FourWheeler 18 talented drivers lay it all on the line at Top Truck Champions’ Challenge
Why Would anyone voluntarily return to the carnival of carnage known as Top Truck Challenge and willingly put themselves and their vehicle through the malevolent collection of off-road events, for a second time? What made ’em do it the frst time?
The answers to those questions lie in the minds of the competitors. These are people who relax by not relaxing. They’ve put heart and soul into building vehicles that are designed to be pretty much unstoppable off-road and they’re not afraid to use ’em. If these competitors existed in the 1800s, they would’ve been the ones to leave the comforts of civilization and point their horse west just to know what was over the horizon.
What we’re talking about here is the 20th anniversary of Top Truck Challenge (TTC), where we invited all of the past champions back to Hollister Hills, California, for an incredible week of unprecedented action that we called the Top Truck Champions’ Challenge (TTCC).
Since TTC’s inception in 1993 there have been 22 champions. How can there be 22 champions in only 19 years? Well, one year (2008) there was a tie for First Place and for two years (2010 and 2011) we had two classes (Truck and Buggy) that generated a First Place in each class. Of the 22 TTC champions, 17 of them returned to compete in TTCC this year! In addition to those from the west coast, competitors came from as far away as Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma, Idaho, Kentucky, Arizona, Montana, and Canada. We also invited one peer-chosen Four Wheeler reader to compete. After the ballots were counted that person was Ron George, former TTC ’07 competitor from Osceola, Iowa. For most recent competitors, TTCC would look familiar this year.
For those who competed back in the ’90s, things looked much different. Over the years we have streamlined the competition and we’ve eliminated boring events. This year, as in recent years, TTCC featured our seven signature events that included the Tow Test, Frame Twister, Mud Pit, Obstacle Course, Hill Climb, Mini Rubicon, and Tank Trap. Each of these events tests the vehicles and the competitors in a different way. You can read a description of each event on the following pages. And speaking of the following pages, that’s where you’ll fnd the details of how it all went down. You can read a play-byplay of how each competitor did in each event as well as what went wrong and what went right. Also included are quotes from some of the drivers after they had fnished each event. And speaking of events, we ran all 18 vehicles through six of the events and then the 10 vehicles with the most points (along with the voted-in rig) advanced to the Tank Trap for a fnal muddy, rocky, sweaty, dusty, off-camber shootout. We’ve included results for each event so you can see how each competitor fared and at the end of the story you’ll be able to see who left Hollister as the Grand Champion of the Champions’ Challenge.
We’ve featured the competing vehicles in the last two issues of Four Wheeler (October and November), so you already know that the past champions are returning to Hollister with some serious machinery. This event is no walk in the park. Competitors are being timed or their distance measured in every event. The days are long and the nights short. The pressure is unrelenting. But as we’ve said, these folks are hardwired for pressure like this. Some slithered, some slid, some slalomed, and some slammed, but no matter how they fnished they all did an amazing job against monumental challenges. The action begins on the next page.