Designed to shrug off everything from impacts with boulders to shaky landings from barrel rolls, Baja trucks (nee trophy trucks) have what might be the most marvelous suspension in motorsport. Not only do these trucks' suspensions have to make multi-ton, often 900-horsepower racing trucks handle predictably, they have to do so over unforgiving terrain that's as suitable for racing as the surface of the moon is for farming. Nevertheless, trophy trucks manage to survive the hundreds (sometimes thousands) of miles of grueling racing in events like the Baja 1000 and Dakar Rally, all thanks to literal feet of travel and sometimes redundant shock absorbers, whose work can't be fully appreciated without the magic of video stabilization.
It's obvious enough from any old footage that these trucks' suspensions are as busy as a squirrel before the first frost, but when you use the power of modern video editing software to pin a truck's body in one position, the spring-and-shock sorcery becomes unmissable.
Even while traveling in a straight line, a trophy truck's heavy, nearly 40-inch tires—which can weigh close to 100 pounds each—can travel more distance vertically in a few seconds than a circuit race car's may over an entire lap. It's almost like watching the vehicular equivalent of a duckling's feet underwater.
Again, trophy trucks have to endure this punishment for many hours on end—the winning time at last year's Baja 1000, for reference, was more than 16 hours and 10 minutes. As anyone paid by the hour would know, that's more than a double shift of punishment, all without a proper lunch or bathroom break (not that you want your shocks to spring a leak). In fact, last year's Baja was so harsh that only 54 percent of the race's 264 starters saw the finish line, one of the washouts being a factory-backed Ford Bronco R, nearly of trophy truck spec itself.
And of course, now that you know what kind of punishment these trucks have to endure, there's no faulting Ford for its unfortunate DNF. Too bad there weren't more cameras on the Bronco R, or we'd have a lot more clips like these to get lost in. With all that's going on in the world today, most of us could use more distractions this good.
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