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2007 Top Truck Challenge - Muck, Sweat & Gears

Posted in Events on December 1, 2007 Comment (0)
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Photographers: The Four Wheeler Staff

Being chosen to compete in Top Truck Challenge is like winning the lottery. First, one experiences profound shock. This is followed by unrestrained elation. Shortly thereafter, the realization that nothing will ever be the same settles in. Eventually, though, you have to keep reminding yourself that you did in fact want this.

If Top Truck had a mission statement, it would include the words ultimate, diverse, and unforgiving (also soggy and itchy). In some ways, nothing has changed since Top Truck's inception 15 years ago. It's still a weeklong event held at the Hollister Hills SVRA in Hollister, California, and it's still hands-down one of the most brutal off-highway competitions in the world. But alas, over the years there have been some major changes. The most obvious are in the form of the competing rigs. Each year there are rigs that feature the latest and greatest in the ever-evolving world of dirt technology. However, techno-goodies don't always guarantee success, and over the years some mighty warriors have fallen. Shocker: Sometimes rigs sporting the simplest setups end up on top. Other times it's because of an often overlooked but critically important element called team strategy.

This year you voted in 10 radically different rigs from nine states and then many of you spent the next few weeks debating the outcome around the shop and around the keyboard. When the dust settled this year, there were big surprises, a fair amount of drama, inspiring teamwork, and of course, one Grand Champion. We've documented it all for you, and the action begins on the next page.



Hadden's S-10

What it is and how it works: The Tow Test takes place on a 164-foot-long dirt track. This is the only event at Top Truck that doesn't require competitors to battle rocks or mud. Naturally, we think a flat Tow Test track would be lame, so ours runs uphill. Each competitor gets one opportunity to tow our 40,000-pound water truck as far as they can from a standing stop. This year, no one got a full pull, so rankings were by overall distance traveled.

"I'm kind of disappointed; I was wanting a little better. But hey, we'll take it. We're here to have fun. This is great."
-Jeff Miller

"A lot tougher than I thought. We had a hard time to just get it moving to begin with. After that, we didn't gain anything."
-Ron George

"That was pretty hard. A lot harder than I thought it was going to be. I thought we would've done a lot better. We gave it all we had. That was it."
-Rick Johnson

"First event, still nervous. Once I get going, won't be nervous anymore."
-Justin Langford

View Slideshow

Fink's TJ: A Fourth gear start didn't work well, but a quick shift of the NV4500 to Third got it going. Lots of body twist from the supercharged 5.2L V-8.

George's Bronco: Fought to gather momentum at the start. Installed a rear suspension lock bar, but the soft coil-spring front suspension allowed axle hop late in the run.

Hadden's S-10: Had the power, lockers, and tires, but not enough weight. Lost traction and stopped halfway into the course.

Johnson's K3500: Good pull off the line with the Mickey Ts mounted in normal rotation. Hung to the right, but ended up on the left side of the course.

Langford's Bronco: The Holley-topped 460ci engine helped pull the rig straight down the track. Torque tried to lift the left front Claw near the end of the run.

McGilton's K1500: First competitor. Aired up the 54-inch Boggers in an effort to eliminate wheelhop. Hooked a little left at the end. Longest pull.

Miller's Sonoma: New 4-psi fuel pump wasn't putting out enough pressure, so the 502ci crate engine wasn't making full power. Stalled out at the end of the course and rolled backward slightly hurting the final measurement.

Rhodes' D-100: Aired down to 8 psi, the 46x19.5 Mickey Ts stuck to the track, but the 440ci-powered rig never really generated the momentum needed.

Thorson's TJ: Eliminated suspension travel by locking the rear suspension in place using homemade links that ran from the chassis to the rear axle. Locked the front by drawing down the front axle with the winch cable.

Wells' M135A: Slow but strong run thanks to the Detroit Diesel engine and tractor tires. A small amount of front-axle wheelhop near the end.

