Starting near Las Vegas and covering nearly 500 miles to the finish line near Reno, the grueling Vegas to Reno Desert Race takes racers through some of the most remote and rugged desert terrain in the country. Known as the longest and fastest one-day off-road race in the US, the 2022 racers faced one of the most challenging routes in its 26-year history this week due to monsoon rains and flooding in the area.
Going solo on his Husqvarna FR 450 Rally against 2 or more teams of riders, Skyler Howes iron fought his way through endless stretches of slippery mud, dust-like mud, giant rocks and deep streams to the finish line. When the dust settled, the Husqvarna factory star pulled out the win, the second of his career.
“I am very happy to win! Especially as a solo rider against other teams. The organizers did an incredible job of dealing with the difficult conditions – many of the dry lakebeds were full of water and much of the rest of the field was destroyed by flooding,” Skyler said.
To add extra interest to this year’s race, organizers have included the Open Pro class in qualifying for Thursday’s time trial. However, the extra challenge didn’t work out for Howes as a crash on the short three-mile loop saw the Husqvarna rider start the final pro entry in Friday’s main event.
Using both his skill and judgment to fight his way through the dust kicked up by the riders in front, Hawes made steady progress as the competition progressed. According to Skyler, he managed to make up some time by missing the gas stops other riders had to make. “By riding a rally bike, I was able to keep going longer without stopping for fuel and that helped to catch up with the guys in front. I was just riding my race and counting the miles. With a bit of cleaner air towards the end, I was able to make up the last few minutes I needed.”
Working his way to a strong position, Hawes found himself in clear air in the final 100 miles of the race and was able to make up time on his rivals. Ultimately delivering an impressively consistent and nearly flawless ride from start to finish, the FR 450 Rally rider was able to take the win by just over four minutes from FX 450 runner-up Dalton Sheary.
Skyler Hawes and the Husqvarna Factory Racing team will next take part in the third round of the FIM Rallye du Maroc World Rally Championship, which will be held on October 1-6 in Morocco.
Results – 2022 Vegas – Reno
- Skyler Hawes (Husqvarna) 6:33:30.442
- Dalton Sheary (Husqvarna) 6:37:34.732
- Joseph Wasson/Zane Roberts (Beta) 6:38:42.025
- Jeremy Newton/Taffy Pearson (KTM) 6:49:05.772
- Hayden Hintz/Trevor Hunter (KTM) 6:58:44.161
- Russell Tonium (Honda) 7:08:48.370