The crash of an Air Force helicopter had an effect on the Best in the Desert Vegas to Reno race last weekend as it began in Lincoln County.

As reported in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, a Pave Hawk rescue helicopter from Nellis Air Force Base crashed during a nighttime training mission Aug. 18 at the Nevada Test and Training Range.

The article quoted an Air Force spokesperson saying, four crew members from the Air Force HH-60 helicopter, assigned to the 66th Rescue Squadron, out of the 23rd Wing at Moody Air Force Base in Valdosta, Georgia, “were transported to a local medical facility and are receiving treatment for minor injuries.”

The crash occurred about 10 p.m. at an undisclosed location in a remote part of the 2.9 million-acre military range.
The Air Force would not say the crash was in Lincoln County, although the location seems to indicate that it was.

Lincoln County Sheriff Kerry Lee said he was notified by the Air Force of the accident but was told it was not necessary for any emergency vehicles and personnel from the county to respond. Lee said the helicopter pilot was reported to have suffered a broken leg.

The crash thereby provided a final twist to the race finally being allowed to go through a southern part of the Basin and Range Monument.

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and the BLM had been pressured, even threatened with lawsuits, if the race were allowed to go through the monument. But Jewell did permit it with the stipulation that racers were to stay on existing roads and only travel at the posted speed limit of 35 miles per hour.

The crash caused Best in the Desert to have to alter the course, at the insistence of the Air Force, and race organizers made the change so that the race did not go through the monument at all. The racers were informed of that prior to leaving the starting line Friday morning.