An in-depth look at the second half of this year’s Top Truck Champions’ Challenge rigs
Last month we gave you a detailed look at nine of this year’s Top Truck Champions’ Challenge (TTCC) rigs. This month we delve into the second half of the 18-vehicle field.
What is TTCC? Well, this year marks the 20th anniversary of the legendary Top Truck Challenge, and to celebrate we’ve invited all of the past champions of Top Truck back to Hollister Hills, California, to compete in an unprecedented, history-making, weeklong mega-throwdown on seven of the gnarliest challenges known in the wheeling world.
Top Truck began in 1993 and it has morphed considerably through the years to adapt to the changing world of off-road competition. Nowadays, Top Truck is lean and focused. Competitors at this year’s Top Truck Champions’ Challenge will compete in our seven famous events consisting of the Tow Test, Frame Twister, Mud Pit, Obstacle Course, Hill Climb, Mini Rubicon, and Tank Trap.
Past champions are invited to drive the rig they originally competed with or something completely different. What’s interesting is that the majority of TTCC competitors have chosen to drive their TTC-winning rigs. Others have created new rigs and some have even borrowed rigs.
Over the next several pages you can read a detailed overview of the second half of this year’s TTCC rigs (in no particular order) along with some comments from the drivers. Next month we’ll roll out the monster TTCC story and it’ll offer a detailed look at how each competitor did in each event. It was an incredible week of competition that generated some mind boggling drama and action. Some of the rigs ended up battered and bent, so get a good look at these vehicles over the next several pages and in last month’s issue of Four Wheeler, because many won’t look this way for long.
Name: Dave Green
Champion in: 2009
Driving: 2004 homemade buggy
Dave Green made history in 2009 when he drove his diesel-powered buggy to a narrow win. Why did this make history? Well, up until that point all of the TTC winners had been driving gasoline-powered rigs. Green’s win was also impressive because he drove with 32 stitches in a few of his fingers after an unfortunate run in with his rig’s engine cooling fan the day before competition began. He’s coming to TTCC with his rig virtually unchanged from 2009.
Most memorable moment from 2009: “I guess it would be not being at the meet and greet BBQ. I was at the hospital in Hollister getting three of my fingers put back together.”
Wants First Place in: “Like almost everyone else said, Tank Trap (double points).”
“I have a great sense of humor and get along with almost everyone.”
Driver name/city: Dave Green/Red Deer, Alberta, Canada
Vehicle model: 2004 homemade buggy
Estimated value: N/A
Engine: 5.9L Cummins I-6, turbocharged
Transfer case: NP205, twin-stick
Suspension (f/r): Four-link, 16-in-travel King remote-reservoir coilovers, King bumpstops/four-link, 16-in-travel King remote-reservoir coilovers, Gen-X Machining bumpstops
Axles (f/r): 2½-ton Rockwell, Ouverson axleshafts, Detroit Locker/2½-ton Rockwell, Ouverson axleshafts, welded spiders
Axle ratio: 6.72:1
Wheels: 24x11 homemade double beadlock
Tires: 16.9x24 West Lake CB 538 agricultural
Name: Matt Thorson
Champion in: 2007
Driving: 2012 Thorson Hells Bells buggy
Back in 2007, Thorson won TTC with a tube-chassis TJ powered by a 502 Ram Jet V-8. He gathered three First Place wins, one Second Place win, and one Third Place win, which generated enough points to edge out the competition. This year he’s returning to Hollister in a brand-new, custom-built buggy that he hopes will carry him to the podium again.
Most memorable moment from 2007: “I won!”
Wants First Place in: “Tank Trap! It’s the most difficult.”
“Go big, or go home.”
Driver name/city: Matt Thorson/Santa Rosa, California
Occupation: 4WD design & fabrication/general contractor
Vehicle model: 2012 Thorson-built Hells Bells buggy
Estimated value: $200,000
Engine: GM LS9 376ci V-8, supercharged
Transmission: Norcal transmission-built TH400, B&M shifter, Setrab cooler
Transfer case: ORD Magnum Box, NP205
Suspension (f/r): Four-link, 14-in-travel Sway-A-Way RaceRunner remote-reservoir coilovers, Sway-A-Way RaceRunner remote-reservoir bypass shocks, Acme Rigging limiting straps/four-link, 16-in-travel Sway-A-Way RaceRunner remote-reservoir coilovers, Sway-A-Way RaceRunner remote-reservoir bypass shocks, Acme Rigging limiting straps.
Axles (f/r): Ouverson Violator housing, 2½-ton Rockwell gears, Ouverson Bull Gear Stud Girdle, Ouverson Violator Full Spool, Ouverson Violator axleshafts, Ouverson knuckles and “C’s,” Wilwood pinion brake/ Ouverson Violator housing, 2½-ton Rockwell gears, Ouverson Bull Gear Stud Girdle, Ouverson Violator Full Spool, Ouverson Violator axleshafts, Ouverson knuckles and “C’s,” Wilwood pinion brake
Axle ratio: 6.72:1
Wheels: 20x12 Stazworks interior beadlock, exterior rock rings
Tires: 54x19.50-20 Mickey Thompson Baja Claw TTC
Name: Jerry Duffy
Champion in: 2005
Driving: 1981 Jeep CJ-8
In 2005 Duffy brought his garage-built Scrambler to Top Truck and skillfully won four of our seven events including the gnarly Tank Trap. This 69-year-old retiree is making like a boomerang back to Hollister behind the wheel of the same vehicle he drove in 2005, albeit with a few changes.
Most memorable moment from ’05: “Most memorable moment was Ken Brubaker with mic in your face at the end of each event, or Water Hole 6.”
Wants First Place in: “First place in any one event would be the Tank Trap because it is the most challenging and the 20 points!”
“What you should know about me is my passion for Jeeps and wheelin’.”
Driver name/city: Jerry Duffy/Kimberly, Idaho
Vehicle model: 1981 Jeep Scrambler CJ-8
Estimated value: N/A
Engine: GM ZZ 502ci V-8
Transmission: 4L80E, TCI computer, Flex-a-lite cooler
Transfer case: Advance Adapters Atlas 4-spd
Suspension (f/r): Three-link, billet Currie Johnny Joints, 16-in-travel King Racing remote-reservoir coilovers, limiting strap/four-link, billet Currie Johnny Joints, 16-in-travel King Racing remote-reservoir coilovers, limiting strap
Axles (f/r): Currie RockJock, RCV axleshafts, ARB Air Locker, Howe hydraulic-assist steering/Dynatrac ProRock 60, RCV axleshafts, ARB Air Locker, hydraulic steering
Axle ratio: 5.13:1
Wheels: 15x10 Champion beadlock
Tires: 44x18.50-16 Interco Super Swamper TSL