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So as we are approaching 25 years...

Bro_Gill

Well-Known Member
#1
Trophy Trucks will turn 25 next year. When they were first created to run in Class 1, they were awesome and soon, it was decided to create the showcase class for them, to highlight them and make it all about them. The idea was, that with a premier truck class that everyone could associate with, it would create a higher level of competition where the market would draw in bigger sponsors, manufacturer support, and Ford, Chevy, Dodge, GMC, Toyota, Nissan, etc... wold all become more involved than they had been in the past. We would see Desert Racing become a true professional autosport like NASCAR had become with its mainstreaming in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Well, what happened? Are we there? Did it work?
 

BajaFand

Well-Known Member
#2
Unfortunately one major thing that happened that killed factory participation in off-road was the creation of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck series which was ironically helped to be created by a number of off-road racers. Since then they haven’t really needed off-road to market trucks in Motorsports.


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#3
The 90's were really cool for off road racing. But off road racing being so niche probably doesn't yield a lot of return for potential sponsors and manufacturers. Toyota was in it to prove the worth of their trucks by dumping a lot of money into trick stuff with the ultimate goal of winning races and to be taken seriously as a manufacturer. The main competitor was probably Nissan by comparison, but if you beat the big 3 'murican manufacturers as well, obviously the big 3 have to respond with their respective checkbooks. Nobody wants to get beat by little asian mini trucks with 4 bangers and gutless V6s. Toyota did a really good job of developing the reputation they have today and their sales show that even now. ESPN pulling the plug on the television broadcast after a cameraman was killed was probably a huge deciding factor on a lack of manufacturer support. Why dump all that money into a sport that no longer is televised where Joe Blow can see it in New York City in all of its glory? Pure marketing. If you spend millions on one race that pays literally nothing, you'd hope to make several million in return from vehicle sales or at the very minimum having people all over the US see it on TV. Rather than just the spectators present because you know probably 95% of them are from California, Arizona and Nevada. TV would provide a much more broader, diverse audience. No return or limited return, move on to greener pastures.

I highly doubt that the ultimate goal of the McMillin's is to sell houses through their participation in the TT class. Today's manufacturer war is essentially an energy drink company war. Those companies are highly successful and all the big ones have their name on a TT. Energy drinks cater to younger, extreme sports type people, edgy bros who will buy their energy drink of choice because it's cool and the viral videos like Doonies, gymkhana, Recoil etc are cool in their own right and easily get young people's attention and sell product. Compared to other forms of motorsport, it's definitely way more affordable to slap your name on the side of a TT than anything else and still see a pretty high return. Especially if you consider that these drivers are already filthy, stinkin' rich and already dump lots of money into their own program without the help from said energy drink companies. You will not see manufacturers come back unless a TV deal is reached and/or the popularity of the sport explodes overnight. It won't sorry to say.
 

snoreracer

Well-Known Member
#4
Unfortunately one major thing that happened that killed factory participation in off-road was the creation of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck series which was ironically helped to be created by a number of off-road racers. Since then they haven’t really needed off-road to market trucks in Motorsports.


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This is so true , look at the start of the nascar truck series and look at the factory support for desert racing drop off the next year
 

Steve Marolda

Well-Known Member
#5
All of motorsports is in decline. From the start it has always been a technology war. And technology has finally won. As a kid I would wait anxiously for every Indy 500 just to see how much faster they were going that year. Every year it was an extra 2-3-4 mph. But not anymore. F1 doen't even tell you how fast they're going. Now everybody is trying to figure out how to slow the cars down. The driver is now the limiting factor and there's no more "show." No more reason to get excited waiting for the next speed record. NASCAR always knew it. They kept the cars simple and concentrated on personalities and putting on a good show. Maybe somebody will figure it out. I would much rather watch a driver try to make a 100 mph car go 120 than a 350 mph car go 300.
 

Gadzooks2

Well-Known Member
#6
The growth and mainstream popularity of Off Road Racing is directly dependent on how good the promoters are at selling the product to mainstream TV networks. From the beginning, they have had a product that is exceptional and exciting. Those of us that have participated in it understand that but no one to date has been successful at selling it to the networks. TV is everything when it comes to attracting money to the sport and the promoters so far have all been racers first. They have all been tremendous to the racers just dealing with the millions of details financially, politically and logistically involved in putting on these events let alone a series. But let's face it, it's all about selling and so far the key players have not bought in to it.
 