Thorson's TJ
RESULTS (distance traveled)
1 McGilton's K1500104 ft. 10.5 in.
2 Johnson's K3500100 ft. 3 in.
3 Wells' M135A98 ft. 10 in.
4 Thorson's TJ97 ft. 1 in.
5 Miller's Sonoma91 ft. 9 in.
6 Langford's Bronco{{{90}}} ft. 6 in.
7 Hadden's S-1086 ft. 10 in.
8 Rhodes' D-10082 ft. 7 in.
9 George's Bronco82 ft. 6 in.
J Fink's TJ82 ft. 2 in.

What it is and how it works: This course is the equivalent of high-impact aerobics for your rig. It's approximately 200 feet of mind-boggling misery that kicks off with strategically placed boulders, graduates to water and dirt, and concludes with its signature feature: logs placed perpendicular to the direction of travel over a deep water- and mud-filled abyss. Competitors are given 10 minutes to complete the course. Penalties in the form of seconds are assessed for infractions such as winching, hitting a marker cone, and so on. This year all the rigs that crossed the finish line were on the end of a cable.

View Slideshow

"Reminds me of my driveway in the springtime."
-Al Rhodes

"I thought I had it nailed. I don't think anyone has been through there without winching in what, 3 or 4 years? I thought this could've been the year."
-Ron George

"I'm still sweating from that one. That was awesome, just plain awesome."
-Wesley Wells

"That was my first time on rocks and I gave it my best shot. That's all I can do."
-Justin Langford

"Them danged 'ol rocks are bigger than we thought."
-Rick Johnson

View Slideshow

Fink's TJ: Couldn't find the magic line through the boulders. Tried powering through and bent both framerails after violently colliding with the rocks. Ended up out-of-bounds. Damaged an oil cooler line.

George's Bronco: Fast run through the course. Hit the logs at full speed in an attempt to jump over as many as possible, but took a bad bounce and went out of bounds.

Hadden's S-10: Damaged the body while blasting through the boulders. Got stuck in the logs. New winch rope wasn't tight on the drum, so the winch took a fair amount of time to pull the rope tight.

Johnson's K3500: While attempting to set up for a pivot maneuver in the boulders, it rolled onto the passenger side. The team chose to end their run.

Langford's Bronco: Got stuck in the boulders and almost rolled. After eight minutes, the rig was stuck sideways in the rocks with damaged shocks and a bent steering ram. Chose to end their run.

McGilton's K1500: Crawled the boulders with the left front Bogger high in the air. Tried to power through the logs but got stuck partially sideways.

Miller's Sonoma: Codriver stacked rocks to help the locker-less rig clear the boulders. Got stuck in the logs and eventually timed out.

Rhodes' D-100: Slow and methodical until reaching the logs, and then a huge burst of power resulting in big air. Team spooled out the winch cable beforehand and it got tangled up during the run, costing valuable time.

Thorson's TJ: Fastest run of the day. Slammed into the logs so hard that the driver bent the steering wheel and the rear end lifted skyward. Good teamwork resulted in a fast winch over the finish line.

Wells' M135A: Made it through the boulders without much drama. Tried to crawl the logs but got stuck. Quick winch work earned a Third place finish.

View Slideshow
RESULTS (time or finishing order if DNF)
1 Thorson's TJ2 min. 54sec.
2 Hadden's S-102 min. 59 sec.
3 Wells' M135A5 min. 40 sec.
4 Rhodes' D-1006 min. 37 sec.
5 McGilton's K15007 min. 22 sec.
6 George's BroncoDNF
7 Miller's SonomaDNF
8 Fink's TJDNF
9 Langford's BroncoDNF
J Johnson's K3500DNF
Fink's TJ

What it is and how it works: It's a 143-foot rectangular hole that contains a specially concocted blend and amount of mud that's designed to challenge even the stoutest rigs. It should be called the Wicked Wrecktangle. Clearly, the goal is to travel as far through the mud as possible. There is no time limit because the clock stops when forward movement ceases. Ranking is either by elapsed time or distance traveled.


