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2002 Top Truck Challenge - In the Beginning

Posted in Events on November 1, 2002 Comment (0)
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Photographers: Ken BrubakerCraig Perronne

In The Beginning
After a no-holds-barred barbecue welcome dinner the night before, the competitors wake to a frenzy of measuring and engineering scrutiny. While this is easy for the competitors, it isn't for the judges. They are busy measuring average ground clearance, turning radius, approach and departure angles, and RTI. Once all the measurements are taken, our industrious judges spend some time crawling around, under and in every vehicle to score the quality of engineering of each. Then it's off to the photo shoot (the results of which you saw last month) and some time with the film crew for the Top Truck Challenge video. Check out page 84 of this issue to order this year's video-we promise, it's much better than last year's. Then we do the ride-and-drive portion of the competition, in which the judges ride in each vehicle to get an idea of its pavement prowess.

All of those activities pretty much burn up one whole day, and the fun doesn't start back up until the morning of Day Two, when the competitors meet at the Hollister airport, where we cordon off a taxiway to perform the acceleration testing. Since a balanced vehicle is important, we also see who has the best brakes and can go 40 to 0 mph the quickest. Once we're done, we head back up to the Hollister Hills SVRA to kick things off with the Tow Test, a brutal test of raw power, traction, suspension, and drivetrain strength.

In the acceleration test, the competitors like Jerry Cantrell stomp on the gas to see who can make it down the runway the fastest. Smoke and noise is always the result.
Acceleration
(seconds)
1. John's {{{Bronco}}} 12.51
2. Tim's Toy 14.00
3. Jesse's 'Yota 14.94
4. Corey's Chevy 14.96
5. Barry's Frog 15.37
6. Abba's Scout 15.47
7. Jerry's {{{Jeep}}} 15.66
8. Toby's Flattie 15.88
9. Bob's {{{Blazer}}} 15.94
10. Scott's Raptor 18.75
The braking test is straightforward. Each rig gets up to 40 mph and then slams on the brakes to try to record the shortest stopping distance. Being one of the lighter rigs of the bunch helped, as Jesse Haines was able to coax his Toyota down to zero mph in the second shortest distance.
Braking-40 to 0 mph
(feet)
1. Barry's Frog 63.11
2. Jesse's 'Yota 72.00
3. Scott's Raptor 76.20
4. Tim's Toy 76.50
5. John's Bronco 79.10
6. Corey's Chevy 79.40
7. Jerry's Jeep 86.20
8. Bob's Blazer 99.60
9. Toby's Flattie 116.40
10. Abba's Scout 145.60
For the tow test, the competitors get strapped to the heaviest piece of equipment we can find. They then have to drag it as far up a hill as possible. This year it was a three-axle dump truck, loaded. Total weight was 35,000 pounds.
Tow Test
(distance or time if full pull)
1. Barry's Frog 12.12 seconds
2. Corey's Chevy 13.09 seconds
3. Abba's Scout 113.10 feet
4. Tim's Toy 108.10 feet
5. Bob's Blazer 106.50 feet
6. Scott's Raptor 105.40 feet
7. Jerry's Jeep 103.40 feet
8. Jesse's 'Yota 95.{{{80}}} feet
9. Toby's Flattie 95.20 feet
10. John's Bronco 94.10 feet
Scott Godfrey's Raptor clawed for traction during the tow test, lifting its front wheels right off the ground. Scott was only able to get up 105 feet, resulting in a Sixth-place finish.
Ride and Drive
(Points)
1. Cory's Chevy 38.0
2. Abba's Scout 34.0
3. Jerry's Jeep 33.5
4. Bob's Blazer 30.0
5. Toby's Flattie 24.0
6. John's Bronco 22.0
7. Jesse's 'Yota 19.0
8. Tim's Toy 16.0
9. Barry's Frog 12.0
10. Scott's Raptor 7.0
Turning Radius
(feet)
1. John's Bronco 23.70
2. Scott's Raptor 27.60
3. Bob's Blazer 37.30
4. Toby's Flattie 39.30
5. Barry's Frog 39.70
6. Jerry's Jeep 43.11
7. Jesse's 'Yota 46.10
8. Corey's Chevy 47.00
9. Abba's Scout 50.80
10. Tim's Toy {{{62}}}.00
During the engineering judging, the competitors get a chance to explain how and why their vehicle was built. Then the judges look over every nook and cranny to rate build quality.
Engineering
(Points)
1. John's Bronco 45.5
2. Jerry's Jeep 37.0
3. Abba's Scout 34.5
4. Scott's Raptor 31.0
5. Toby's Flattie 30.5
6. Bob's Blazer 28.0
7. Tim's Toy 25.5
8. Cory's Chevy 25.0
9. Jesse's 'Yota 22.0
10. Barry's Frog 20.5
Barry's Frog, fresh from being shipped from Israel, showed an impressive amount of flex. It ramped out an RTI score of 982 on the 30-degree ramp, making it the third-flexiest vehicle of the bunch.
RTI/Wheelbase
(score/inches)
1. Toby's Flattie 1228/98.50
2. Scott's Raptor 1052/105.50
3. Barry's Frog 982/128.750
4. Tim's Toy 901/106.50
5. Jesse's 'Yota {{{900}}}/105.00
6. Jerry's Jeep 805/113.00
7. John's Bronco 791/108.00
8. Abba's Scout 673/104.00
9. Bob's Blazer 559/108.50
10. Corey's Chevy 514/117.50
Average Ground Clearance (inches)
1. Bob's Blazer 18.0
2. John's Bronco 17.6
3. Scott's Raptor 16.3
4. Jesse's 'Yota 14.7
5. Abba's Scout 13.7
6. Barry's Frog 12.8
7. Tim's Toy 12.7
8. Toby's Flattie 12.1
9. Jerry's Jeep 12.0
10. Corey's Chevy 11.8
Approach and Departure Angles (degrees)
1. Barry's Frog 105.0/107.0
2. Scott's Raptor 87.3/114.0
3. Toby's Flattie 94.0/97.0
4. Tim's Toy 70.8/95.0
5. Jerry's Jeep 78.5/87.0
6. John's Bronco 71.9/75.6
7. Jesse's 'Yota 69.1/49.4
8. Abba's Scout 58.7/54.7
9. Corey's Chevy 54.7/43.7
10. Bob's Blazer 51.8/46.0

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