Can-Am’s Latest Episode Features the Legendary Adaptive Racing Athlete
Can-Am is excited to share one of the most touching and inspirational stories in all of off-road racing, Chris Blais and his return to conquer Vegas to Reno. After suffering a career ending motorcycle racing accident there in 2007, and we are sharing that with you in this installment of the 72 Hours series.
Chris Blais is no stranger to being a pioneer, whether in two or four-wheel racing. Amongst his numerous accomplishments as a motorcycle racer, Chris was the first American to achieve a podium finish at the Dakar Rally.
While at the pinnacle of a professional motorcycle racing career, Chris suffered a career-ending spinal cord injury (SCI) pre-running the 2007 Vegas to Reno race.
After the injury, despite being dealt a difficult hand, Chris found his way into UTV racing in 2010, allowing him to rejoin the world he loved. He went on to find great success winning races, battling for championships, and showing the world that his injury would not stop him. Making him a pioneer of UTV racing and providing a path for other adaptive athletes to follow.
Chris Blais’ Background:
Chris Blais was born and raised in the high desert of Southern California by a hard-working blue collar family. At an early age, Chris found his way onto motorcycles and from that grew a passion for racing. Chris went on to make quite a name for himself in the world of motorcycle racing, becoming a highly-touted motorcycle desert racing specialist.
He raced and won numerous events like the Baja 1000, San Felipe 250, Tunisia Rally, and many others. In 2007, Chris became the first American to score stage wins at the Dakar Rally and earn an overall podium in the race on a motorcycle, finishing third. Just as he was hitting his stride on the global stage, Chris’ motorcycle racing career came to a screeching halt while he was pre-running for the 2007 Vegas to Reno desert race, where he struck a rock in a sand wash at high speed and suffered a spinal cord injury that left him with no feeling below the waist.
Despite the tragic injury, Chris was determined to make the most out of his new situation and find a way to get back into the sport that he loved, desert racing. Coincidentally, Utility Terrain Vehicles (UTVs) were just finding their ways into desert racing at this time, as manufacturers began producing sport UTVs. Chris jumped right into four-wheel desert racing and found success very quickly, winning the 2010 WORCS UTV Class 1 Championship, along with numerous other championships in series like the DP4 Off-Road series and Best In The Desert (BITD), leading him to join the Can-Am Factory Racing Team, making him one of the most successful adaptive athletes in off-road racing history.
In 2021, Chris went back to the Vegas to Reno BITD race, but this time in his Can-Am Maverick X3 and won the race that ended his two-wheel racing career.
Watch the full episode of Can-Am’s 72 Hours: Chris Blais at Vegas to Reno below…