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2015 Top Truck Challenge Rules

Posted in Top Truck Challenge: 2015 on October 13, 2014
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Revised March 4, 2015


Competing vehicles do not have to be street-legal, but you must present proof of vehicle liability insurance at check-in. Vehicles may consist of a tube chassis, factory chassis, or a combination thereof. The vehicle must resemble a mass-produced vehicle, though frame and body brand do not need to match. Body panels must include a complete factory-style front clip consisting of hood, grille, working headlights (no empty headlamp buckets), and fenders. The rear of SUVs and other vehicles must include factory-style fiberglass or metal body panels. Pickup trucks must have permanently attached fiberglass or metal bedsides or a complete, finished-looking flatbed. Unibody vehicles can be reinforced. All vehicles must have working taillights. Vehicles can be narrowed, dovetailed, bobbed, and/or fitted with an exocage. A firewall between the engine and passenger area is mandatory regardless of engine location. No tube buggies, back-halved, or incomplete-looking vehicles will be allowed. Hollister Hills SVRA has sound emissions limits and you can read them at

Each vehicle competing in Top Truck Challenge must have a properly mounted rollcage and seatbelts for the driver and spotter. Each vehicle must have at least one safe attachment point at each end, a front and rear locking differential, and at least two securely-mounted and easily accessible 10-pound ABC-rated fire extinguishers. A winch with a pull rating at least 1.5 times the vehicle’s loaded weight is required. Beadlock wheels are strongly recommended (but not required). The ability to apply emergency braking is required for all vehicles; pinion or driveshaft brakes (as with Rockwell axles) are permitted, so long as each driveshaft is equipped with a working brake. Rear lift blocks are permissible, but front lift blocks are not allowed. Rebar steering is not allowed. For your safety and the safety of others, nylon winch rope is strongly recommended (but not required). The use of helmets is required during competition, whether inside or outside of the vehicle, for both driver and co-driver.

The use of helmets is required during competition, whether inside or outside of the vehicle, for both driver and co-driver. The helmets must be intended for motorized vehicular use. DOT and SNELL are the industry standard and are acceptable. Helmets that are not allowed include bicycle helmets, construction hard hats, World War II aviation helmets, baseball batting helmets, skateboarding helmets, skiing helmets, and the like. If a competitor shows up with a helmet with any certification that we are unfamiliar with, the burden of proof will be theirs to prove the certification is motorsports related.Vehicles and safety gear will be inspected by Top Truck Challenge judges for compliance to ensure your safety and the safety of others. Vehicles or safety gear not in compliance will be given the opportunity to make the necessary corrections. If the corrections cannot be made before competition begins, the vehicle will be disqualified. You must compete in the vehicle you submitted for reader voting.

Tire size is unlimited, but tires must be DOT-compliant. These tires can be grooved or modified. No non-DOT-compliant agriculture tires allowed. The use of tire chains, bolts, screws, or studs during Top Truck Challenge is prohibited. So is use of Mattracks and/or similar products and hardware. Swapping between tire types and sizes during the event is prohibited. Tire pressure may be modified for any event. You are responsible for supplying your own compressed air. There is none available in the park. Liquid-filled and/or reversing tires is allowed.

The display of manufacturer logos, stickers, and other branded signage on competing vehicles is not allowed. Official stickers provided by official Top Truck Challenge sponsors are exempt from this rule.


You may service your truck in any manner you desire, but will forfeit your event points for any event in which you do not compete. The park has trashcans, but no means of disposing of hazardous wastes such as motor and gear oils, which must be captured and hauled out. You must safely dispose of such substances yourself.

Whenever you winch and use a tree for an anchor, you must use a tree protector. Failure to use a tree protector during winching will result in disqualification from the event during which the infraction occurs. When winching, the winch cable or rope must be properly affixed to the provided winch point or tree and team members must not be touching the cable or rope during the winching process. A team member pulling on the cable or rope or helping to act as an anchor to help free the vehicle while it is winching or under power is not allowed. A team member is also not allowed to pull or hold onto a rope or cable affixed to any part of the vehicle while the vehicle is in motion. A winch cable/rope weight must be used any time winching is taking place in case of winch cable/rope failure. Winch cable cannot be routed inside the vehicle passenger area to speed the winching process, though it may be wound around the front bumper or stinger.

