The distance between relieved laughter and utter ruin is exactly two inches. Two inches of steering lock on an unlimited class Trophy Truck, when driving at 110mph across 4ft bumps, is where you’ll find the margin between a celebratory beer with new friends… and a week in hospital having a portion of Nevadan desert surgically removed from your face. I know. Because I’ve just been within those two inches, and they don’t feel like a very broad margin when things are going wrong. And, in a Trophy Truck, when things start to come unglued, they spiral very quickly indeed. Having failed to crash by the smallest of micro-margins, a hiss of quiet static fills my helmet radio. The man sat next to me, BJ Baldwin, champion desert racer, breathes out. It sounds like he hasn’t done that for the past 30 seconds.
“I have seen every end to that movie,” he intones, with the solemnity of a funeral preacher. “And it never turns out well.”
Pictures: Justin Leighton
This feature first appeared in Top Gear magazine