A near inundation threw the Las Vegas 300 an unexpected curve and at one point threatened to stop the race prematurely. But after some last-minute rearranging by promoter Casey Folks, round five of Best in the Desert's Silver State Series took place near Jean, Nevada, and saw Honda's Mike Childress and Steve Hengeveld team up to take their third consecutive series victory.
"I kept it running—that's basically what we had to do," Hengeveld said. "[My partner] went out on the third loop and just did the same thing, and we came away with the win today."
It was, however, anything but business as usual for the Childress/Hengeveld duo—or all other participants. The storm that began the night before continued and delayed the start by about 15 minutes, but even that didn't help much due to the dark clouds and rain that kept falling, though the lightning hitting the area would illuminate things briefly.
In fact, Childress felt it would be better to follow than lead in the opening miles. "We were gophering each other because the person who was leading, he couldn't read anything, it was so dark. All of a sudden you'd fly into a hole [because] you couldn't see them," he explained. "I just backed off the throttle and let those guys go.
"I went, 'I'm just going to take it easy until the sun comes up.' I took it easy all the way to the alternate pit [at mile 14], then after that I could start seeing pretty good so I stepped up the pace there and had a pretty flawless lap."
Indeed, from that point on, Childress and Hengeveld worked on putting down more flawless laps on their Scott Dunlavey-prepared Berkeley Honda/Precision Concepts/Dunlop XR650R, a job made easier after the rain finally subsided as the first lap wound down. That's also when Folks stopped the field out of concern for the dangers imposed by the rain.
However, instead of four laps of the 60-mile loop, the checkered flag came out at the end of three laps. Childress and Hengeveld were the first team to the finish of the shortened race, and their triumph gives them a virtual lock on the championship.
Due to the timing issues, official results weren't available immediately after the race, though Four-stroke Pros Luke Dodson and Matt Henderson moved into second overall on the final lap on their Sun Quest Air Charters/Barstow Motorcycle Center/Six Six One RM-Z450. That bumped Over 40 Pros Scott Glimp and Ron Purvines to third overall, unofficially, on their Motorex USA/Countrywide Estate Planning/Best Cycle KTM 525 XC.