It had its genesis back in the early days of the sport. First time most people saw it this thing was a red-over-white flash bellowing through sand tracks in Woodhill Forest. Built by Mike Parkes as a Holden Rodeo, this truck had a mighty V8 and auto tucked in its frame and it was fast.
Next time we saw it, it was a Chev and it was still mighty. Still a V8 – of course – it progressed down the years until the new breed of V8 race truck started to appear. Ant George had it for some time but it never seemed to quite hit its full potential up in the sands of Woodhill.
The beast then ended up in the hands of Greg Hiddleston, who drove it with verve and flair and kept it fed with fuel and axles. In fact I have pleasant memories of going wheel to wheel with Greg when he had this thing at West Melton, back when I had the original GT Radial Falcon V8. It sure had some grunt off the line but if you chased hard enough you just knew at some point it would give up a rear axle.
Then the truck ended up parked, rumour has it with a chicken nesting in the cab. A sad ending for such a famous truck. Or was it?
Back from the Brinck!
Now, the rumour is, the truck or many colours is to make a re-appearance at the hands of bike racer and trans-Tasman traveller Ricky Lane.
Is he good? He’s done the infamous Finke desert race – on two wheels! Hit Google or Youtube, you’ll see what I mean.
The intention is to run it in the original metal panels and colour scheme it wore when it retired, then smarten up the cosmetics once it’s got used to some good race fuel squirting down the lines and into the cylinders. I think there’s a good chance it will end up with one of the new Chev bodies – similar to what we are running – as long as they can get the fit right.
So the forest beast is reborn, and it’s set to join the fun soon. Very soon.
Great to see!
Meanwhile, it was great to see a big northern contingent at Nelson’s opening southern round of the championship. A good long forest enduro is what many still seek from the sport, even as the permanent tracks get established and the sport starts to look like it’s heading in the other direction.
Even better, Nelson’s event wasn’t plagued by dust – most of the 4WD and truck class racers much prefer wet roads and tracks to dust which just hides accidents until they are unavoidable.
Instead, we had an off-song engine for much of the event which was traced afterward to a bent valve – so effectively for all of the laps we did we were running a rough three cylinder turbo engine! The engine is out, and it’s rings and bearings time and of course head work to get the truck in top condition for the coming rounds.
We spent much of the event chasing the misfire and wondering what was going on, so it was good to see one of the valves looking a bit bendy and have some certainty about what had gone on.
The Rodeo is born. Outside Mike Parkes’ North Shore Carburettors workshop.
By 2007, the Chev was gone, and we were racing against mad machinery like Andrew Thomason’s Tundra – four-wheel-drive, Weisman transmission, massive four-cam truck V8 engine.
2005, and the truck is up against some new designs but still a tough rival.
Greg Hiddleston has the truck in typical attitude mid corner at West Melton.