The Martelli Brothers recently announced that The Mint 400 and the UTV World Championship races will be sanctioned and operated independently in 2020 and beyond. The decision comes after nearly a decade of work in the sport as race promoters. Moving forward, their in-house team of off-road industry veterans will manage all aspects of their events including marketing, film and TV content production and race operations.
While The Mint 400 and UTV World Championship will no longer be exclusively part of the Best in the Desert points series, the races will continue to operate on similar dates as previous years, and under similar rules and specs for the race vehicle classes. The Mint 400 will move to Friday and Saturday racing in 2020. Entry fees will remain unchanged for 2020 and an early registration period will begin this summer at a discounted rate. The complete entry fee and payout schedule for both races will be released this summer.
“We’ve had a fantastic relationship with Best in the Desert and we’re grateful for all their hard work. We learned a lot from Casey and we miss him dearly,” said Matt Martelli, CEO and co-owner of The Mint 400 and UTV World Championship properties. “Moving forward, we want to implement our ideas and make off-road racing more visible to the world. This sport is dollar-for-dollar the greatest thrill ride on the planet. We have proven our capabilities on the marketing, media, and event management side, now it’s time for us to take control of our future.”
The Martelli brothers, who founded the motorsports production group Mad Media in 1995, purchased The Mint 400 in 2011 after producing groundbreaking television coverage of the storied race for several years. They brought the Mint to Casey Folks and his Best in the Desert series shortly after acquiring it, where the event ran for eight years. In that time, the Martelli/BITD team grew the event from a one day race with 200 entries into a four-day off-road festival with 550 entries and two days of racing – making it the largest desert race in North America. The UTV World Championship was developed in house as well in 2014 and has become the Super Bowl of UTV racing for the past five years, boasting over 400 entries in 2019.
“One of the greatest things about off-roading is that it takes you down uncharted roads into new and exciting territory,” said Josh Martelli, chief operating officer and co-owner of The Mint 400 and UTV World Championship properties. “That’s exactly what happened with us. When we were asked to cover the Mint in 2010 and again in 2011 we were pumped – and put everything we knew at the time into those TV shows. Eight years later, with the help and support of this incredible industry, we’ve grown two events into world class races with the highest level of competition coming from all over the world. But we didn’t do that alone. We are extremely grateful for the support we’ve had along the way and humbled by the feedback from our racers, partners and race fans.”
Bringing race operations in house will allow the Martellis to continue to develop their own race formats, rule book, class specs, timing and scoring system, race courses, and to renew their commitment to driver safety through their own emergency operations program. More details about the move will be published to The Mint 400 and UTVWC websites in the coming months.