News Racing

Uphill Sand Drag Trucks Make the Ram TRX Look Like a Power Wheels

They're a lot like rock bouncers, except they're fire-spitting Nissan Patrols that climb dunes in the Middle East.
An SUV races up Moreeb Dune
PeterBjorck on YouTube

You never get too big to play in the sandbox; you just need a bigger sandbox with bigger sand toys. That may be why the Middle East is wild for off-roaders of all shapes and sizes, especially the ones that climb dunes like a kitten climbs your leg when the can opener comes out.

Such dune trucks were filmed in action at Moreeb Hill Climb in the United Arab Emirates by YouTuber PeterBjorck, known for his Lamborghini V10-engined Volvo project. The race’s premise is simple: Send your truck straight up the side of Moreeb Dune, a massive mound of sand nearly 1,000 feet tall with a 50-degree slope. It’s a straight shot up the hill with runs lasting just a few seconds, making it effectively a drag race. Each competitor only gets two runs, which makes every last trip up the hill an eventful one.

Because the racing surface is both loose and sloped, acceleration is slow, and drivers have to spin their wheels to get the most traction. That also means it’s harder to keep control of their trucks, making massive wipeouts and rollovers not uncommon. Even if a driver manages to keep things straight, engine blowups aren’t rare either, even in naturally aspirated classes. In some cases, trucks just burst into flames and the blaze isn’t battled until someone shows up in a side-by-side with an extinguisher.

Maybe it’s just me, but if I were building a no-expense-spared race truck, I’d shell out for a less explodey tune. And probably some onboard fire suppression too. Then again, I’m not an oil prince with more money than I know what to do with. Because if I were, I’d at least bring something other than an RB30-swapped Nissan Patrol to the party.

Got a tip or question for the author? You can reach them here: