Trophy Trucks: the ultimate desert racers
What does it take to drive one at 140mph? Tom Ford finds out…
Posted: 02 Oct 2013
BJ seems happy, and is making encouraging grunty noises. Though the radio seems to be cutting out, so he could well be telling me to slow down. I'm not sure. So I speed up. This is a mistake. The first 10 bumps go exactly according to plan, and I start to get a feeling for what it must be like when BJ drives these courses for long hours. Experience and confidence is the key - hit these things properly, use the truck's ability, read the ground well ahead, and a Trophy Truck covers rough ground like nothing else. But it's a false sense of security. I hit one very slightly off-camber bump, and Fedor moves - very slightly - to the left.
Unthinkingly, and used to something conventional, I correct the incipient oversteer just as we hit the next bump. Which sends Fedor slightly further to the right. Within three bumps, I'm applying half a turn of lock per bump, the truck is slewing alarmingly, and we're doing over a ton. We are, by all accounts, in the shit. I've never been in a situation like this, in a vehicle like this, on terrain like this. I'm not sure what to do.
"Back off. You... can... back... off. Now."
The words are spoken with a strangely quiet, emergency calm, burnished with a burr of American accent, the unspoken "for goodness sake" hanging in the electronic ether between our comms-connected helmets. The blare of an all-but-unsilenced V8 changes pitch as I try to ease the throttle back out with as much delicacy as I can muster while jouncing across four-foot-high berms, and the monstrous, 110mph tankslapper I've just initiated peters out in an unwinding of the latent energy of the accident we were about to have. After all, if I'd gone much further sideways and clipped a bush or a rock with lock applied, disintegration would have ensued. We're talking barrel rolls. In the multiple. And the roof doesn't have suspension.