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Mud Racing - Flying Blind

Posted in Events on June 1, 2007 Comment (0)
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Photographers: Courtesy of Skyjacker SuspensionsThe AMRA

It is a great Southern inheritance and legacy. If you like to stomp the accelerator and head off in a whomping ride, mud racing has the action for you. These off-road racers gather up their barbecue pit, cooler, canopy, race equipment, and the rest of their clan to do battle on a muddy field of honor on a sunny Sunday afternoon in Louisiana. These adrenaline junkies take it to the edge in all-out action. It is a serious test of both vehicle and driver as they push it to the limits... and sometimes beyond. It is astounding to see these vehicles launch into motion at full velocity to quench their thirst for victory in this amazing mix of mud, water acrobatics, high horsepower, high speeds, and sheer thrills.

The guys and gals work hard for the chance to claim victory. These fierce competitors bring a strong desire to win. When these trucks, and the 60-plus others, engage for action at the starting line, their sights are set on crossing the finish line ahead of their opponent - and we get to stay for the show.

If you've ever wondered what it's like to travel at high speeds while maintaining a handle on the situation, you need to come see the action. Remember the last time it rained real heavy? I'm talking a big gully-washer that flooded what used to be a highway. Remember what you saw? Or didn't see? The wipers are running at warp speed, but the water just keeps blasting your windshield like a ruptured main. The road is there, but you can't see it for anything. That 18-wheeler passes you in the curve and explodes a huge tidal wave of water, road grime, and filth directly at you. You know you're going too fast, and that extra wave pushes your vehicle all twisted. The hydroplane effect follows and your gut reacts to the twist. You compensate for the slide, but you're not sure of the road or where and when it turns.

Now let's up the ante. Add tons of horsepower, up the rev limiter, and add some gooey Louisiana mud. Don't forget the guy in the vehicle next to you is aiming to knock you out of the game first like a fat girl in dodgeball. You're staring down a long straightaway. You can't tell if it's the rev chip making that much noise or if it's the beating of your heart - all you know is it is loud. The light turns green, and you're aiming toward a big water hole and a tight lefthand curve, but the guy next to you is fighting just as hard to get there first.

The next stretch could be slick and shallow, mushy and deep, or hard and fast. You try to flat-track the next curve (if you saw the animated movie Cars, it's where you turn left to go right) and fight out the remaining straightaway to the finish line. The feeling you get here is always more than you bargained for: It is excitement, anxiety, fun, delight, pleasure, and other emotions that you didn't think you had. It's like flying blind.

There are usually two people in the cockpit of these modern-day assault vehicles as they push the limits of man and machine around the racetrack. The pilot is at the wheel, and his focal point is the treacherous terrain ahead. The copilot handles the task of monitoring the instrument panel and serving as a lookout. He has to let the driver know of the other vehicles' whereabouts. The thundering engine noise and looming fumes from the alcohol-rich race fuel eliminate normal conversation. A specially devised sign language of simple hand gestures is usually developed between the two. The copilot shares his information while holding on for dear life as the pilot attempts to steer toward the finish.

As with any arena sport where competitors battle for victory, the spectators bring their rivalries with them as well. There's a love-'em-or-hate-'em attitude with the different drivers and race teams. Many avid race fans set up for the big tailgate party that lasts until the races are over.

With the help and support of the American Mud Racing Association (AMRA), the sport of mud racing is up and growing again. This sanctioning body is made up of racers, race fans, friends, and families with diverse and unique backgrounds but who all share a love of MUD. If you love mud, motorsports, and tailgating with your family and friends, you need to join in on the action.

If you're ready for more mud-racing action, race over to www.iracemud.com, the American Mud Racing Association's official website. Also check out Skyjacker Suspensions at www.skyjacker.com. Steer over to the motorsports section to learn more about Skyjacker's involvement in the sport of mud racing.

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