Unless you've been stuck in a windowless hut for the last few years, you know that big things are happening in the world of high-speed, big-travel off-roading. The Trophy Truck field has continued to swell, despite the stratospheric cost of entry into the fray. Off-roaders across the nation are beginning to think of their suspension in terms of inches of travel instead of inches of lift. Grassroots racers are producing better and better trucks from their home shops or driveways, thanks to a host of new tools, tabs, and brackets not affordably available until recently. The only thing missing was documentation. Enter the Dezert People.
The Dezert People trilogy is the brainchild of JD Films' Curtis Guise and Race-Dezert.com owner Klaus Rasch. While other significant trilogies have spewed from mainstream filmmakers in recent years, we're more concerned as to whether or not Robby Gordon and Rob MacCachren will make it to La Paz than we are about whether or not Mr. Baggins can successfully avoid Sauron's evil eye and save Middle Earth. Don't get us wrong: We're glad that the One Ring finally met its demise in the fiery wrath of Mount Doom. By contrast, the DP trilogy's quest is to bring the trucks flown by both the famous and anonymous into your living room and set your mind in motion to plot a high-flying off-road adventure of your own.
Is the trilogy perfect?
It's close. On one hand, the Dezert People could take a cue from Dust to Glory and include a few sound bites and documentary-style commentaries from the likes of Scott Steinberger, Alan Pflueger, or a host of other off-road notables. We love watching their bertrucks tackle the two-track, but we'd appreciate a narrative sentence or two broaching subjects such as suspension technology, course history, driving techniques, and other aspects of racing and long-travel prerunning. We think a few informative sound bites would help those who aren't completely in the know to have a greater understanding of what they're watching.
On the flip side, the Dezert People series is a tailor-made antidote for viewers who liked Dust to Glory's action scenes, but who wished that D2G had let the action scenes draw out just a little longer before jumping to the next story segment. The Dezert People series takes viewers into the racing seats and five-point harnesses and leaves them there longer. Each story is given a chance to play itself out - if not to the finish line - at least to the finish of the background song. The camera angles and high-voltage soundtrack pull adrenaline into the bloodstream and pump it firmly into the throttle foot.
We're glad Guise and Rasch stepped up and documented the prerunning and desert racing scene for all to view. Forget the Lord of the Rings, we want to watch lordship in the dezert.
Our favorite parts?
The ride-along footage in EJR Racing's Protruck set to the pulsing tune of Ones and Zeroes' "Nothing Left." Codriver to driver: "We've only got 6 miles to go, so let's make sure we get there."
The Prerunner-buildup drive-thru window. Stock truck owner: "Yeah, I'd like a set of 2-1/2-inch Sway-A-Way coilovers, a set of 2-1/2-inch Sway-A-Way bypass shocks, a Camburg long-travel suspension, one of those Racer X fuel cells, and a set of Baja Shop bumpers please." Drive-thru worker: "Would you like to super-size that? That'll be $24,000. Please pull up to the next window."
The Terrible Herbst TT's road-crossing near-miss at Laughlin '99. The brief footage speaks volumes about the Herbst brothers' driving abilities and Mike Smith's bottomless fabricating talents. We had no idea that a truck's back end could kick that far sideways over a jump without a major catastrophe.
Pete Sohren's "if I can't go around you, I'll go over you" passing attempt on Chet Huffman from Laughlin '04.
Belden Alivio's painful-to-watch endo at Rialto Off-Road Raceway. Sharp eyes will spot the sticker plastered to the top of the windshield frame inside the classic Chevy-bodied prerunner: Remember Stupid, You're Driving This Home.