PARKER -- More changes have been announced for the Parker 425 off-road race set for Jan. 14-16. In addition to moving the race entirely onto land held by the Bureau of Land Management, there will be a vehicle entry fee for spectators. Spectators will also be required to follow the protocols mandated by Best in the Desert Racing Association’s Covid-19 Mitigation Plan, including wearing masks and practicing social distancing on BLM lands.
Among the other changes, BITD said the move to Shea Road on BLM land also means there will be no time trials.
In a posting on their Facebook page, BITD said all spectators will be required to do the following:
- Pay a $40 entry fee per vehicle.
- Sign a release form
- Wear a supplied arm band at all times.
- Display a BITD spectator sticker in their vehicle window.
- Abide by the Parker 425 covid-19 mitigation plan
Masks and other coronavirus protocols are recommended for the events scheduled from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 14, in downtown Parker, including registration, the Event Expo, Technical Inspection, and the Downtown Experience street fair. However, face masks will be mandatory at all race events on BLM land.
“You will be asked to leave if you do not follow these simple rules,” a statement on the BITD’s Facebook page says. “No exceptions.”
Race Operations Manager Jeff Phillips said the mandatory drivers’ meeting will be held virtually on-line, and technical inspection will be strictly a drive-through affair.
Checkpoints will be set up on both Shea Road and Swansea Road leading to the pit and spectator areas. There will be separate lanes for racers and spectators. Racers will be on the left, and spectators on the right. Arm bands and window stickers will be required to pass the checkpoints. Visitors can pick these up at registration.
BITD explained that the move to Shea Road means they will not be able to hold time trials this year because the area is only closed for the two days of racing.
On Dec. 29, Colorado River Indian Tribes announced the closure of tribal lands where the races were scheduled because of a new rise in the number of coronavirus cases among tribal members. BITD had a contingency plan to hold the race entirely on BLM land. The new starting line will be on Shea Road above Osborne Wash, which is near where the starting line for the old Parker 400 was located. The race itself has been shortened by about 25 miles.
The race will not be able to start on California Avenue in downtown Parker because this would mean the racers would have to traverse Tribal land to get to the course. The Parker Python and the main pit area, events that are traditionally popular with spectators and campers, will not be available as they sit on Tribal land near Avi Suquilla Airport.
The BlueWater Resort & Casino is open, but all special events have been cancelled until further notice. As a result, registration, contingency and technical inspection, which had been held at the BlueWater since 2003, have been moved to downtown Parker.