"That's gooey, really deep, really deep. Our weight hurt us there a little. We had a good time and made a lot of noise."
-Philip McGilton

"Everybody rags on tractor tires for being hillbilly or whatnot, but in the mud, forget it."
-Ron George

"Good mud here. Good mixture. Ya'll got some concrete in there?"
-Justin Langford

"We were going until it almost flipped over, but I don't want to see my buddy in the mud face-first."
-Wesley Wells

View Slideshow

Fink's TJ: First competitor. Even with a good head of steam, the rig was quickly swallowed by the rutless mud.

George's Bronco: Horsepower, tractor tires, and light weight paid off big with a blazing run through the goo. Started in too high of a gear, but downshifted quickly and never looked back. Throttle stuck after crossing the finish line.

Hadden's S-10: Tried to hang to the left side of the course but got sucked to the right. Slower start, but actually gained speed as it progressed down the track.

Johnson's K3500: Great launch off the line thanks to the 454ci big-block and 150hp shot of nitrous. The heavy weight of the rig contributed to quickly being swallowed, however.

Langford's Bronco: With two new shocks courtesy of TTC sponsor Tuff Country and a mallet-straightened hydraulic steering ram, they were back in business. Good launch, but ended up being sucked into the deeper mud on the right side of the track.

McGilton's K1500: Even with 54-inch Boggers and plenty of horsepower, the heavy rig got swallowed in short order by the deep mud.

Miller's Sonoma: Completed the course even though the fuel pump wasn't up to snuff. During the run the pump starved the engine and it momentarily died. Miller managed to restart the engine and continue before the rig came to a complete stop.

Rhodes' D-100: Hung to the left side of the course and tried to ride the wall. Driver forgot to turn on the cooling fans and the heat blew a pinhole leak in one of the heater hoses.

Thorson's TJ: Hung to the left side of the track and turned the 502ci V-8 loose.

Wells' M135A: Rode the wall on the left side of the pit. The articulating chassis allowed the cab to tip far to the right. Driver stopped over rollover fears.

George's Bronco
RESULTS (time or distance if DNF)
1 George's Bronco12.25 sec.
2 Thorson's TJ14.00 sec.
3 Hadden's S-1017.75 sec.
4 Miller's Sonoma17.85 sec.
5 Wells' M135A121 ft. 4 in.
6 McGilton's K1500109 ft. 11 in.
7 Rhodes' D-100101 ft. 10 in.
8 Langford's Bronco100 ft. 11 in.
9 Fink's TJ69 ft. 9 in.
J Johnson's K350064 ft. 7 in.
Miller's Sonoma

What it is and how it works: Basically, it's the same convoluted, miserable quarter-mile course as last year. It's filled with mud holes, steep hills, tight turns, and various off-camber sections. Why mess with perfection? A 10-minute time limit means there's no time for lollygagging or sightseeing. Sure, speed is important, but so is obeying the scores of cones we use to mark the course. Hitting or squashing them results in a two-second penalty per cone.


"Tight for a truck this size, but it was fun anyway."
-Al Rhodes

"I wish we would've changed the hydraulic ram, but we didn't."
-Justin Langford

"We thought about it hard, and we communicated well."
-Donald Hadden

"That was awesome, we had a blast. That mud is a little deeper than I thought it was, obviously."
-Jeff Fink

View Slideshow

Fink's TJ: With semi-straightened framerails and a new supercharger fitting, he hit the course with a vengeance. No windshield wipers meant he couldn't see after blasting through the first mudhole. Had to back up in the second mudhole to get another run.

George's Bronco: Unwound the 420ci V-8 engine and blew through the course to earn the second fastest time. Only killed one cone.

Hadden's S-10: Ran much of the course in front-wheel drive. Codriver operated the twin-stick transfer case and the transmission shifter while the driver steered and operated the throttle. This allowed them to execute fast "burns" and other maneuvers in an effort to speed up their time.

