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January 2009 Off Road News - Desert Dirt

Posted in News on January 1, 2009 Comment (0)
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We recently spent some time with the all new '09 Dodge Ram and let us assure you it's a whole new beast. As Dodge likes to put it; this is their "All-new, bold, powerful, 'get-out-of-the-way Dodge Ram design". This new truck also launches Dodge into the largest and fastest-growing part of the truck market with a Crew Cab model.

The HEMI engine is a 5.7L V-8 now providing 390 horsepower and 407 lb-ft of torque. The truck is also getting an estimated 4-percent increase in fuel economy over the previous model while providing best-in-class 0-60 mph times in less than 6 seconds.

One of the coolest new features we think is going to be a hot ticket for Dodge is their new Rambox cargo management system available in the all-new Crew Cab model. The compartment is located in the rear bedside and is weatherproof, lockable, illuminated and has a drain plug for easy clean up. We were able to stuff golf clubs, fishing poles, baseball equipment and ice and our favorite beverages inside our test truck's Rambox. With over 7.4 feet of cubic space you have more room than a 55-gallon drum in your bedside. That's impressive.

When Dodge first told us about the new coil-spring, multi-link rear suspension system we were a bit skeptical. Could they really ditch leaf springs in the rear and still retain a hauling capacity while towing? They did. The new truck drives like a sedan on the road, loaded and unloaded. The new suspension is also 40 pounds lighter than their previous leaf-spring configuration. Off-road the truck handled very well at both high-speed 2WD driving and crawling in 4WD low range.

Head on over to www.dodge.com for more information.

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The General Grabber competition tires take home their first win in the Trick Truck class at the BITD Vegas-to-Reno race finishing in Reno, Nevada. Rick Johnson of Team 71 piloted his General Tire Trophy Truck to a victorious win in this grueling race. "This race was incredible. The course was challenging, but the tires hooked up great," Rick Johnson said. "This truck was dialed in for this course and we are stoked to be bringing home a win for General Tire."

For more information, contact: General Tire, www.generaltire.com.

During the recent Pro 4 Class race (Round 9) of the CORR (Championship Off-Road Racing) series in Pomona, California, Kyle LeDuc, Rick Huseman and Curt LeDuc swept the first three podium positions on 35X12.50R17 Toyo Open Country M/T-R tires. Competing against a 15-truck field, Kyle LeDuc won the race by a margin of some 4 seconds. This was his first win in the Pro 4 class. Rick Huseman placed second, while Curt LeDuc finished in third. "Toyo gave us a great tire and we were able to capitalize on it," said team owner Curt LeDuc. "As a Dad, it was great to share the podium with Kyle for his first Pro 4 win. Including Todd's Pro 2 finishes, we scored 1-2-3 as a family this weekend."

For more information, contact: Toyo Tires, www.toyotires.com.

Ed Justice Sr., one of the three brothers who founded Justice Brothers Inc., died on August 30, 2008, due to kidney failure complications. He was the last surviving brother of the three who turned a small company into a worldwide manufacturer and distributor of car-care additives, lubricants, and cleaners. The company's products have found a home in our garage and, we are sure, in many of yours. Ed will be missed.

To learn more about the company and their products, visit: www.justicebrothers.com.

If you live in the southwest and read this magazine than you should know all about Tierra Del Sol aka TDS. The event has been held for the past 50 years and for most of those years, the Safari has been at Truckhaven just west of Salton City, California. Unfortunately, due to land ownership changes and environmental issues, Truckhaven has been closed to organized events and TDS was moved to Ocotillo Wells, California, in 2007 and 2008.

As of right now we are all hoping that TDS will return to Truckhaven for 2009 with a backup plan to return to Ocotillo Wells. We are sharing this information with you because you can help. Simply registering for the event shows participation which helps as well as following the event website at www.tdsdesertsafari.com.

TDS was originally started back in 1950s by a small group from the El Cajon Search and Rescue Team (SAR) of four-wheeling enthusiasts. Some of the original members include Joe Branch, Bob Londo, Bill and Doris Wynn.

If you have never been to Tierra Del Sol what you can expect is a weekend packed with both 4WD and 2WD fun. In 2007 the event held over 2000 guests with over 100 vendors on display showing their latest goods. If you sign up for the trail runs they leave each morning about 8 a.m. and usually last a good 4 hours. This year if the event does not make it back to Truckhaven, the event coordinators are promising to find more Truckhaven like trails for everyone to enjoy. Come on out, bring the family and have some fun.

Editor's Note: Submit your dirt to jordan.may@off-roadweb.com.

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