IN THE DESERT
Vegas to Reno
August 18-19, 2017
BITD Vegas to Reno UTV Race
Las Vegas, NV (8/27/2017) - Best
in the Desert Series rookie Pro Turbo UTV driver
Phil Blurton showed his victory in the UTV World
Championship was no fluke as he won the prestigious
Vegas to Reno race. Blurton, teamed with co-driver
Beau Judge, overcame a tip over early in the race
to win the 500-plus-mile endurance classic in his
Can-Am Maverick X3 Turbo. The victory unofficially
puts him first in points with three races left in
the 2017 BITD calendar.
Phil Blurton Claims
2nd Straight Best in the Desert Pro Turbo UTV
Limit's Phil Blurton & Beau Judge secured
their second straight Best in the Desert
Win at the Vegas to Reno
With dry conditions leading up the event, the
race, billed as America’s longest off-road race,
turned into a dust storm early. Temperatures peaked
at 100 degrees after the UTV racers took to the
track at 11 a.m. and drove nearly 12 hours through
the desert between Beatty, NV and Dayton, NV.
Heavy silt beds challenged the racers, as did
several rocky sections, including the last five
miles, which looked more like a rock crawl than
a desert race.
Phil Blurton was the first SXS to leave
the starting line around 11am just outside
the town of Beatty, Nevada
Blurton started first, but clipped a tree and
rolled over 70 miles into the race. Luckily, a
Trophy Truck team came to his aid, got his machine
back on its wheels and he was quickly back in
Running a steady pace, he took the victory by
just over a minute ahead of Sven Ellstrom, Mark
and Ryan Holz in their Holz Racing Polaris RZR.
Logan Gastel was third in his Can-Am Maverick
X3. Monster Energy’s Matt Burroughs and Cain Smead
teamed up in a Can-Am X3 to finish fourth. Mitch
Guthrie, Jr. finished fifth in his Polaris RZR,
moving him back into points contention.
When he flipped, Blurton thought his race had
come to an abrupt end. He handed the lead to Wayne
Matlock, who subsequently fell back in the race
with mechanical issues. Brandon Schueler then
took the lead and was looking for his first victory
this year, but also suffered a mechanical issue,
which took him out of the lead. Meanwhile, Blurton
ran his pace. Despite losing 10 minutes due to
the crash, he stuck to his plan and it worked
“We thought the day was over, but there happened
to be a Trophy Truck there,” said Blurton. “We
lost five positions. The rest of the day, we had
no issues. We just put gas in it and drove it.
We just stuck to our game plan. We didn’t let
anyone push us. We knew a pace that would keep
the car together and we ran that pace all day.
There were a couple of times when people have
two or two-and-a-half minutes on us, but we stayed
with our pace.”
Preparation was the key to Blurton’s success.
The team, fresh off their victory at the last
race, completely stripped the car and rebuilt
it for the long race. They also worked on physical
conditioning, which is key to success in the grueling
event, especially because Blurton drove every
“We did a lot of physical training for this race
and a lot of preparation on the car,” said Blurton.
“We had a fresh car for this race. I was really
nervous about the race, and it really wasn’t as
bad as I thought it would be. The dust was awful,
but the race was good.”
Phil Blurton has taken over the Pro Turbo
UTV points lead with his second straight
Blurton’s co-pilot was a big part of the preparation.
Along with performing navigation duties, Judge
also prepped the car. His hard work paid off.
“No one can understand what actually goes into
this unless they’re actually involved in it,”
said Judge. “As soon as we finished the UTV World
Championship, this car was completely torn down.
I personally touched every nut and bolt on that
car to make sure nothing would fall off. I didn’t
want anything going wrong, so this was the most
nervous I’ve ever been during a race. I work on
the car, so I don’t want anything to come loose.”