Johnson's K3500: A failing torque converter in the TH400 forced the driver to attempt the course in Reverse. After a short time, the team chose to end their run.

Langford's Bronco: Entered competition with a semi-repaired hydraulic ram. Took some time to maneuver the tall truck around the low-hanging branch at the beginning of the course and had to make a few three-point turns due to the damaged ram and the wide turning radius of the rig.

McGilton's K1500: Driver made the massive rig look much smaller than it is. Fast run, but killed five cones.

Miller's Sonoma: Open diffs slowed the rig down in the ruts. Deviated from the course at the second mud hole and was DQ'd at that point.

Rhodes' D-100: Slow, calculated, drama-less run that netted a middle-of-the-pack finish.

Thorson's TJ: Fastest run of the event. Rear steer on the 2.5-ton Rockwell definitely helped in the tight turns. Penalized for hitting two cones.

Wells' M135A: Slowest run of the rigs that completed the course. Articulating chassis helped the large rig easily crawl through the ruts at the beginning of the course.

Langford's Bronco
RESULTS (time or finishing order if DNF)
1 Thorson's TJ2 min. 13 sec.
2 George's Bronco2 min. 16 sec.
3 Fink's TJ2 min. 37 sec.
4 Hadden's S-102 min. 56 sec.
5 McGilton's K15003 min. 51 sec.
6 Rhodes' D-1005 min. 38 sec.
7 Langford's Bronco5 min. 55 sec.
8 Wells' M135A7 min. 23 sec.
9 Miller's SonomaDNF
J Johnson's K3500DNF
George's Bronco

What it is and how it works: We should call it the Hell Climb, because it's more than just a hillclimb. This 600-foot course features a number of very unwelcome surprises. Not only is it steep, it's also curvy, and has nasty drop-offs and lots of loose dirt. Oh, and then there are the deep holes that are strategically placed to impede forward momentum. We thought that was a nice touch. The fastest time to the top wins. Rigs that cease forward travel before reaching the top are ranked in order of how far they climbed.

"I thought we had it whipped. We could see the top."
-Ron George

"We just kinda picked a gear and flipped a quarter and went."
-Donald Hadden

"We had enough power and we were able to get out of the gas when we needed to keep it in control, then we were able to get our momentum right back real quick and I think that really helped us. I was just looking at the sky, looking for the opening."
-Philip McGilton

View Slideshow

Fink's TJ: Low transfer-case gearing contributed to the fact that the rig never gathered adequate forward momentum. Got stuck on a dirt hill 152 feet into the course.

George's Bronco: Fast, clean run until approximately 61 feet from the top when they took a bounce out of the last hole and rolled onto the driver side.

Hadden's S-10: With the Fox coilovers swallowing the brutality and the driver demonstrating judicious use of the throttle, it earned the fastest time.

Johnson's K3500: Didn't run due to torque converter issues.

Langford's Bronco: Came into the event with a new steering ram. Great start and a big wheelie early in the course, but the hill's angle caused the carbureted engine to stall a little over 61 feet into the course.

McGilton's K1500: The supple four-link suspension with King coilovers helped the truck stay planted really well with little tire lift.

Miller's Sonoma: Left rear leaf spring broke 155 feet into the climb. This caused a domino effect of damage, including a twisted rear driveshaft and a broken U-joint.

Rhodes' D-100: Lost forward momentum 156 feet into the course.

Thorson's TJ: The rig's 502ci Ram Jet helped haul the TJ up the hill quickly and with no drama.

Wells' M135A: Lost forward momentum and got stuck a little over 62 feet from the starting line.

