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Ricky Brabec at the 2019 Dakar

Brabec leaves it all behind in Vegas with Mint 400 victory

Mar 152019

Las Vegas: a town that leaves and breathes on the roll of a dice. Since the 1960s and its glamour heyday the world-famous Nevada oasis has attracted a certain amount of daring, and in 2019 the Mint 400 desert race keeps that sense of risk and abandon alive and welcomed motorcycles back to the contest for the first time in 43 years.

Originating from the old Mint Hotel and thrashing around the landscape that surrounds the city, the ‘400’ reached a degree of status and notoriety that saw celebrities and iconic movie stars like Steve McQueen and James Garner taking part. In recent years the 400 has again grown in stature and joined events like the Hare and Hound, Baja and Las Vegas-Reno rallies as a focal part of the off-road calendar on America’s west coast. At last bikes were again on the agenda (the last time was 1976) and it was prime competition potential for one of domestic racing’s biggest names.

In the 2019 edition many eyes were on Monster Energy HRC’s Ricky Brabec. The Californian made his mark on the Dakar in January by becoming the first U.S. native to head the motorcycle category in more than half a century. Brabec was carrying good form and flew out of the traps at the start line in Primm (40 miles south of Vegas) to kick-off a tight tussle through the laps of the 80 mile course with Jacob Argubright.


“I nailed my start, nailed it getting into gear, and stayed consistent on the first lap,” Ricky offered-up. “After that, it got really rough out there. The course was really great. I thought, ‘wow, this is really fun!’ But we had some moisture this week and I knew it was going to get really rough. I had to push.”


It was a comprehensive and impressive victory to launch the 2019 competition roster that will see Brabec joining his factory Honda team to attempt Specials across the continents (the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship starts in Abu Dhabi at the end of this month) Back in the U.S. however the Mint 400 success further established Brabec as one of the most exciting names to watch in rally racing and as another hero that American fans can cheer both at home and abroad.