If you keep up with the Best in the Desert Racing series I am sure you have seen the #1 Trick Truck of Team Ford. A bright red Trick Truck is hard to miss even at 100 mph. I met up with the Team during the time trials for the Vegas to Reno race, to give you a behind the scenes look at what goes on before the race actually starts.
You might remember from the September 2008 issue that the Team Ford crew was nice enough to give me a ride in their Truck. I still cant get the smile off my face every time I think about it..oh sorry I got off track. Theres that damn smile again. Visit Trophy Truck Ride is case you missed it.
Lets face it time trials are not very exciting. It seems like it was more of a social event for racers than anything else. It is nice that Casey does this sort of thing, it sure makes for more exciting races.
After unloading the truck driver Steve Olliges suited up and climbed inside. Time Trials are a short course loop that took the drivers less time to complete than it took us to walk to the finish. After the second one was complete we headed to an area of Jean for a little testing.
Here are some shots of the action.
After the race we had a little Q&A session with Steve Olliges and here is what he had to say
Where did you get your start in desert racing?
When I was 11 my father brought me to the Mint 400, from that point on, I knew this is what I had to do. My first race truck was an early 70s Bronco.
How is driving a Trophy Truck different from any other off-road race vehicle? What must you do differently when you are behind the wheel or as co-driver?
Driving a Trophy Truck is different because things are happening so fast. In other classes I worried about some woops or obstacles in the road, now, I just want to know where the turn is, because the truck can drive through most anything. You really have to look far in advance; because youre covering so much distance so fast things come up on you quick. For example, you have to start turning well before the turn, or you will over shoot it.
Does Off-road Racing play a big part in your family life?
Yes. My wife and kids are my biggest fans. All of their T-shirts and sweatshirts are Team Ford Racing, BFG, Olliges Racing, etc. My wife has an off road Rhino with a race radio in it, and shell pack up the kids and drive them through the pits when I race to track my progress, and the kids have a blast.
What was your most memorable moment in your race career?
Winning the 1994 Baja 1000 in my class. 7 of us were so close in points the only way to win the Championship was to win the Baja 1000. Talk about pressure. Most of us were very close for the entire 1,000 miles. After winning the Baja and the Championship, I was offered a position on the famous Ford/ BFG Rough Rider team.
Because Trick Trucks are so fast what problems arise when you are racing with slower vehicles? How do you have to adjust your driving style to deal with these obstacles?
Usually they are behind us so we dont interact with them much, but on courses where we do encounter them, I remember very well what it was like to be in those classes so Im very careful not to hit them. There are times when they dont seem to hear the horn, and you have to give them a little nudge.
Along with the Team Ford Trick Truck, there is also the 7220 Ranger piloted by John Swift. For those of you who dont know this class, it is basically a Trick Truck in Ranger clothing.
John got his start in off-road racing by his father Ray that started back in the 60s. John got his first seat time in a Ford Ranger in 1984 that he raced until 1991. Then he joined the BFG/Ford Rough Riders Team in a V-6 powered Ford Explorer. With numerous wins under his belt, in 1994 John decided it was time for a new race truck. In 1995 he rolled out of his shop in a custom Ranger you see here.
Here are some shots we took from the start of the 2008 Vegas to Reno race.
I would like to thank all the people in the Team Ford Team for their hospitality, and for giving us a chance to get a behind the scenes look at what it takes to run a successful desert race team.
Yes there is the glory when you take the podium, what we dont see is all the sweat it takes to get there.
We here at Prerunner Maniac want to wish Team Ford the best of luck in the upcoming 2009 racing season.