Thorson's TJ
RESULTS (time or finishing order if DNF)
1 Hadden's S-1043 sec.
2 McGilton's K150045 sec.
3 Thorson's TJ49 sec.
4 George's BroncoDNF
5 Rhodes' D-100DNF
6 Miller's SonomaDNF
7 Fink's TJDNF
8 Wells' M135ADNF
9 Langford's BroncoDNF
J Johnson's K3500DNS
Rhode's D-100

What it is and how it works: Not including the dirt access road, the course is 125 feet of boulder-strewn wretchedness. Sharp drop-offs and a miserable approach add to the fun. Competitors have 20 minutes to complete the course. Seconds are added to competitor's times for infractions such as hitting a marker cone, winch use, or winch safety violation.



"Good traction through there. I was impressed. It was a blast."
-Jeff Fink

"Another one of those neat deals where a big ol' mud truck can actually do a bit of rockcrawling."
-Philip McGilton

"No biggie, they grow '58 Dodge fenders on trees."
-Al Rhodes

"I was just the remote control. I was just an extension of him. I'm glad I brought the guy along."
-Ron George

"We ride rocks, but nothing like these rocks. Can't say enough about the competitors. Really appreciate 'em giving us a second run. Great sportsmanship."
-Donald Hadden

View Slideshow

Fink's TJ: Decent run with good driver/spotter communication and no winching. Only one 5-second penalty for the spotter exiting the vehicle.

George's Bronco: Tractor tires swallowed the rocks like they weren't there. Codriver never exited the vehicle. The only team to complete the course with no penalties.

Hadden's S-10: Suffered a flat tire when entering the course. Team chose to end their run. Other competitors graciously voted to let him run again after repairing the tire. Second run was quick with no winching.

Johnson's K3500: Did not run due to torque converter issues.

Langford's Bronco: First time on rocks for these Floridians. Ever. Driver and codriver switched shortly into the course. Stuffed the passenger door into the tree at the beginning of the course, which broke the window. Got hung up and bent the lower rear four-link bar on the passenger side. Chose to end their run 18 feet into the course after 12 minutes.

McGilton's K1500: Came close to rolling along the way, but recovered and completed the course with no winching.

Miller's Sonoma: Still sporting damage from the Hillclimb, the team came to the event with no rear driveshaft and the rear axle held in place by the winch cable. Traveled a little over 13 feet into the rocks to accumulate points.

Rhodes' D-100: About halfway into the course the front left wheel fell in a hole and the rig flopped onto the driver side. With 12:37 on the clock they were still trying to right the rig using the winch. They eventually recovered and crossed the finish line with only 1:19 left on the clock.

Thorson's TJ: Powered through the rocks in rock-racing mode. One 15-second penalty for hitting a marker cone. Fastest run of the event.

Wells' M135A: Driver and codriver stacked rocks along the way. Used the vehicle's winch to move two large boulders. Crossed the finish line with only 1:20 left on the clock.

George's Bronco
RESULTS (time or finishing order if DNF)
1 Thorson's TJ2 min. 50 sec.
2 George's Bronco4 min. 3 sec.
3 Hadden's S-106 min. 7 sec.
4 McGilton's K15008 min. 32 sec.
5 Fink's TJ8 min. {{{57}}} sec.
6 Rhodes' D-10018 min. 56 sec.
7 Wells' M135A19 min. 20 sec.
8 Langford's BroncoDNF.
9 Miller's SonomaDNF
J Johnson's K3500DNS
Fink's TJ

What it is and how it works: It's a quarter-mile of the worst terrain nature has to offer. What nature didn't make miserable, we did. We literally analyzed every inch of the 'Trap to ensure it was a challenge from end to end. Not only does it sport goodies like rock waterfalls, loose dirt climbs, insane off-camber sections, and our ridiculous water holes, it climbs 195 feet in altitude from start to finish. Strategically, this event is critical for the competitors because it's worth double the points of the other six events. This offers the opportunity to increase a lead or catch up. Each competitor is given 30 minutes to complete the course. Rules? Competitors must travel through marker cones when they appear. Other than that, the key is to survive.

