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Off-Road Racing Is On Target
By John Kilroy on February 11, 2013

If you’re in the business of auto racing, it’s a wonderful thing to witness a line of race vehicles for tech inspection that begins at 9 a.m. and keeps going virtually nonstop until past 5 p.m. That’s what happened at the Parker 425 off-road race earlier this month, in Parker, Arizona. We worked the midway on Friday with a PRI booth as part of our buyer attendance development efforts for this year’s PRI Trade Show in Indianapolis. It was great fun to watch the fans mingle with the teams right in front of our booth, as the race vehicles made their way to Tech Inspection. Well over 200 race vehicles were entered in the competition, with a record number of nearly 90 Trick Trucks and Class 1500 cars. The race is the kick-off event in the six-race schedule for Best In The Desert’s car and truck classes, and our exhibit space was organized by the Motorsport Industry Association.

There were plenty of industry exhibits in the midway. The attraction is the sheer number of race cars and racers. Because of the driver team aspect of off-road racing, the number of drivers on-site was in the neighborhood of 600. Furthermore, the sizable investment and the sophisticated technology in a race vehicle like an unlimited off-road truck holds major potential for racing companies seeking customers with bigger budgets and rules allowing for greater innovation.

Off-road racing is definitely a segment of motorsports that carries a high profile with many racing industry companies these days, with several series enjoying terrific car counts. Andrea Brake, PRI Sales Manager, worked the King of the Hammers event in Johnson Valley, California, the week after the Parker 425, and had a similar experience. There’s growing opportunity here. And we’re doing our part to connect racing parts suppliers with the top off-road teams at the PRI Trade Show in Indianapolis, where new racing product lines are introduced.

•     SEMA’s Efforts To Keep Johnson Valley Available For Racing: At the King of the Hammers, SEMA’s government affairs team were on the ground and in the air fulfilling SEMA’s commitment to keep the event’s location—Johnson Valley—a site for one of off-road racing best events. The land has been controlled by the Bureau of Land Management, but the Marines want to expand their base at Twentynine Palms to include nearly 147,000 acres within Johnson Valley in order to conduct large-scale training exercises for one or two months a year. SEMA has joined with a coalition of other land use groups in urging the Marines to simply obtain BLM special-use permits. Congress included a provision in the 2013 Defense Authorization Act that requires the Marines to study alternative ways to share the area with off-roaders without taking ownership of the land. The results of the study are due by April 2. The off-road community has also petitioned the White House for support of the special-use permit approach. Thanks in part to the SEMA Action Network, more than 25,000 signatures were gathered in a petition, requiring an official White House Response, which is expected soon.

Here's a link for joining the SEMA Action Network.

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