Watch Desert Racer Chris Blais Return to the Race That Nearly Cost His Life

In 2007, motorcycle racer Chris Blais suffered a life-altering injury that should have been a career-ender. Fifteen years later, he came back to conquer the race that nearly took everything.

Chris Blais was making his name in some of the most brutal desert motorcycle races in the world. Top American Rookie at the 2005 Dakar, fourth overall in 2007. Multiple podium finishes in the Baja 500 and Baja 1000. You get the idea.

Then, while pre-running the longest off-road race in the United States, Chris crashed. Ahead of the 2007 Vegas to Reno race, he suffered a life-altering spinal cord injury from the accident. The result: he lost feeling from the chest down.

Within months, the unstoppable Blais was riding again. On four wheels instead of two, thanks to the emergence and rising popularity of the side-by-side. Not long after, he was racing and winning again.

In 2021 he returned to the race that nearly took it all. The Vegas to Reno: 500 miles of Nevada desert, and as he’s already learned, unforgiving terrain.

Can-Am’s 72 Hours series brings us along with Chris into the cockpit as he prepared for it, and then headed back to the event with a specially modified Can-Am Maverick X3 including hand controls.

The event didn’t go smoothly; nothing like this challenge will. Brake issues and mechanical problems meant the run dragged long into the night.

You’ll have to watch to see how the race went and to hear Chris, his friends, and his family tell his story — a story of a racer who refused to give up on a dream.

Runtime: 16.5 minutes

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Evan Williams

Evan has been drooling over cars since the time he learned to walk. Since then he's worked on controlling the drooling and expanded his interests to include hiking, cycling, and kayaking. He went to school for engineering but transitioned into a more satisfying career and has been writing automotive and outdoors news for nearly a decade

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