Josh 8

Well-Known Member
#7
Unfortunately one major thing that happened that killed factory participation in off-road was the creation of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck series which was ironically helped to be created by a number of off-road racers. Since then they haven’t really needed off-road to market trucks in Motorsports.


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You know. That is an incredibly accurate statement. And the irony in all of it is that the guy that owned Enduro racing is at fault. In some ways he is the worst thing to happen to off road racing.
 

scottm

Well-Known Member
#8
Well also the Macpherson accident, the Cal 200, the occasional fatality in Baja, etc. I'm sure it occurred to people at the OEM's that a $multi-million factory sponsored TT plowing through the crowd on Zoo road could be a public relations issue..
 

Bro_Gill

Well-Known Member
#9
Scott- Those are kind of spread out and, realistically, I think the sport was in decline prior to many of those incidents. I think the explosion of sidexside racing shows what the true growth aspect of the sport could be, more affordable racing classes. For most normal people, a TT, a spec TT, a Class 1, even a 10 is way out of reach for entry level racing. I think with some tweaks, several classes could become big growth classes. Change 9 from swing to IRS and single 2.5 non-bypass rear shocks and you reduce cost and make the car more approachable to the garage folks. Same with the 2000 class. Keep the frame, rear leafs, but eliminate the V8 mods in small trucks and I think you would see lots of growth there. And if we see a 'stock' type class for the sidexsides, my guess is it would be the biggest class going. Period.
 

NIKAL

Well-Known Member
#10
I don’t know if TT’s have really helped the sport? What have they done to better the sport as a whole? Off road desert racing was always about the challenge. Man & machine vs the environment. The old saying of just finishing Baja is no longer the saying anymore. It was not just about pure speed like it is today with the modern TT.

The biggest problem I see with the sport is it’s no longer politically correct. The idea that we use gas guzzling 800+ hp monsters with big tires & suspension, literally digging up the earth is not what todays Corporations want to be known or tied too. The Liberal agenda will boycott those companies and make headlines that the Corps don’t want to be apart of.

If anything I think the UTV market & classes will do more to help the sport then the TT’s have. Just look at what they have done in a short amount of time. Go to the Sand Sport Show this weekend and you will see the strength in the UTV market. You will never see that with the TT.

I’m surprised a manufacturer has not tied itself to Robby’s SST. SST showcases off road in very controlled environment that the masses can come to and see, and with the series piggy backing on other series only helps new eyes see the sport.
 
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Josh 8

Well-Known Member
#11
The other day I was with the owner of Enduro Racing and I asked him what the best time in off road was in his opinion. He said “when a guy could build some thing to race in his garage and then go out and be competitive”.

We are getting further and further away from that.

The secound issue with a tt is that there is nothing on one that is production for a manufacture to be proud of. Tt’s todays don’t even look like any thing. There ugly in my opinion. Utv’s are still some what identifiable. No matter how trick out one may be a bystander can see his UTV under all the race mods.

For a while now, I have been thinking that there may be an slight opening for a small resurgence in class 8. At minimum the trucks are based on production vehicle. And there identifiable with a manufacturer. I know, pipe dream.
 

J Prich

Well-Known Member
#12
Scott- Those are kind of spread out and, realistically, I think the sport was in decline prior to many of those incidents. I think the explosion of sidexside racing shows what the true growth aspect of the sport could be, more affordable racing classes. For most normal people, a TT, a spec TT, a Class 1, even a 10 is way out of reach for entry level racing. I think with some tweaks, several classes could become big growth classes. Change 9 from swing to IRS and single 2.5 non-bypass rear shocks and you reduce cost and make the car more approachable to the garage folks. Same with the 2000 class. Keep the frame, rear leafs, but eliminate the V8 mods in small trucks and I think you would see lots of growth there. And if we see a 'stock' type class for the sidexsides, my guess is it would be the biggest class going. Period.
Totally agree that the mini...really mid size truck these days could be a solid market for factory involvement but I think it needs someone with juice to steer it. 2000/7100 is still a little too grass roots I think to garner any real outside attention on it's own. But a 7100 ish class with support from factories and aftermarket manufacturers could be a thing in my mind if folks with connections to the right people were able to make that pitch. Even the stock class...7300 or whatever it is...the Camburg Tacoma never raced the Hall Chevy Colorado head to head but if you had efforts like those along with a new Ranger if/when it comes out, you'd have three production style trucks from different manufacturers that could potentially battle for supremacy in a way that could be marketable for them.
 

