How to Jump a 40-ft Tabletop with an Off-Road Race Truck

We go to VORE in Las Vegas to learn some high-flying technique.

byChris Cantle|
How to Jump a 40-ft Tabletop with an Off-Road Race Truck

There's a handful of dirt in your mouth, a four-liter Ford yowling behind you, and unfamiliar yaw triggering every alarm bell in your dazzled inner-ear. Then there's the jump, forty feet of low-orbit sphincter clenching; a vertical wall of dirt, getting closer and larger and more intimidating by the second; a driving coach from the Vegas Off-Road Experience who just keeps speaking calmly through the noise and static of the in-truck intercom.

Throttle out here. Track out to the edge. Hit this straight. Off the throttle earlier.

Lessons on the dynamics of these little trucks come quick on the short course. Our focus is on desert racing. Making the truck last. Smoothing out throttle and brake application. Learning how to get this broad, rear-engined truck with 24-inches of suspension travel and understeer for days to TURN, DAMN IT, TURN!

But you? You really, really want to try that 40-foot tabletop.

You start lining up on the jump from the exit of turn 2, tracking wide. There's a little lump halfway to the 40-footer that calls for a quick breathe off the throttle as your rear tires leave the earth. From there, you keep the truck to the right of the center line going over the jump—that's for track position at turn three.

The technique for the jump itself is surprisingly approachable. Carry full throttle all the way up to the base. I might back out of the throttle a little, but that's because I'm a chicken. Then you start your preload. Halfway up the face of the jump, a big prod at the brake shifts the weight of the truck forward, compressing the front suspension. Then you immediately let off and get hard on the throttle. As soon as you do, all that compression unloads and the front end rocks backward, just as it's leaving the jump. This rotation keeps the truck nice and level. Without it, you'll rotate forward and get a big, scary view of the track coming up to greet you before you lawn-dart straight into it.

Do it right and your ballistic arc is perfect. Long and low and flat.

Chop the throttle just before your rear wheels spin hard in the air, and enjoy your flight. You've got about a second of hang time to bask in before you have to get on the throttle, then hard on the brakes for the big banking of turn three.