As they’re snapping the buckles to the five-point harness on me, I know there’s no turning back. I’ve squeezed into a flame-retardant suit, buckled up my helmet, and now I’m wedged into the seat of the AMSOIL TORC truck they use to take sponsors and media out for promotional rides. We haven’t even taken off yet but my heart is already racing and beads of sweat are pouring down my back.
Driver Rich Kulaf hits the ignition switch, the horsepower-rich engine snarls to life, the rumble of exhaust thumping through my chest. As soon as we’ve cleared the crowd, he gets on the gas for the first time, the front end rising and wheels digging in to the soft dirt of the Buffalo Chip’s new Powersports Complex. We hit the first turn at speed, Kulaf expertly counter-steering as the backside slides in a controlled arc before hooking up and blasting up the hill. This thing sounds angry every time he gets on the gas. He continues to attack the 1.2-mile course that’s been carved into the hill behind the Buffalo Chip, the truck seemingly floating over whoops and rises. While I was prepared for bone-jarring hits, the truck’s suspension is so dialed in the ride is surprisingly smooth. We breech a blind crest and I whoop like a cowboy on a bunking bronc, adrenaline coursing through my veins. Before the ride is over, I’m addicted to the rush of riding in a TORC truck.
It’s easy to see the similarities between TORC trucks and motorcycling. Motorcyclists love speed, high-performance machines and big horsepower. We can appreciate what goes into these trucks, from finely tuned suspension to nigh indestructible tubular frames to high-performance engines. When you think about catching big air and kickin’ up big roost, similarities between TORC and motocross come to mind. And Sturgis’ history is embedded in racing. Yes, it’s easy to see how the two could be good bedfellows.
The Sturgis Buffalo Chip and TORC entered their first year of a multi-year agreement during the 2014 Sturgis Rally. While passing storms may have hindered attendance the first day, yesterday seemed to draw a decent crowd. The parking area was filled with plenty of motorcycles. Alison Carter, an Associate Account Executive with TORC, said turnout was encouraging and will serve as a good building block moving forward.
While Mark Jenkins beat Johnny Greaves to the line the first day of racing to take the Pro 4 checkers, Greaves returned the favor on day two to win Round 12. Greaves heads into the final rounds at Crandon, Wisconsin, with a 34-point lead. Crandon International Off Road Raceway hosts the races Aug. 30-31 in what promises to be a grand finale.
Will TORC racing take off in Sturgis? We sure hope so. There’s plenty of crossover between the two. After getting to take a ride in a TORC truck, we’re hooked. It’s been a day since we got to ride and we’re still buzzing from the experience. We can’t wait to see you again next year about this time TORC.