Trophy Trucks are the fastest, meanest and most reliable racing machines in off-road racing. These vehicles undergo extreme punishment during off-road races like the SCORE Baja 1000. Trophy Trucks are built all the time, so when the Rigid Industry sponsored Trophy Truck driven by Justin Matney debuted at the SCORE Imperial Valley 250 race in September, it didn’t seem like anything new, until the word got out that this truck was quite different.
From the outside, the Rigid Industries Trophy Truck looks just like any other desert racing vehicle. The fact that it is all four-wheel drive, however, is a big deal in the world of SCORE desert racing. Most Trophy Trucks are two-wheel drive, but this is not the first time a four-wheel drive Trophy Truck has entered into SCORE desert racing. Nonetheless, all of the attempts have not been successful, so two-wheel drive Trophy Trucks remained the norm.
So why now? Improvements in materials and design have lead to another try at making a go at a four-wheel drive Trophy Truck. For SCORE Unlimited Trophy Truck racer Justin Matney, a veteran desert racer and one of the drivers for the RPM Off-Road racing team, the debut of the Rigid Industries four-wheel drive Unlimited Trophy Truck was a big deal. Unfortunately, a yoke sheared from the front driveshaft during the first SCORE race it was enterd in, which put the truck out of contention. Nevertheless, this prototype truck keeps getting refined with every race and will soon be a game-changer in the Unlimited Trophy Truck division at the 48th Bud Light SCORE Baja 1000 that takes place November 18 to the 21st in Ensenada, Mexico.
This state-of-the-art truck was built by famed Trophy Truck builders, Geiser Brothers Racing in Arizona. With their design knowledge, the race truck incorporates a Weismann transfer case and a Fortin front differential that sends the power to a Tubeworks front hub and CV assembly, that had to fit within the Trophy Truck’s chassis. “It was a tight fit,” said Rick Geiser of Geiser Brothers. But we mocked it up and got it all in there. To make everything work correctly, we had to move the motor back farther and raise it up a bit, but it all ended up working out very good.”
That motor is a Dougan’s Racing, Kinsler fuel-injected, 480 cubic inch engine that provides plenty of power and is designed to work well with this prototype drivetrain system. “This truck is a totally new creation,” says Justin Matney. “When RPM Off-Road owner Clyde Stacey and I first discussed this with the Rick and Jeff Geiser, we all knew that four-wheel drive was the future of off-road racing. Because of the 4×4 drivetrain, Rick and Jeff Geiser sat down, figured out a new program for this vehicle, and designed it accordingly. In the past, CV joints and wheel travel were a concern, but the truck is still a prototype. It did perform flawlessly at the Vegas-To-Reno race, but we’re still learning with it.”
With four wheels driving lots of horsepower Matney says that the truck has shown great potential. The added traction, however, makes this truck drive and handle much differently than what drivers like Matney are used to. “The truck feels completely different than anything I’ve driven before,” he says. “It handles so well, and it’s easier to get out of trouble in silt beds and water crossings because of the four-wheel drive. I have to get more seat time and fine tune the suspension to really see what the truck can or can’t do.”
Part of the truck’s success so far is in part due to the unique Tubeworks front hub and CV assembly, which is far superior to what’s been available to racers in the past. This allows the front drivetrain to remain reliable and yet provide greater wheel travel than other four-wheel drive Trophy Truck attempts in the past. This also allows the Rigid Industries four-wheel drive Trophy Truck to have 23.5 inches of working travel and same turning radius as a standard two-wheel drive Trophy Truck.
With the advantage of four-wheel drive, Matney is looking forward to attempting to win the 49th Bud Light SCORE Baja 1000, a race that every desert racer wants to have on his resume. Whatever the outcome, the Rigid Industries 4×4 Trophy Truck will compete in the 2016 SCORE Desert Championship season, and Geiser Brothers and the RPM Off-Road racing team are committed to seeing this project through. If they succeed, the four-wheel drive Trophy Truck will definitely be a game changer for anyone competing in any desert off-road racing event, and further showcase the ingenuity that desert racing brings to the automotive racing and aftermarket industry.