Mike Childress teamed up with Quinn Cody to make a memorable Open Pro debut, running away with the win at the Epic Racing Products Parker 250, the opening round of the 2006 Best in the Desert Silver State Series. Childress dominated the Four-stroke Pro class last year, and his entry into the premier division went nearly flawlessly, save for one flat rear tire and contending with dust.

After drawing the first starting position, Childress knew he had to take advantage, hoping the dust and rising sun would slow the rest of the pack, which started at one-minute intervals. He moved away immediately on his Berkley Honda/IMS/O’Neal-sponsored XR650R, finishing the first of three 75-mile laps with no one in sight despite having to replace the rear wheel. When Cody got on the bike, he had to fight through slower traffic, but he kept the team well in front, and they finished the 232 miles in four hours, 39 minutes and six seconds, unofficially.

With a number of teams dropping out due to mechanical problems or crashes, Paul Krause found himself running second overall for a very long time. Asked by defending 250cc Pro champion Elmer Symons to ride in his place for the points since Symons was in Dakar wrenching for James Embro, Krause soloed the race on his Malcolm Smith Motorsports/FMF/MSR KTM 250 XC.

But Krause acquitted himself well until he ran into a pack of ATVs and couldn’t break through their wall of dust for about 20 miles. That gave Brian Melsheimer and Jason Trubey the chance to catch up and then pass Krause in the final few miles to earn second overall, first Open Expert, on their Temecula Motorsports/FMF/Suspension by Jake-backed Honda CRF450X in 4:50:32.

Krause also conceded a spot to Open Experts Chris Ray, Jeff Trulove and Robby Woods on their FMF/GPR/IMS KTM 525 MXC. That trio finished in 4:57:41 while Krause clocked 5:01:20 for fourth overall, first 250cc Pro.

Open Experts Daniel Davis, Chris Garnett and Wade Phillips rounded out the top five motorcycles overall in 5:10:14 on their Davis Construction/RN Drywall/Firehouse Graphics Yamaha WR450F.

Defending race and series champions Johnny Campbell and Steve Hengeveld did not participate, though they had pre-entered. According to Honda’s Bruce Ogilvie, “Johnny’s role as a racer is being scaled back. He’s not retiring; he’s just going to be racing a whole lot less, and he’s moving more into a team coordinator role.”

Ogilvie went on to explain, “We’re going to have Steve and Kendall Norman do all the AMA/FMF Racing National Hare & Hound Series this year. Robby Bell] is going to branch out and do the WORCS events. I hope to be able to put a program together to have Mike Childress be our arm at the Best in the Desert events.” He indicated that Campbell and Hengeveld will compete at the next BITD race the Kawasaki Team Green Laughlin U.S. Hare Scrambles and round four, the TSCO Vegas to Reno. Honda will continue a two-team assault on the three SCORE Baja races.

Off-Road Racing News

Mark Kariya | Contributor

Kariya spends way too much time in the desert, but we’re glad he does as he’s the man who gets us our coverage of all things sandy.

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