Spotters may not hang on the outside to counter-balance or ballast competition vehicles. In the interests of safety, the spotter should stay clear of the competition vehicle and (when possible) in the driver’s field of vision

Be sure to stock up on extra food and drinks each day. Although lunches will be provided to competitors during the event, and we may have drinks available from time to time, consider each day a new trail ride and pack accordingly.

When traveling anywhere with the entire field of competitors, please make sure that the vehicle behind you follows the proper route at any fork or turn. On the dirt roads, travel slowly and leave space between your vehicle and the one ahead of you. When convoying from one event to another, there will be a staff vehicle to escort you as a group. Please follow that vehicle and always keep the Challenger behind you in sight at all times so everyone makes it to the next event on time.

Any section of the park that is marked by yellow tape, parked staff vehicles, multiple orange cones, or anything similar is to be considered closed and off-limits. Pre-running or pre-walking courses during the week of Top Truck Challenge without the consent of the judges is not allowed. Doing so will be considered unsportsmanlike conduct and will result in immediate disqualification from Top Truck Challenge.

At team check-in, each driver will be assigned four wristbands – one each for driver and co-driver, and two more for whomever the driver designates. Only those competitors and guests wearing wristbands will be admitted into the Restricted Area. The Restricted Area is defined as anywhere in the Hollister Hills SVRA other than the competitor campground. You may of course bring family and friends to Hollister with you, but unless you designate them to receive one of the four wristbands, they must remain away from the Top Truck Challenge Restricted Area for reasons of security and crowd control. Children under age 16 are not allowed within the Restricted Area (Again, the Restricted Area is defined as anywhere in the Hollister Hills SVRA other than the competitor campground) during the event at any time, and must be accompanied at all times by an adult, age 18 and over, in the campground. Prior to being granted access to the Restricted Area each person must show a valid driver’s license and sign a liability waiver. Additionally, a parent or guardian must show a valid driver’s license and complete a minor liability waiver for minors ages 16 and 17.

A schedule of events will be provided to competitors.

Also, because we are catering some meals based on a pre-determined head count, it is advised that you bring extra food for yourselves if you plan to have more than four people in your party.

The decisions of the judges are final. However, protests will be accepted if they are presented in a calm and articulate manner. They must include all the relevant details and a proposed course of action. Protests should be given to the head judge as soon as possible. It is essential that you follow all instructions given you by Top Truck Challenge judges and park personnel.

Unsportsmanlike conduct will not be tolerated. The severity of the offense will determine the penalty, which will range from points assessments to disqualification from the Top Truck Challenge.

Consumption of alcoholic beverages within the competition area at Hollister Hills State SVRA is prohibited by law. Use or possession of alcohol by any competitor or guest within the competition area at any time will be grounds for immediate disqualification.

Here’s the bottom line: just practice good old-fashioned common sense, observe the Golden Rule, keep a cool head, be friendly to each other and remember: Above all else, TTC is just for fun.

To ensure a fair experience for all, once a driver competes in Top Truck Challenge that person is ineligible to compete in future TTC competitions as a driver. The exception is an invitation to return for a special event, such as an anniversary competition. The driver and co-driver must be the only vehicle occupants during Top Truck Challenge. The primary driver of the vehicle is expected to be the driver whose name was listed on the official entry form. The co-driver may pilot the vehicle in the event of a medical situation or event clearly beyond the control of the competitor. Drivers and co-drivers must be 18 years of age or older.

You may use your co-driver or any other Challenger as a spotter for any of the events, but you are limited to one spotter per event. Staff members and judges will not serve as spotters unless you exceed a time limit and need to be extracted from a course.

To encourage good driving, each driver is eligible for our Driving Elegant award. This award is quickly defined as respect for the truck, environment, and others. It encompasses driving skill, spirit, sportsmanship, helping others where permitted and so forth (and your co-driver’s actions are included). Judges will be watching you both for the entire event.

All competitors will compete in the same class. There will be no separate truck and buggy classes at Top Truck Challenge 2015.

Top Truck Challenge will contain seven events (listed below, subject to change). All competitors will be invited to compete in each event unless they have been disqualified or their vehicle is inoperable. Following are the basics of each event. You will be given detailed instructions prior to each competition. Courses may vary from the description below.

