Desert racing is the act of racing through the desert in a 2 or 4 wheeled off-road vehicle. Races, which generally consist of two or more loops around a course covering up to 40 miles, can take the form of Hare and Hound or Hare scramble style events, and are often laid out over a long and harsh track through relatively barren terrain.
Point-to-point–style races, including the famous Baja 1000, attract nationally ranked and celebrity drivers. This type of racing tests the endurance and capabilities of racer and machine, and while organized clubs or teams sometimes field multiple sponsored riders for particular events, desert racing in its purest form is largely an individual endeavor. Winning racers accrue points to advance their rank and placement in future contests.
Desert racing vehicles, which include rugged enduro-style motorcycle, four wheeled all-terrain vehicles, pickup trucks (like Trophy Trucks), and dune buggies, have specialized suspensions with increased wheel travel. The now-defunct Barstow to Vegas, which was held in the Mojave Desert from 1964 to 1989, was a well-known example of desert racing in North America. Desert racing, in its most organized form, began in Southern California in the 1920s.