Off Road

Vaughn Gittin Jr. wins in desert racing debut

3 Mins read
Credit: Best In The Desert

Vaughn Gittin Jr. has raced and won in a variety of disciplines, ranging from the pavement of Formula DRIFT to the rocky terrain of Ultra4. Now, he can add the Nevada desert to his portfolio of successes.

Despite being new to desert racing and not being able to pre-run the course, Gittin won the Car/Truck overall in last Saturday’s Silver State 300. Racing a Ford Bronco nicknamed “Brocky”, his time of five hours, thirteen minutes, and nineteen seconds was 14:30 faster than the runner-up 6100 truck of David Ziegler.

“Brocky” usually sees action in Ultra4, a rock crawling series whose 4400 championship was won by Gittin in 2021. His team-mate Loren Healy, who has desert experience including the Baja 1000, retired with an engine problem.

“Super proud of our result, how I did. I drove just really flawless and clean,” said Gittin. “This endurance course of 264 miles was very rewarding to vehicle placement and my driving style. It was just super technical and tight and then technical and big and then just super fast. It was a lot of fun to use my entire skill set, everything I’ve learned in the drift cars and motocross and Ultra4, and apply it to this.”

The 43-year-old’s versatility has taken him from multiple disciplines even in 2024 alone. He finished sixth at King of the Hammers in February, then returned to California in mid-April for the Formula DRIFT season opener at the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach where the 2020 champion was eliminated by Nick Noback in the Round of 32. With the Silver State 300 out of the way, Gittin will return to Formula D next weekend in Atlanta.

“I was out in the car for six hours just running hard. It was just really unbelievable and just a good reminder why we work with the best brands in the business and make the best products to handle that load. I was just beating Brocky so hard, well over 6000 RPM the entire race. No drama, just fuel and go,” he continued. “It’s awesome to try new things and be competitive right off the bat, especially people that have been doing it for so long. It feels good and I’m super grateful.”

“It was an honour to have Vaughn race the BITD Silver State 300 as his first venture in off-road desert racing,” commented Best In The Desert CEO Bryan Folks. “I thought he would be competitive, but I was shocked by how quickly he adapted and made his stake in our space. I think we are about to see a lot more from Vaughn in the future to come.”

The Silver State 300 was the second round of the 2024 Best In The Desert season. Dustin Jones, who spoke with The Checkered Flag after being the first UTV to win a desert overall at the 2023 edition, finished fifth after struggling with multiple flat tyres but still won the Pro Turbo class. UFC Hall of Famer-turned-desert racer Donald Cerrone won in UTV Sportsman. Gittin’s Ultra4 colleagues Bailey Campbell and Cole Johnson duelled in the 4400 category, with the former winning out and placing third among all Car/Truck entries.

World Rally-Raid Championship regular Skyler Howes won among bikes in what he called a “really good shakedown” for the Desafío Ruta 40 in June. Mitch Guthrie, second in Challenger at the Dakar Rally in January, added another runner-up as he narrowly lost the UTV overall victory to Cody Bradbury by fifty seconds.

Class winners


ClassOverall FinishNumberCompetitor of RecordTime
Motorcycle 399 Amateur31296Cole Draper7:39:53.040
Motorcycle 399 Expert21225Josh Newsom6:45:02.093
Motorcycle Ironman Amateur23O63Kellen Davies6:54:32.751
Motorcycle Ironman Expert9O27Remington Mathews5:58:12.094
Motorcycle Ironman Pro8J33Chad Kenner5:56:13.197
Motorcycle Lites Expert15K124Ryan Gubler6:09:55.254
Motorcycle Open Amateur24368Craig Mcmillian6:58:45.358
Motorcycle Open Expert5327Ryan Wheeler5:33:01.353
Motorcycle Open Pro1N10Skyler Howes4:52:52.779
Motorcycle Over 30 Expert6510Morgan Schulz5:50:34.979
Motorcycle Over 30 Pro4P7Danny Cooper5:36:11.507
Motorcycle Over 40 Expert18712Eric Streich6:35:23.739
Motorcycle Over 50 Expert17863Dick Wilk6:31:53.650
Motorcycle Over 60 Expert16916Harold Harris6:31:48.308
Quad Expert27458Dakota Hibler7:08:18.371
Quad Ironman Expert28626Timothy Leavitt7:22:55.278
Quad Pro7Q2Bret Greenholz5:54:38.299


ClassOverall FinishNumberCompetitor of RecordTime
Class 1000 Limited51076Alex Welch6:13:50.346
Class 4400 Ultra434499Bailey Campbell5:46:23.619
Class 4600 Ultra4104693Josh Atteberry6:43:49.970
Class 4800 Ultra461717Johnny Valadez6:24:54.986
Class 6100 Spec26123David Ziegler5:27:49.499
Class 8148014Josh Bradfield9:17:09.078
Jeepspeed OutlawsDNFN/ANo FinishersDNF
SportsmanDNFN/ANo FinishersDNF
Stock Full-Size Truck141230Chris Woo7:26:46.235
Stock Mid-Size Truck117330Chad Hall6:51:15.607
Trick Truck442Ryan Prosser5:49:09.889
Unlimited Car11525Vaughn Gittin Jr.5:13:19.149


ClassOverall FinishNumberCompetitor of RecordTime
UTV Naturally Aspirated Pro13R105Jared Bryant6:14:47.996
UTV Open1H1Cody Bradbury5:09:08.332
UTV Sportsman14M214Donald Cerrone6:17:04.488
UTV Super Stock10S74Derrick Lutrell5:37:01.259
UTV Turbo Pro5T978Dustin Jones5:14:39.132


ClassNumberCompetitor of RecordTime
UTV Youth 1000610Mason Cotter53:17.930
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Justin is not an off-road racer, but he writes about it for The Checkered Flag.
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