Trophy Trucks: the ultimate desert racers
What does it take to drive one at 140mph? Tom Ford finds out…
Posted: 02 Oct 2013
The experience is like nothing else. Acceleration is forceful but not daft, and accompanied by the front rearing like a speedboat. Hit the brakes, and the bonnet points itself at the floor - literally at the floor. Tip into a corner, and the amount of drunken body roll makes it feel like the whole truck is about to pitch right over. The engine roars and spits, and you drive right over things that would have UK off-roading types breaking out the winches. Imagine, for instance, turning into a corner with the nose pointing at the deck and the rear two feet higher than the front. Then imagine a transition phase where the weight seesaws front to back by the same margin, and, as you accelerate, picks up the inside wheel. The truck then starts to drift, because you have 800bhp, RWD and a loose surface.
So you're on three wheels, tipped up and back and pointing at an endless cerulean sky, and drifting. Did I mention the bumps? You're also doing this over bumps. Big ones. And rocks the size of melons. It's like a computer game where the physics have been warped.
For the first 15 minutes, you find yourself bearing down on the harness, crowding around your core and preparing to get hit. Cringing, basically. Because if you drove into a six-foot-deep drainage ditch at 90mph in a normal car, you'd expect to have a perfectly fused spine a moment later. But in a Trophy Truck, it doesn't happen. The truck still takes hits, you still take hits, but you land as if falling into a particularly puffy crash mat. You just have to recalibrate what the vehicle is capable of before you can drive it properly, and, after about an hour, it becomes clear that this is a vehicle that requires a very special set of skills and experience to drive effectively. Neither of which I have.