The Nevada 200 Trail ride
REAL DEAL BUCKET LIST ADVENTURE
BY: Mike Webb
Back in 1985 two hard-core off-road racers came up with an idea to make sure they would get together once a year and get out for a gnarly ride. Scot Harden and Casey Folks were very close as Scot was making his impression on the off-road racing world with Casey being both his mentor and friend. As life steamrolled on their business schedules began to dominate their lives. They envisioned a yearly trail ride and to make sure that neither one could back out of it, they invited a few friends to come along. In the early days invitations were circulated by word of mouth, but as with all good things the numbers grew. Scot and Casey selected the remote eastern Nevada city of Caliente as their base. The combination of high desert and mountain terrain provided a perfect landscape for the tight, technical adventures they preferred and over a multi-day event, riders would taste every type of terrain imaginable.
By the mid-90’s, this innocent buddy ride had mushroomed to the point that Scot and Casey had to limit the entries to 200 of their closest friends and associates. Now 34 years later, the Nevada 200 is in full bloom. That original concept of an epic ride, with your buddies, in a remote Nevada wilderness has guaranteed its sustainability. In 2017 we lost Casey Folks, the legendary racer and promoter passed away leaving a tremendous void in the off-road community. However, Scot made certain that the ride would continue and with Casey’s son Daryl stepping up- the DNA carries on.
I was lucky enough to pull an invite from Scott and Daryl for this year’s Nevada 200. With brother Tom on the mend with recent shoulder surgery, I enlisted my riding buddy Brian “The Realtor” Palmer to buddy up for the journey. In preparation BP messaged his off-road baby, a state of the art Husky FE450, adorned with enough trickery to make you drool. I had a pretty good idea (since Tom had ridden this a number of times) that the trail laid out by Scot Harden would reflect a national caliber level and I was right on the mark. I would be astride a box stock 2018 Honda CRF450X. Although Big Red flirts with obesity but I was hoping its Honda reliability and off-road heritage would shine through. Folks at the event asked me if Tom was mad and made me ride it…hummm.
Straight up, this is no foo foo ride, the base of riders participating are core off-road junkies, most seeking KTM’s and Husky’s as their bike of choice. Right off the start we dropped into a tight, rock strewn sand wash and of course the only technique that works in these conditions is to attack aggressively, thereby keeping your bike on top of the sand instead of flogging through it. However, I didn’t seem to get that memo and for the first 10 miles I rode with the skill set of a beefy opera singer. Slowly but surely, I pulled my head out of my caboose and started to ride the beast with the required technique. When the sand wash from hell gave way to technical single track going up in elevation, Brian and I really started to find our groove. Farther along the trail morphed into insane switch backs that slalomed through the juniper and pine trees, we were now in the zone and the smiles erupting actually hurt. By the end of the day we experienced a dose of every off-roaders hopes, motoing hard with your buddies in a never-ending stream of challenging terrain.
Day two would be more of the same with almost double the mileage. I didn’t do myself any favors by awkwardly cart wheeling down a rock-strewn hill right off the bat and with a battered brain and a bruised ego I slowly got back up to speed. The Realtor had pressed forward and was slaying it until he had a date with a pine tree and a last minute save limited damage to a smashed radiator and crushed finger. With the increased mileage, halfway through the loop- lunch was on the agenda. The tour laid out a killer spread, catered BBQ sandwiches with all the fixings and Scot’s wife Kristy handing each rider a hot wet towel to wipe off the Nevada wilderness, bringing back long-ago memories of Mag 7 at the Tecate Enduro.
The rest of the ride was a continual flow of single track, rock canyons, tough technical sand washes and a special treat by the trail leader of the second group the legendary Jack Johnson. This was the first man in history to solo and win the Baja 500 and he had a sweet little rocky bit of hell that has been tagged the Ho Chi Minh Trail and I’m certain that Graham Jarvis would dig it as the curtain dropped to close the show.
That night was a chance to catch up with fellow riders, share glory stories, enjoy Scot’s roasting at the awards ceremony and reflect on this epic trip. Scot and Casey had it figured out long ago, a killer trail ride, with your buddies and a wickedly remote location were the perfect ingredients for a true bucket list adventure.
THE HI CHI MINH TRAIL
OFFICIAL PROMOTERS OF THE NEVADA 200 TRAIL RIDE- HARDEN OFF ROAD AND TRAC-ON
OFFICIAL SPONSORS OF THE NEVADA 200
Title sponsor- Motion Pro
Best in the Desert
INSIDE BEST IN THE DESERT
Casey Folks was a man of many talents and he was best known as the father of Best In the Desert, the largest off road race series in North America. The BITD has enjoyed huge growth and just this past year has seen a 25% increase in entries. So far this year the BITD have drawn well over 1000 entrants and covers everything from trucks to buggies, quads, UTV’s and motorcycles. BITD is looking to expand even further with a focus of bringing motorcycles back into prominence and this starts with the 2019 Mint 400 which will include bikes for the first time since 1976 on their own designated motorcycle course. Now that Scot Harden has come on board as Business development/Marketing Director to help grow the sport and the series even farther.
ABOUT SCOT HARDEN
Scot Harden is an AMA Hall of Fame racer that has enjoyed a 40+ year career. With a racing resume that reads like a highlight reel, Scot has captured overall victories in 2 Baja 1000’s, 3 Baja 500’s, multiple major off-road desert overall wins, An ISDE Gold medal and part of the 1982 Silver Vase U.S. Trophy Team and Dakar Rally participant and finisher. His business career achievements mirror his racing accomplishments with stints as Sales manager for Husqvarna, VP and Marketing Director KTM North America and VP of Zero Motorcycles