One event that we need to see in person is Rodéo du Camion-style semi-truck drag racing. The premise is simple: two trucks hitch up to a B-train trailer setup that is weighed down with forty-five tons of lumber. The race takes place up a hill (the actual Rodéo du Camion race track in Notre Dame du Nord, Quebec has a 12% grade that the trucks climb up as they battle side-by-side, twisting frame, spinning tires, darkening the sky with smoke and generally making a spectacle out of freight haulage in the right way. And all of this must be done with a manual trans…there are no automatic transmissions allowed and may the crowd be merciful if you miss a shift. Right, like that’ll happen…you’ll hear the laughter and condescending comments the entire time you set up to finish climbing the hill nice and slow-like.
This isn’t Ottawa. This is Onaway Speedway in Michigan and this is the second running of the Great Lakes Big Rig Challenge. It was only a matter of time before this kind of diesel scene was going to make it down to the States, and Onaway Dragway has an uphill drag setup that works. Three classes of semi-tractors came out to play: A (open class), B (one 80mm turbocharger) and C (bone stock). That means everything from a truck that came off the road just to play for a weekend to a purpose-built monster was there on-hand to help move some lumber around to the delight of the audience. And that’s not all they did…but you’ll have to wait a bit to see more!