View Slideshow

"I'm so out of shape. I didn't think I fell down quite that easy on my face. I'm exhausted. Even through all that, it was fun."
-Ron George

"We got a mud truck and we didn't even know it."
-Donald Hadden

"If we wouldn't have had any malfunctions it would've been a walk in the park."
-Matt Thorson

"That's a nasty mess down in there."
-Philip McGilton

"I think we picked the wrong line."
-Jeff Fink

View Slideshow

Fink's TJ: Winched through Water Hole 2. Entered the Canyon with 6:49 on the clock. While attempting to traverse Water Hole 3, the rig began to float. Contact with the left wall flipped the rig onto its passenger side, which immersed the snorkel, allowing water to enter the 5.2L engine. After several minutes of weighing options, they chose to end their run with 8 minutes left on the clock.

George's Bronco: First competitor. Originally slotted to run ninth, but swapped with Team Miller, who drew slot one. Broke the passenger stub shaft in Water Hole 2, which damaged the Detroit Locker and left them with no front axle power. Kept going anyway. Locker began working again and they regained use of the left front wheel in the Canyon. Driver and codriver swapped positions often to spread the workload. Completed the course with 2:25 to spare.

Hadden's S-10: Blew the return line for the hydraulic steering while leaving camp for competition. They quickly fixed the line but didn't have time to clean the fluid off of the engine. Four minutes into their run, the 454ci engine threw the serpentine belt in Water Hole 2. A quick fix had them on their way. Winched out of Water Hole 6 with 11:28 on the clock and finished quickly, earning the fastest time.

Johnson's K3500: Entered the event with a new torque converter. Winched out of Water Hole 2 less than 2 minutes into the run. Got stuck in the Canyon. Tried to power out and peeled the left front 'Claw from the Marsh wheel. Chose to end their run.

Langford's Bronco: Flipped onto the passenger side going into Water Hole 2. Spent the next 20 minutes trying to get the rig back on its wheels. Problem compounded by lack of snatch block. Chose to end their run with 5 minutes left on the clock.

McGilton's K1500: Tilted precariously in Water Hole 2. Stuffed the body into the Canyon wall, which broke the windshield. Kicked the broken windshield out and placed it in the bed. Winched out of Water Hole 3 and Water Hole 6. Finished the course with 1:22 left on clock.

Miller's Sonoma: With the suspension and drivetrain still damaged from the Hillclimb, they came to gather whatever points they could. Progressed 3 feet into the course and then chose to end their run.

Rhodes' D-100: Slow, but calculated run. They winched out of Water Hole 1 with 7:30 on the clock. With over half their time gone, they were stuck in the Canyon. While fighting to get out, they broke one of the front wishbone's spherical rod ends at the axle, which allowed the axle to rotate and bend three of the four shocks. Rigged the winch cable to locate the axle, but timed out.

Thorson's TJ: Blazing start that had them through the Canyon with only 1:30 on the clock. The steering pump grenaded in Water Hole 3 with the rear wheels cocked. Team had to crack the rear hydro lines so they could ratchet-strap the rear wheels straight. The electric cooling fans and the winch failed shortly thereafter. They chose to end their run in Water Hole 6 when the clutch became stuffed with sticks and debris and wouldn't engage.

Wells' M135A: Winched through Water Hole 2. Got stuck in the Canyon and began winching. With the bed tilted, the fuel pickup wouldn't pick up fuel and the Detroit Diesel starved. Team tried to winch further, but the winch burned up. The batteries died while trying to restart the engine. Timed out.

Langford's Bronco
RESULTS (time or finishing order if DNF)
1 Hadden's S-1013 min. 40 sec.
2 George's Bronco27 min. 35 sec.
3 McGilton's K150028 min. 38 sec.
4 Thorson's TJDNF
5 Fink's TJDNF
6 Johnson's K3500DNF
7 Rhodes' D-100DNF
8 Wells' M135ADNF
9 Langford's BroncoDNF
J Miller's SonomaDNF

On paper, Matt Thorson's big-block-equipped, Rockwell'd, four-link'd, coilover'd TJ rolling on 54s looks like a serious contender. On the trail, it proved that it is. Team Thorson won the Frame Twister, Obstacle Course, and Mini Rubicon, took Second Place in the Mud Pit and Third place in the Hillclimb. A strong finish in the Tank Trap sealed the deal. "It was great, had a great time," says Team Thorson codriver Steve Bray. "It was tough. Waterproofing is a killer, man. Ate us up. Luckily, we did good enough." Thorson echoed his remarks. "The biggest surprise was that stuff broke," he noted.

