Monsters are vehement and trucks can be intimidating huge. Put the two together and you have a machine that can make you feel like hell broke loose. Monster trucks are styled after the bodies of the pick-up trucks with humongous wheels and suspension. These trucks are often seen as car crushing machines and are popular for sports entertainment and competitions.
As popularity increases, the extremities of monster trucks keep on increasing and competitions involving monster trucks have now started ending with freestyle events. As monster truck drivers continue to push the limits, the number of fatalities and injuries keep on rising as well. This is a sport that involves great risk.
Modified pick-up trucks were becoming popular during the 1970s. Bob Chandler who had owned a standard Ford F-250 used to drive his car a little too hard and he often ended up breaking parts of the car. Every time he broke the truck he rebuilt it by making it a little taller and a little larger. He kept on rebuilding his truck till his tires were 66 inches tall. He named it Big Foot which became one of the first monster trucks. Other trucks that were becoming the focus of monster truck enthusiasts were Everett Jasmer’s USA-1, Bear Foot built by Fred Shafer and Jack William Sr. and Jeff Dane’s King Kong.
Bob Chandler shot a video in 1981 which showcased Big Foot driving over cars. An Event promoter convinced Chandler to do it in front of a crowd and he performed a few shows before his popular feat at Pontiac Silverdome in 1982.
For most of the early 80’s, monster trucks were mainly seen at exhibition which was a side show to truck pulling and mud bogging events. By 1985, monster truck racing started gaining popularity as major promoters like United States Hot Rod Association (USHRA) and TNT Motorsports started racing the trucks.
Bob Chandler, Braden and George Carpenter created safety rules to govern monster truck races. They formed the Monster Truck Racing Association which still plays an important role in sports development in the USA and EU.
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As racing gained popularity, teams began building trucks that were lighter and more powerful. Chandler’s Big Foot VIII was one of the best monster trucks which featured a full tubular chassis along with long travel suspension which used cantilevers as well as nitrogen shock absorbers in order to control suspension.
In 1991, USHRA purchased TNT Motorsports and soon championships began to grow in popularity. Freestyle exhibitions began gaining the attention on monster trucks as well and USHRA began holding freestyle championships in 2000.
Team Bigfoot – Owner, Bob Chandler is one of the pioneers of monster trucks. His team holds a total of 38 series championships. The team has focused on creating bigger and better machines which have continuously augmented the standards of monster trucks.
Team Raminator – Owned by Hall Bros, Racing, the Raminator Rammunition and Hosty Rammunitor are monster trucks that have garnered attention from the crowd which has been equivalent to the Bigfoot Team. The most prominent drivers of the team are Mark Hall and Geremie Disham. Other members of the team are Dale Benear, Mat Disham, Jim Kmiec, Mike Miller and Tim Hall.
Grave Digger – The team has nine members and their flagship driver is creator Dennis Anderson. It is considered as one of the most iconic teams. Anderson sold the Grave Digger Team in 1988 USA Motorsports which is now Feld Entertainment. Anderson is still one of the most prominent members of the team and continues to drive for Grave Digger.
The monster trucks are an iteration of the dune buggy. The fiberglass truck bodies used on the monster trucks give them their name. The trucks have a custom built tubular chassis along with four link suspension which provides up to 4 feet clearance. The engine is usually mounted just behind the driver and they run on methanol. The axles are taken mainly from military trucks or heavy built road vehicles. They are then modified to have a planetary gear reduction at the hub which allows the tires to turn.
For safety, the trucks are equipped with the Remote Ignition Interrupt which allows all power to be shut off in the event of a rollover.
Monster trucks have been involved in many accidents, one of these lead to the death of a 6 year old spectator when the child was struck by a driveshaft loop which flew into the stands. An event in the city of Chihuahua, Mexico, saw a monster truck drive into the public which resulted in six deaths.
Monster Truck is an exhilarating sport which has attracted the attention of many extreme sport enthusiasts.