Over 200 UTVs came to Parker this past weekend for the 2021 Tensor Tire BITD Parker 250. The first big UTV race of the year went down in Parker Arizona to kick off the 2021 season with all the heavy hitters showing up to battle it out.
The race week started on Friday with the 4 Wheel Parts Youth Races that were held near the start finish line. A 3 mile course that started and finished near the main pits was filled with dust and silt making it difficult for the kids to get around the track cleanly, with a few getting lost at one point.
Kids were lined up 8 in a row and started land rush style with groups leaving 15 seconds apart. With a pinch point that reduced to one car width only a short few hundred feet down from the start carnage was sure to ensue and a few cars got caught in the mix.
The first race of the day was the 250 Modified, 170 Modified, and 170 Stock classes, which also had age groups within the classes. In the 250 class Deegan Gonzalez completed 8 laps after the 35 minute time limit to take home the class win following in his older brother Dallas’s footsteps. His race started out with a rollover in the first turn but he was able to get back going and pass the rest of the field.
The 170 classes were fun to watch as kids as young as six years old battled the dusty conditions around the track. In a close battle Jacob Williamson and Jackson Mandle finished just a second and a half apart with Williamson winning the class. In the 170 Stock class Ryder Wilson from Lake Havasu won in his age group and Evan Atkins made his hometown of Parker proud by winning in the younger age group.
The next group for the youth races was the 1000/RS1 and the 570 classes which is where some of the big names you’ll hear racing the main race in a few years will come from. Travis Sallee took home the win in the RS1/1000 class and Ryder Chapman took home the win in the 570 class.
Saturday at 1pm the UTV race started off with the premier UTV class leaving the line first. The Turbo UTV class is the most competitive with lots of big names in the mix and this season N/A powerhouse Seth Quintero is adding his name to the class with a brand new Turbo RZR. Quintero started out strong early on but would have issues letting him finish only two laps before the grand prix finish when leaders crossed the finish line.
Phil Blurton to no ones surprise made his way to the lead after lap one and continued to lead physically despite having brake issues all the way until the last lap where another mechanical issue slowed him down towards the end of the final lap. Brandon Sims who also is always near the top put on a strong showing all day only to suffer the same fate just a few miles from the finish.
After racing a grueling Dakar at the beginning of the year, Mitch Guthrie Jr. returned back to the US to compete at King of the Hammers. Guthrie then took that car and three days before Parker turned it into a desert car and showed up to race. Starting near the back in the Turbo class Guthrie was able to make his way through the field and by the end of lap three would be sitting fifth physically behind only Blurton, Sims, Binnquist and Sierra Romo. Coming into the final turn before the finish Guthrie was now third physically behind only Binnquist and Blurton. Starting so far back in the pack Guthrie would take the win with a time of 4 Hours 42 Minutes and 26 seconds. Binnquist would hold on to finish in second place two minutes behind Guthrie and Dustin Jones grabbed third place.
The Unlimited class is quietly becoming a very competitive class as well with 31 entries taking the green flag. The lead would change hands multiple times throughout the day but in the end class champions Michael Isom and Carey McCandless would finish in 4 Hours 57 Minutes and 20 Seconds to take the win and leave Parker with the points lead once again. Randy Raschein who led most of the day would finish in second place less then a minute behind Isom. Chris Blias who has moved up from the Rally class this season finished in a strong third place to round out the podium for the class.
With Polaris winning the Turbo class and Can Am topping the Unlimited class it was only fitting that another manufacture would take the win in the Pro N/A class. For the first time in a BITD race Kawasaki would claim victor in the class with Carson Wernimont winning with room to spare finishing almost 15 minutes ahead of second place Josh Raw. If the name Wernimont sounds familiar Carson is the son of legend Russ Wernimont who’s worked with some of the best racers in offered racing from Robby Gordon, Scott Taylor and more.
The UTV Rally class is also growing in popularity this season as it is a Sportsman class directed at people who want to race on a more limited budget. Justin Smith of Shock Therapy would finish first in class after starting near the back in 29th position. Finishing the three laps in a time of 3 Hours 58 Minutes and 7 seconds, about 12 minutes ahead of second place 15 year old Kailee Olliges. Another young driver Mikey Kelly finished in third place 4 minutes behind Olliges.
Other class winners were Mitchell Alsup in the new UTV Pro Open class (which the class has some controversy coming into the new season), Jonathan Mcvay won the RS1 N/A class, Blake Bennet took home first in UTV Pure Stock and Brody Atkins won in Sportsman.
Photos by HighRev Photography