Team Thorson said that their plan was to stay consistent throughout the competition and for the most part they did just that. Their beating came in the Tank Trap when they suffered a litany of failures. Even so, their rig held together long enough to carry them to within sight of the finish line.

In addition to joining an elite club of Top Truck Challenge winners, Thorson says the team left with something very cool; "We got a lot of new friends."

FINAL RESULTS (points)
1 Thorson's TJ 68
2 Hadden's S-1066
3 George's {{{Bronco}}}60
4 McGilton's {{{K1500}}}59
5 Wells' M135A (tie)38
Rhodes' D-{{{100}}}38
7 Fink's TJ36
8 Miller's {{{Sonoma}}}28
9 Langford's Bronco23
J Johnson's {{{K3500}}}22

The following people were integral to the success of Top Truck '07. Many of them walked away from family and real jobs to spend a week eating, sleeping, and drinking Top Truck. Most of them left with only memories and an annoying case of poison oak. Others brought critical products or support items to the table. One thing they all have in common is that we think of them as members of the Four Wheeler family. Here's to you.

Official Judges: Tim Hardy (head judge), Dan Black, Toby Lavender, Jack Shelton, and Stan Pruiett

Official Scorekeepers: Dustin and Heather Chernoh

Official Extraction Team: Rodney Hill, Scott Shreve, Don Brown, Tom Kennedy, Chris Finstad, Jason Finstad, and Noel Chadbourne

Yamaha Motors for the use of the Rhino 660

Blue Devil Products for the Trail Pail Emergency Spill Recovery Kits

Silva Trucking and A&S Metals for the heavy equipment and operators

Emergency medical technician Mike Golub

Ned Bacon for designing and fabricating the winner's trophy

Mansmith's Barbeque for the absolutely rockin' food

Jacob Pacheco for the use of the sweet 5th wheel/toy hauler

All of the rangers and staff of the Hollister Hills SVRA including Chief Ranger Jeff Gaffney and Deputy Director, Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Division, California State Parks, Daphne Greene

Official Retailer: 4Wheel Parts, www.4wheelparts.com

Official Tire: Mickey Thompson Tires, www.mickeythompsontires.com

Official Suspension: Tuff Country Suspension, www.tuffcountry.com

Official Drivetrain: Yukon Gear, www.yukongear.com

Official Lubricants: Amsoil, www.amsoil.com

Official Bumper: Fab Fours, www.fabfours.com

From the moment we met him, we liked him. Noel "Dozer" Chadbourne was an alternate at Top Truck Challenge '06, and his enthusiasm was contagious. He threw himself into helping with Top Truck and was clearly happy to be a part of it. Fiercely proud of his family, his wife Debbie and their 16 kids came up in conversation often. Noel didn't get chosen to compete this year, but once again, he was there to help. Little did we know it was the last time we would see him. At the age of only 45, Noel Chadbourne passed away in his sleep Saturday, August 11, 2007. We will miss him greatly.

The perfect companion to this detailed story and our expanded Web coverage is the official 2007 Top Truck Challenge DVD. Think of these three as the Top Truck Trilogy. Shot and edited by our professional film crew, this action-packed DVD brings the sights and sounds of Top Truck right to your television. To get your very own copy, call 800/213-5668, visit www.4wheelparts.com, or get to your local 4Wheel Parts Wholesalers retail location.

Want more TTC? Want it for free? Get to www.fourwheeler.com and see even more images from TTC '07.

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