Desert storm 2016 will surely go down as one of the best Desert Storms of all time. From the street party to the after party, Desert Storm delivered on every level, so it was no surprise that the shootout continued the trend even after the official Storm had concluded. The shootout offers poker runners the chance to put up or shut up with and show what their rigs can do in a one mile course with the fastest driver crowned the King or Queen of the Desert. Normally scheduled to take place on Saturday, this years Desert Storm Shootout was postponed by, well, a storm. As a result, the shootout was rescheduled to run on Sunday morning, and what a difference a day makes! With sunny skies and beautiful temps there was nothing left to do but let the big dogs strut their stuff. And strut they did!


Many DCB's, Eliminators, and E-tickets ran some impressive numbers right out of the gate, but all the hype was surrounding just three boats. First in the mix was the 2015 record holder and defending King of the Desert, Low Altitude turbine Mystic owned by Win Farnsworth, throttled by Chris Kissinger and driven by Robbie Willis of Elite Marine. The next player was the team of Gary Smith, also a former King of the Desert, and Vern Gilbert of West Coast Drives running the ever-potent Predator Skater. Last but not least was the dark horse entry of Summer Richardson and the Dial 911 Skater.


With the stage set Gary Smith and Predator drew first blood with a 175 mph pass on radar. Eager to show the boys she was for real Summer Richardson's first run bested Predator's 175 mph with an impressive 176 mph pass and the race was on. Up next was the defending champ, Low Altitude. With a first pass of 175 mph it was clear that no one was laying down in the Farnsworth camp either. Just one mph on radar separated the three top contenders going into the second round!


Predator rolled on the throttles for their second run and the big Skater thundered to a new best for the day at 178 mph on radar. Summer Richardson gave a good run in her second attempt but wasn't able to best the number put up by Gary Smith in Predator and decided to call it a day having won the Queen of the Desert title and making a very respectable showing in her first shootout in the big Dial 911 Skater. Equally, Low Altitude was unable to improve on Predators speed in their second run seemingly having trouble getting the big Mystic to take a set. A third run missed the mark as well and Gary Smith decided to head to the dock.


No sooner had Predator gotten back to the trailer, however, and Low Altitude put up a new high number of 179 mph! Not one to shy from a little competition, Gary Smith launched again and headed back out to the course. In the meantime Low Altitude made one more pass and put an exclamation point on their previous run with a new high speed of 183 mph!
With little time left before the scheduled end time of 12 noon, Gary Smith had to get in position and post a big number. Predator shot down the course and blasted past the radar boat with a great looking run, but it would be Low Altitude's day as the Predator team was only able to squeeze 181 mph out of the fast cat.


The 2016 Desert Storm staff battled adversity in the weather this year, but came through with flying colors and putting on a stellar event that no doubt will be revered as one of the best ones yet. From the boating to the charitable events and the parties to the shootout Desert Storm 2016 reminded everyone why we love this sport so much! Congratulations to Win Farnsworth and his team for once again winning the title of King of the Desert!

Written by Tom Leigh
Images by Tom Leigh -