BajaFand

Well-Known Member
#13
Totally agree that the mini...really mid size truck these days could be a solid market for factory involvement but I think it needs someone with juice to steer it. 2000/7100 is still a little too grass roots I think to garner any real outside attention on it's own. But a 7100 ish class with support from factories and aftermarket manufacturers could be a thing in my mind if folks with connections to the right people were able to make that pitch. Even the stock class...7300 or whatever it is...the Camburg Tacoma never raced the Hall Chevy Colorado head to head but if you had efforts like those along with a new Ranger if/when it comes out, you'd have three production style trucks from different manufacturers that could potentially battle for supremacy in a way that could be marketable for them.
That used to exist, 7100 was equivalent to SCORE 7s and it was a healthy class with Ford support in BITD. 7300 as well as 8100 were both great thriving classes with factory support and good competition. So what happened? Why did all of that Ford BITD support dry up?


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J Prich

Well-Known Member
#14
That used to exist, 7100 was equivalent to SCORE 7s and it was a healthy class with Ford support in BITD. 7300 as well as 8100 were both great thriving classes with factory support and good competition. So what happened? Why did all of that Ford BITD support dry up?


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I'm aware. I don't want to spin this off in to a convo about 7100 because that's not the intent of this thread but as it pertains to factory involvement, Ford still does offer contingency for 7100 but for the class to really thrive I think it needs someone to herd the cats and seek money from more than just one manufacturer. With bolt on aftermarket kits being legal for the class now, there are a lot of potentially viable marketing opportunities for not just manufacturers but aftermarket product makers as well. But a handful of garage based race guys probably don't have the resources and leverage to spark the right conversations needed to make that happen.

The rules as they stand now still require a "mostly stock" ish looking ride but include the flexibility for racers to upgrade to more durable aftermarket parts. If the right people made the right pitch, I believe there is a chance that some of these companies to include manufacturers might see some advertising ROI value in the class again. But there is no captain to steer that ship at the moment.

To tie it back to the original topic, I think at this stage of the game as Bro Gill kind of alluded to, I think there is a better chance for manufacturer involvement to impact a production truck class like 7100 then there is in TT. I can't find anything on the dealer lot that looks like a TT but aside from fiberglass and bolt on parts I can pretty much see most 7100 trucks at every dealership in America.
 

9rocky

Well-Known Member
#15
What made our sport so awesome to us was always that you could pick a class that would match your budget. Anyone can race offroad, from class 11 to Trophy Truck, that was made this sport what it is. You could start in a entry level class and race with the big guys. If you worked hard and your position in life improved, or you were able to secure some sponsorship, you could move up to faster classes.

I think some people have lost sight of this aspect.
 

Zac Reish

Well-Known Member
#16
Too many threads about how off-road used to be better. On September 29th there is 21 class 5 racers that are true hardcore not silver spooned racers coming out to battle on 57 miles of un bladed rough Lucerne desert. We will be cheersing and talking crap before and after the race is over. You guys can keep having a pity party about the good ole days or you can come out and watch us race like they used to back in the 80’s and 90’s.
 

J Prich

Well-Known Member
#17
I would say that to the original question, whether the intended purpose was acheived or not I don't know, but the fact that TT's have endured and evolved for 25 years would have to fall in to the category of success I'd think.
 

Bro_Gill

Well-Known Member
#18
Hey Zac- Did the Trophy Truck class move desert racing up into a more professional auto racing program or not? I love class 5 cars, especially real ones, but that wasn't what this was about. But in that vein, How many races this year have had 10 class 5 cars racing?
 

ErikIrvine

Well-Known Member
#19
Hey Zac- Did the Trophy Truck class move desert racing up into a more professional auto racing program or not? I love class 5 cars, especially real ones, but that wasn't what this was about. But in that vein, How many races this year have had 10 class 5 cars racing?
Yeah, Zac!?!
 

Zac Reish

Well-Known Member
#20
I don’t think so. Tt (in my estimation) is 90% private hobbiest enjoying life. And I do t blame them. I think it’s awesome.

10 plus for class 5? This will be the 1st or 2nd this year after mint (I can’t remember mints entry but many class 5 guys got got boned because they were saving spots for utv ) and rage will Be 20 plus for sure.

I like the sport how it is. Yeah sponsors would be nice but I like how this is still the Wild West and they haven’t pussified the sport too much. If all the negative stuff was in front of everyone to judge we would have less than we do now to enjoy.

Count your blessings. Come watch a bunch of class 5ers battle in your backyard anywhere along the course you want for free!!
 
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