Competition was fierce at last weekend’s Best In The Desert (BITD) Blue Water Desert Challenge, with 17 Class 1400 Trick Trucks battling for season points and the overall win at the two-day event. Steve Olliges and co-driver Jason Bateman were 13th off the line on Saturday in the No. 28 BFGoodrich / MasterCraft Safety Trick Truck. Despite heavy dust resulting from triple digit temperatures and no wind, Olliges was able to pass enough competitors to move up to fourth place on in Saturday’s standings. “I backed off when the dash lit up like a Christmas tree, but our Dougan Racing Engine never let us down after running in the red hour after hour,” Olliges shared.
Sunday, John Swift and Daniel Llewelyn strapped into the No. 28’s MasterCraft 3G seats for the final day of racing. John was not only able to maintain Steve’s strong position, but move the BFGoodrich / MasterCraft Safety truck up to third place in Class 1400 and third place overall. “Visibility was bad out there and I was passing blind at times,” Swift explained after the race. “The Trailready wheels and BFGoodrich tires took a pounding, but they never let us down.” This is the team’s second third-place finish in as many BITD races; their consistency has rewarded Swift/Olliges with a second place overall standing in the $134,000 Trick Truck Challenge Cup with one race remaining for the season.
Trick Truck wasn’t the only place that Swift and Olliges were passing the competition. The team debuted their stunning Mark Newhan-built Class 8000 ’79 Ford F150 at the Blue Water Desert Challenge. Jonathan Swift, son of legendary Ford Rough Rider John Swift and a burgeoning desert racer in his own right, raced the Class 8000 truck on Saturday. Jonathan was leading on corrected time before an errant rock flattened a tire, astonishing when you consider that this was a completely new truck that Jonathan had never even driven before! At the end of the day he lost nine minutes due to the tire change, putting the team in fourth place in Class 8000 on Saturday.
Steve Olliges swapped from the No. 28 to the No. 8028 on Sunday and made up some time to give the team a second place finish in class. “Starting two at a time off the line, we had a half mile drag race with Josh Thompson to the first jump,” Olliges recounted. “The Total Performance engine that Greg Grosset built was screaming but I wasn’t going to lift and neither was Thompson.” Swift and Olliges ended up besting most of the field, but Steve did experience a flat tire when moving out to pass Macrae Glass at triple digit speeds. While common in top tier desert racing, the flat ended up making the difference between first and second place in Class 8000, which was decided by a mere nine minutes after more than three hours of combined racing over two days.
Look for video footage of the Swift/Olliges team from Tuba Art Films in the near future at www.youtube.com/user/johntuba1. The next race for John Swift and Steve Olliges is Best in the Desert’s Henderson 250 on December 2-5. Meanwhile Steve Olliges is busy running Team Ford, the No. 1 volume Ford dealer in the greater Las Vegas area for the past four years. Team Ford has a strong commitment to the desert racing community, not only racing themselves but also selling more Ford SVT Raptors than any other dealership in the country.
The No. 28 Trick Truck is sponsored by:
BFGoodrich • MasterCraft Safety • Fox Racing Shox • Trailready Wheels • Team Ford
Marathon Sod • Impact! by MasterCraft • Dougan Racing Engines • Ford Trucks
Steve Olliges last won BITD’s Trick Truck championship in 2007 with his good friend Wayne Lugo. Steve has over 30 class wins and seven series championships to his credit in the Best in the Desert and SCORE International racing series. In 2000, Olliges partnered up with fellow Rough Rider Rob MacCachren to win the Best in the Desert Series championship in a class 7S Ford Ranger Edge. What began as a one year agreement to race Ford’s newly launched Ranger evolved into a five year partnership culminating in three championship titles. The two teamed up again to race the Ford F-150 SVT Raptor in 2009, showcasing Ford’s factory-built desert truck. Steve has been loyal to Ford throughout his entire racing career, and owns and operates the highly successful Team Ford dealership in Las Vegas, Nevada. For more information please visitwww.teamford.com.
About John Swift:
John Swift was introduced to the excitement of desert racing by his father Ray back in the ’60s when the sport was in its infancy. By 1984 John was already in the seat of his own race truck and well on his way to success. John’s weapon of choice was the Ford Ranger platform, which he used to win both the Baja 500 and Baja 1000 in Class 7 in 1989. John Swift’s success continued as he piloted his Ranger to another Baja 500 win in 1991, the year he joined the Ford Rough Riders. John claimed three successive Class 6 titles for Ford piloting his iconic Ford Explorer, making him the winningest driver for the Ford Rough Riders factory program. For more information about the Swift Racing legacy please visit www.swiftrace.com.
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