyone to put a gas can on and then it heads out to the pit area. When you get there you don’t need an extra person, just grab your can, fill, and move on. They also have some simple tools, tubes, and air in case you need to fix a tire. It’s on the honor system and if you use a tube you just flip them some $$ after the race. With the Mint, now do the pit stops work?

No, that's more of a local series thing out west. Pitting is completely by your own planning or you can buy a pit service like Baja Pits. Their contact information is on the BITD website. Technically you can drive out to the alternate or midway pit the night before the race and setup your own pit so you can refuel yourself and no one will mess with it. Lock it up somehow if you desire to but you are allowed to do that, yes.

Can you send fuel out?

Not in the way you described. You can leave fuel at an alternate pit that you setup.

Does the association supply fuel at the pit stops?


No.

Do you need your own person at every pit with a fuel can?


No.

For a 2 man bike team, is it needed to have a “non-riding” person there to help out?


Of course it is helpful, but you can do it entirely on your own for the Mint if you want to. For chase races like the Silver State 300 and Vegas to Reno you have to have people to pit you or buy a pit service.

Assuming the bikes race Saturday again next year, what’s the best day to arrive in town?

Early as you can to test in the desert. So, Monday would be great to give you plenty of time but I'd say no later than Wednesday. Registration, tech, and riders meeting is all on Friday and you can roll through that pretty fast. That whole process downtown took me all of an hour.

Is there local areas to get some riding in for practice in early in the week?


Plenty. The area of the race course down in Jean/Primm is closed though. But a cool local will show you the good testing spots.

Do I need any special type if insurance?


No.

This race is part of a series, correct? Do I need to be a member for a one off race?


Yes, it's the second race in the Best In The Desert series. Yes, you need to be a member to get a number and transponder.

Aside from www.race-dezert, what are some other good forums for bike riders that could offer more advice?


I'd say this one is the most reputable for actual desert racing advice.

Are there hidden fees that will blow my budget?


What I outlined above is what the RACE will cost you. Aside from airfare, lodging, gas you need for your bike, meals, etc. Once you pay the entry fee, tracker fee, membership fee, transponder fee you are paid up. There are no hidden fees.

This is a hard one, but estimated cost /person to be in Vegas from lets say Tuesday-Monday and run the race? (loaded question)


You could check HomeAway and maybe stay somewhere for $100 a night, higher on weekends, all the way up to five figures for the nicest rooms in town. This is Vegas and you can find whatever you are looking for here.
 

cynicwanderer

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The race format for Mint400 is a good "starter" race to get used to the logistics because of the format (i.e. medium sized loops), however, it was a high profile event and thought the logistics more complex than it needs to be. the other races are less hyped up and lot's of fun as well. Parker 250 is another loop race in the same format as Mint 400 and easy to pit, low profile, etc... The Laughlin race is short, more like a hare scramble, and very promoted. I personally enjoy races like the Silver State 150/300, Tonopah 250, etc... they are low key, but a little more complex to figure out the pit logistics, because they are a single loop. however, the course is very nice and great to ride on. Vegas to Reno is brutal and hard to do logistics for, when first starting out, it pays to do some of the other races first to get a feel.
 

BajaboundMoto

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You sound like MANY people who contact us about racing Baja or BITD.

What State are you in?

This Mint we had 7 bikes under our tent... 4 of ours we prepped for out of towners, 1 we prepped for a fella from the East (he leaves it with us), and 2 local San Diego guys who drove up on thier own with their own bikes but used our program.
Riders from CA, MO, NY, VT, Wash.DC, and Mexico.
A few of these guys had raced Baja before or at least ridden in Baja. Some had done National Hare and Hounds.
But, some of these guys had never ridden in the desert or done a desert race. An eye-opener for sure!
A couple of these guys teamed and honestly thought they could win their class because back home they can win OA at hare scrambles. That didn't happen. Just cuz you're fast at home doesn't mean you can even stick close to the guys more local.
1 of the guys had ridden all over Baja with me, all types of terrain, and I know he's an excellent technical rider. But this Mint wore him out! I don't think he was ready for the whoop-de-doos (i avoid that cr@p on my fun rides) and the speeds guys were going across the desert.
1 of the guys I first met only a couple months ago when he called and said he wanted to Solo all 4 SCORE races this year. I talked him into riding a few days for fun with me in Baja, which he did, then he came out and wen't to a Jimmy Lewis riding school to learn more, and we talked him into Mint as a warm up to Baja. Let's just say Mint was a HUGE eye-opener and he's putting his Baja racing plans on hold until he learns more and gets better. Smart.

As for your questions, I'm sure these guys answered just fine, I didn't read it all, but I also think you're worried about too much small stuff.
But,,,,
Bibs are your friend front and rear.
Contact Baja Pits and have them pit you. They're at every pit location all set up. You don't need to worry about all the BS like pit signage, shade, fuel mats or fuel, fire extinguishers, or fueling safety gear. So simple. Totally worth the saved brain cells.
Plan on every race there will be a new tracking device, it just seems that's the way it happens, and it's frustrating. And yes, you'll probably get hammered for another $ fee when you weren't expecting it.
Hidden fees? Yes, don't stay at Freemont Street area and expect to eat on the cheap. After a massive tab including too many $25 margaritas (who wouldda guessed?) we did our next group meal at Dennys to stop the hemoraging. Oh yeah, and the hotels "free parking" is actually $50/day if you have any trailer. Sheesh.

I second @cynicwanderer suggestion and Ive posted it before, the Parker 250 and Laughlin are great events to get your feet wet in a desert race. Low key, super affordable, stupidly basic logistics.
 

dezert_nerd

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For your sake, renting a bike and flying in might be best for you (unless you want to race your bike which I totally get). Tim Morton (BajaboundMoto) is your best bet for an “arrive and ride” kinda deal. 1st class service by far and he knows what he’s doing. If that’s not your thing, don’t sweat the minor details. Our fuel stop at Pit B was made up of about 4 different teams along with 2 Ironman who showed with basically no help. You can make it work so long as you have a plan. Even though it’s a big race, logistically speaking it’s not hard at all.
 

Propson351

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Thank you all for the replies. Just knowing that there are pit services available will help quite a lot!!! With any luck you'll see some Wisconsin boys on the starting line next year.
 
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