Ten questions for Top Truck Challenge 2013 alternate Rick Jensen, driving a '63 International Scout. Q What TTC event are you most looking forward to? A "I'm looking forward to the Coal Chute because it is new, relatively unknown, and most likely has some pretty wicked crawling." Q What TTC event are you not looking forward to? A "Frame Twister. MUD + LOGS = BRUTAL. Not to mention what you have to go through before and after the logs." Q When in a tough spot are you more likely to throttle out or think it through? A "I like to go for a little finesse at first. You know, try crawling it a couple times. If that doesn't work then its time to go for some momentum and wheel speed. 'Hammer down and hang on' is uaually my last resort." Q Are you making changes to your rig before TTC? A "I have to admit that it's been tempting to GO BIG- slapping on some 54-inch tires, adding horsepower, stretching the wheelbase, etc. Somehow I resisted the temptation and will be keeping the same basic setup I have been running. This decision was based on the theory that overall performance is a factor of not only the trucks capabilities, but also the drivers ability to push the limits of the vehicle. (Of course it has nothing to do with time, money, and stress involved with major modifiecations right before Top Truck). It takes some seat time to be comfortable with a vehicle and by the time major modifications were completed I would have little time to get to know the truck. So my plan is to keep the truck very similar to how it was in the magazine when the voting was done. I'll do the normal routine maintenance along with a few upgrades like tires and shocks. And of course waterproofing will be mandatory." Q How is your spotter/co-driver training for TTC? A "I have asked him to become proficient in the art of levitating a 6,500-pound truck that's dash-deep in a mud hole. I also suggested he may want to start sprinting through mud holes while trying to pull a knotted-up cable off a winch that has a sticky brake. He seem to think we should stick to more conventional training- like actually letting him drive the truck, or at least telling him which levers do what." Q If you could go wheeling anywhere in the world, where would that be? A "The Black Hills of South Dakota is one of my favorite spots to go. I really enjoy the rockcrawling, the people are friendly, the scenery is spectacular, and the trails change every year due to the spring runoff." Q What's playing on your iPod/CD player right now? A "Mainly classic rock with a little country thrown in the mix. Of course that's in the tow rig- on the trail I rarely have the tunes playing- I would rather listen to what my truck is doing." Q What was the last movie you watched? A "Company of Heroes." Q Do you have an aversion to poison oak, wild boar, or submerged engines? A "Poison oak: I'm hoping to avoid it altogether by asking for a volunteer (co-driver) when the time comes to slog through waist-deep mud, climb the loose bank, and claw through the poison oak in order to hook up a winch line. Wild boar: Can't say, as I've ever had anything to do with one, but if you're cooking I'll sure give it a try. Submerged engines: I've heard that once submerged, engines rarely overheat though I would rather not put that to the test. My goal is to spend as little time in the water holes as possible, or at least keep the top half of the engine above water level." Q What's one thing people should know about you? A "I'm a 'fixer', always looking for ways to make improvements to the strength, capabilities, and performance of whatever I'm working on at the time. I learned to drive in my dad's '62 Scout and thought it would be nice if it had a little lift, some more power, and maybe even power steering. Eventually I pulled the old parts truck ('63 Scout) out of the weeds and started tinkering with it. One upgrade led to another and the next thing I know I'm filling out a survey for Top Truck Challenge."
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