The Tow Test is done by attaching your truck to a tow strap on a hill, with a significantly heavier vehicle attached to the other end (it will be in Neutral and on level ground). Points are based on how far up the hill your truck pulls the load, without losing forward momentum, stopping, or backing up. It starts with the tow strap taut. Running starts or jerking is not permitted. Vehicles need to have a center attachment point that extends no more than 12 inches from the rear-most portion of the vehicle. Secure attachment points are required. The judges will evaluate your attachment points prior to competition. Attachment points can be affixed to the frame or axle of the vehicle. The use of a counterweight is acceptable, however such use is subject to safety inspection. If the setup appears to be unsafe to the members of our safety team, you will be notified during the safety inspection. If you cannot produce an acceptable anchor point or secure counterweights in an acceptable manner, you will not be able to compete in the Tow Test.

The Frame Twister is a mix of concrete, rocks, logs, and water. You’ll be given approximately 10 minutes to complete the course. If you exceed the time limit, we will pull you out. We will have the course marked with cones to make sure you drive through the good parts, instead of around them. If the inside of one of your vehicles tires goes past the outside of a cone you will be disqualified at that point. Hitting a cone results in a 30-second penalty. Time will be added to your overall course time for any safety violations.

The Mini Rubicon is our man-made rock course. You’ll be given approximately 10 minutes to complete the course, with the fastest time winning. If you fail to finish within the time limit, your distance will be measured from the start line, and judges will determine the method for removing your vehicle from the course. Points are deducted only for safety violations. If the inside of one of your vehicles tires travels past the outside of a cone you will be disqualified at that point.

The Obstacle Course is timed and is a test of driver skill, traction, stability, and maneuverability. The course is marked with cones, and penalties in the form of seconds will be added to your overall time. Driving accuracy has equal importance to all-out speed. You will not be allowed to see the course beforehand. Cones appear at various places on the course. Hitting a cone results in a 20-second time penalty. If all four of your vehicles tires travel outside of a cone you will be disqualified at that point. You will be given approximately 10 minutes to complete the course.

The Hill Climb is a long vertical rise that is steep, loose, and littered with man-made holes. The event is scored for speed, with the fastest time winning. You will be allowed approximately 5 minutes to complete the course. During this time you can stop, winch, back-up, and reposition your vehicle as you deem necessary to maintain forward progress up the hill. Judges will only stop a competitor if they deviate from the course or if the situation appears unsafe. No crew or spectators are allowed on the course due to space constraints.

The Coal Chute utilizes a portion of the Upper Obstacle Course at the Hollister Hills SVRA. This man-made course has rock walls in excess of 7 feet as well as rocks and cement tubes. There is a 20 minute time limit. The course is marked with cones and if two of your vehicles tires travel outside of a cone, you will be disqualified. Safety infractions result in a two-minute penalty each.


The Tank Trap is our extreme trail, a very difficult and narrow uphill canyon with a series of mud bogs. It is driven (or winched) uphill, and is likely to include loose dirt, steep slopes, narrow sluices, deep water, and perhaps a loose tree limb, as well as plenty of poison oak everywhere. Prerunning or pre-walking the Tank Trap is not allowed. Each challenger will have 30 minutes to complete this event. This event is long and tiring and will take up the entire day Thursday. Pairs of cones appear at various places on the course. At least two of your vehicles tires must travel between the cones or you will be disqualified at that point. Prior to your run you will be required to remain in the competitor camp. Competitors who have completed the course are invited to watch the event from approved viewing areas marked with yellow caution tape.

Each event will be run one vehicle at a time. We reserve the right to amend the maximum allowed times or the event configuration at our discretion.

The starting order for events will be chosen in advance. You will get just one try at each event. Once the starting order for each event has been determined, no changes to the starting order may be made. You must compete in each event’s predetermined order. You may not swap starting order with another competitor. Any vehicle may opt to skip any event, for any reason, but will accrue zero points for that event. Any vehicle that is late for its starting position at an event will forfeit all points for that event.

Should your vehicle break down in the middle of a course during your run, and you don’t have the correct spare parts in your vehicle, you or a member of your four-person team will be allowed to return to your base camp to retrieve parts if you have them. However, the clock will continue to run during this time. Only the driver and spotter may enter the course. Competitors may also donate spare parts to other competitors during individual events. You can work on your vehicle if it is broken down on the course while the clock is running, but only the competing vehicles’ driver and co-driver are allowed on the course during the event and they are the only competitors allowed to be near or work on the vehicle while on the course.


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