NEVEDA 200: TRAIL HEAVEN

DOES IT GET ANY BETTER?

We here at Dirt Bike have been totally spoiled when it comes to bucket-list trail rides. There have been numerous intros led by Malcolm Smith, the Six Days of Michigan, the Colorado 500, the Soboba Trail Ride, FMF’s Baja Del Mar event, Brian Farnsworth’s Prescott Trail Ride and Cameron Steele’s Beach Bash. We’ve been to invite-only events, on group rides, dual-sport adventures and hundreds of “select group” events ranging from riding with Dick Burleson in the UP, riding with Bill Gusse at his Illinois farm, and riding with Dave Coombs in the hills of Blackwater and Loretta Lynn’s ranch in Tennessee. 

Scot Harden raced in Caliente back in the early ’70s and has been putting on an epic trail ride for 35 years, along with his friend Casey Folks and now his son Daryl, who took over when Casey passed.

But, at the top of the heap, one ride always brings a smile to our weathered mandibles—the Nevada 200. It was an invitation-only ride that came together when Casey Folks and Scot Harden discovered the beauty and versatile environment of Caliente, Nevada. Scot had raced there in the early ’70s. He dragged Casey to the very secluded outpost, and the two friends went play riding. They decided then and there that no matter what, they would meet every year and ride. They started inviting close friends, and now 35 years later, it’s on the calendar as one of the most diverse off-road rides ever. It makes every participant shudder with anticipation.

Riders from all facets of off-road show up, and some from the NBA, including 7-foot-4 retired star Rik Smits.

The event provides a huge boost to the local economy, generating money for local schools, sports and recreation projects, so it reflects well on the off-road riding community. A three-day ride, the Nevada 200 hosts lots activities and includes a welcome party after Friday’s ride, breakfast on Saturday and Sunday, a superb lunch on the trail on Saturday, and a BBQ dinner and awards party Saturday night. Support trucks are on the trail, and T-shirts, event pins and decals are given to every rider on the ride.

The riders’ meeting, where over a hundred enthusiasts gather to learn that “fun” and “not a race” are key ingredient.

The terrain of the Nevada 200 offers lots of variety. Lincoln County, Nevada, has thousands of miles of singletrack and Jeep trails. But, the whole point of the ride is the fun factor. Daryl Folks, who took over for Casey when we lost him a few years back, and a team of hard-core riders like Jack Johnson lay out and fully mark the entire three-day event. The terra firma morphs from high-desert washes and singletrack cross-grain to flowing, high-fun-factor woods trails that get up to the 7000-foot level. Scott loves the sand washes coming into the Saturday “big” days finish. They are fast, long and give you  insight into what a real desert racer appreciates.  

A strong storm left the dirt pure chocolate for Saturday’s 100-mile ride.

There are two available rides led by Scot or Daryl, an A ride and a B ride. Naturally, the A ride has some special tests that Scot, Daryl and Jack have discovered that will test even the most seasoned rider. 

This year’s ride, as with many in the past, got a good helping of moisture that made for perfect traction. Friday’s participants got hit with a dose of hail, sleet and rain, so for Saturday, the dirt was ideal. It was cool enough to require a vest or jacket, and the ride packed enough punch to test everyone’s ability, machine setup and stamina. 

Daryl Folks and Scot Harden going over the basics at the riders’ meeting.

The Nevada 200 had open entries this year and is heavily supported by Motion Pro, who has been the title sponsor for over 11 years. Joining Motion Pro are Klim, Seat Concepts, 100%, Beta Motorcycles and Red Bull. All were on hand with displays and, in many cases, special deals on products available only to participants of the ride.

One of the big sponsors is Motion Pro, and their owner Chris Carter never misses the event
The course is fully marked, and every rider is fit with a number and must check in throughout the day
The lunch stop was special, the food wonderful and the care for the participants was top-shelf.
Finding a proper work area for maintenance sometimes requires some imagination.
DB’s Tom Webb rated this year’s Nevada 200 as one of the best rides he’s been on—ever!
There aren’t too many trail bosses who have the privilege of donning an official Red Bull helmet. Scot Harden has the resume to warrant it.
Former Suzuki race team manager Mike Webb at speed on his RM-Z450
Rik Smits is a huge off-road enthusiast and requires some special setup for his 7-foot-4 chassis.
There are several gas stops on the trail
Greg Blackwell, a man with a long history in the motorcycle world and now with Tucker Rocky, rode his TE street-legal Husky and had a riot.
Tip Webb, the final member of the Webb Bros., called this the ride of a lifetime!
An Easter egg hunt following Saturday’s ride is capped off with a big dinner and an awards ceremony.

Comments are closed.