The Racing Goes On

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    NEWSLETTERS

    More than 200 teams of off-road enthusiasts in 23 divisions are racing across 530 miles of Nevada desert terrain despite an accident that killed eight spectators less than one week earlier in California.

    But a federal official and organizers of Friday's TSCO Vegas-to-Reno race say they don't expect similar problems because there will be fewer spectators and they'll be kept far away from the track.

    Local Men Among 8 Dead in Tragic Off-Road Crash

    [DGO] Local Men Among 8 Dead in Tragic Off-Road Crash
    Three men from Escondido are among the dead in a devastating crash that killed eight and injured 12 others when an out-of-control pickup truck plowed into a crowd in the Mojave Desert. (Published Sunday, Aug 15, 2010)

    Best in the Desert Racing Association Director Casey Folks says spectators will be limited to watching from the race's start, its finish or one of 16 pit stops along the rocky, winding track.

    The point-to-point nature of the race means folks in one place will see vehicles drive by just once.

    8 Dead in Tragic Off-Road Crash

    [DGO] 8 Dead in Tragic Off-Road Crash
    The off-road truck sailed off a jump and hurtled into the crowd, pinning bodies beneath it and sending others flying into a chaotic cloud of dust in a crash. (Published Sunday, Aug 15, 2010)

    Last weekend's crash has put a spotlight on desert racing.

    Four San Diegans were among the eight people killed when a pickup truck plowed into a crowd of onlookers during a Mojave Desert race Saturday.

    Spring Valley resident Michael Dickinson, 34, and Escondido residents Brian Wolfin, 27, Anthony Sanchez, 23 and Aaron Farkas, 25 died in the crash that came shortly after the twilight start of the California 200.

    The off-road truck sailed off a jump and hurtled into the crowd, pinning bodies beneath it and sending others flying into a chaotic cloud of dust in a crash that killed eight people, authorities and witnesses said Sunday. Twelve people were injured in the crash.

    It took rescue vehicles and helicopters more than half an hour to reach the remote location, and spectators including off-duty police and firefighters helped the injured and placed blankets over the dead.

    Brett Sloppy, 28, from San Marcos was driving the modified Ford Ranger that slammed into an area where hundreds of spectators were standing, according to the California Highway Patrol. The crowd, which included children, was standing within 10 feet of the track with no guardrails separating them from the speeding vehicles.

    The Bureau of Land Management is going nationwide with its review of off-road racing events it permits on public lands. BLM Director Bob Abbey announced the action Friday. The tragedy initially spurred a review of racing permits in the BLM's California desert district, but the agency will now look at its permits throughout the country.

    Abbey says the agency has launched an internal review of the accident and will take a close look at all approved permits and pending requests on a case-by-case basis.

    The agency also says it will be increasing the BLM's presence at all such events.