Big Bend Open Road Race

I totally digged this.

We were way the hell out in West Texas heading to Terlingua and the Big Bend National Park. Logistics on this particular trip dictated an overnight in Sanderson, Texas.  By coincidence I learned from our local Airbnb hostess that the 2018 Big Bend Open Road Race would be rolling through town on the same day.

This is a serious annual competitive motor sports event that’s been going on since 1998. It’s billed as “The Most Challenging Open Road Race in the World.”

The cops shut down the entire lonely US Highway 285 between Fort Stockton and Sanderson—a 118 mile round trip. It’s conducted in a rally like fashion. The closest average speed in each class wins. In the Unlimited class it is the fastest down and back. Cars regularly compete at speeds well in excess of 200 mph / 320 kph! Anyone 18 or older can enter the race.

Unfortunately due to timing I wasn’t able to view the cars hightailing it around the curves and elevation changes on the highway itself outside of town.  But I did get to check out these fine machines during the “turn-around” portion of the event when the drivers get a break and their racers are parked around the Terrell County Court house square in Sanderson.

Volunteers in the local community assisted with cleaning dozens of windshields while enjoying the festive atmosphere that the race brought to the town. There was food and music. Quite a scene in a town so small and remote that it doesn’t even have a grocery store, but a tiny roadside restaurant featuring a waitress who was packing. That’s another story.

It’s my understanding that proceeds from the race event go towards awarding college scholarships in Sanderson or Fort Stockton.

This CBS News video gives you a good flavor on how this goes down. Not sure I’d be the guy racing, but I wouldn’t mind being a passenger!  Maybe next year!

A few more pics. Not my best work as I had only about 15 minutes tops to check out the event before needing to head further west to Marathon.

I hope to return in 2019 and get up close and personal with the participants and their entry vehicles!