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7 Open/7200 Racing Class - First Of A Kind

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Kevin Blumer | Writer
Posted June 20, 2008
Photographers: Collette Blumer

Best In The Desert Rewrote The Rules

Holmes And Fourth Street Racing Show What's PossibleNew life. That's what the 7 Open/7200 racing class needed. Defined as an "open class for two- or four-wheel-drive mini or midsize pickups," the class label ostensibly presented the opportunity for fabricators and racers to build their trucks any way they wanted to. A look in the rule book told otherwise. There were plenty of restrictions. Frame material could not be removed. Engine placement was restricted to the stock location (plus or minus an inch). Track width was restricted to 78 inches. Faced with this set of restrictions, most 7 Open/7200 racers ended up building overly tall trucks with relatively (by today's standards) narrow track widths. Combine a tall ride height and a narrow track width and what do you get? Rollovers. Instead of building new trucks for 7 Open/7200 competition, racers began to look for other classes to race in.

Just when 7 Open/7200 seemed destined to stay stale, Best In The Desert Racing Association rewrote the class rules with bold strokes. It should be noted that Class 7 (aka 7 Open) is a SCORE designation, while Best In The Desert uses Class 7200 to describe its open mini or midsize truck class. Up until now, SCORE and BITD had essentially the same rules in Class 7 and Class 7200. The new Class 7200 rules are unique to BITD. As of press time, it is unknown whether or not SCORE will follow suit and change its rules for Class 7.

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What are the new Class 7200 rules?

"Engine is limited to a six-cylinder. Engine may be relocated on chassis as needed. There are no engine placement restrictions."

"Body must resemble a truck or SUV and must have emblem of manufacturer of type of truck (i.e. Ford oval, Chevy bow tie, Honda H). Track width is limited to 85 inches as measured from outside of tire to outside of tire."

"Maximum of three seats may be used, but must meet with Best In The Desert Racing Association approval."

Bolds strokes indeed! This new set of rules gives truck builders almost unabated freedom of design and construction. The new class warranted a new name. Class 7200 is now also known as Mini Trick-Truck.

Mark Landersman of Fourth Street Racing has had his eye on Class 7/Class 7200 for several years. On the way back from the 2005 Baja 1000 (see "How to Win a War," Apr. '06), Landersman observed, "I see a common problem in Class 7 Open trucks: It's that the rules aren't really open. If they were, I think I could build something better."

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Mark's Class 7200 plotting and planning kicked up several notches in mid '06 when BITD announced the new 7200 rules. The new rules meant that stock framerails could be dispensed with in favor of a complete tube chassis. The new rules meant that the engine could be shoved rearward in the chassis, or could even be mounted buggy-style at the rear. The new track width meant added stability in the corners and bigger suspension travel.

It's one thing to scheme and dream. It's quite another to take a dream and bring it to life as a functional metallic reality. Landersman had the plan, but he needed to find a client whose racing goals meshed with his. Enter Jeff Holmes of Holmes Racing.

If Holmes Racing has a familiar ring, that's because Landersman's shop, Fourth Street Racing, has teamed with John Holmes of Holmes Racing for several seasons to date. The Fourth Street/Holmes Racing alliance has netted championships, First Place finishes, and a few near misses during its joint racing effort. Jeff Holmes is John Holmes' brother.

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