YUCCA VALLEY — Blade Hildebrand, a Yucca Valley High School alumnus, is making a name for himself in the off-road racing community. After six months of racing with Stadium Super Trucks in North Carolina, he has been invited to compete at Dakar Rally in Peru next month.
The Dakar is an annual off-road endurance event open to amateur and professional racers from across the globe. Among off-roaders, it is considered the toughest race in the world as it tests driver endurance, navigation skills and on-the-spot problem solving.
The race has no track, but instead uses checkpoints across an open desert. It is up to the drivers to make it to the checkpoints before time runs out to stay in the race.
Hildebrand was invited to participate under the flag of his mentor, Robby Gordon. Gordon is an ex-Indy NASCAR racer who has a long history at Dakar and is the owner of Stadium Super Trucks.
“Everybody who knows this race knows Robby Gordon,” said Hildebrand’s mom, Tamera Hildebrand. “Blade auditioned for him last summer and he saw something in him and they have been working closely together ever since.”
Tamera Hildebrand said her son got his start in racing very early on, hopping on his first scooter at only 1 year old.
“By the time he could walk he could drive,” she said.
He comes from a family of racers, including his sister, Shelby Rae. At the age of 4 he began racing mini-moto, go-karts and BMX and in 2007 he was selected to participate in the KTM Junior Supercross in Seattle.
Blade continued to drive through high school, where he also played Trojan football. When it came time to decide what he wanted to do after high school, he was stuck between football and racing and while he was offered a football scholarship, he knew that his heart was behind the wheel, Tamera Hildebrand said.
In 2016 he won the Southern Nevada Offroad Enthusiasts Unlimited Class 5 unlimited championship and his first ever race in a single-seater class 10 car. This year he claimed eight top-five finishes.
He now races in seven cars, including a class 10, a class 6100, Gordon’s Stadium Super Trucks and a Pro Lite truck.
At the Dakar Rally he will race under the name Team SPEED with Gordon and fellow driver Cole Potts. He will be racing under the Super Truck category.
The race will begin Jan. 6 and will go on until Jan. 17. Follow the Hi-Desert Star’s coverage of the event to hear about Hildebrand’s race.