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Revisited: Ford Raptor – Huckin’ Trucks

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It's a Rental And We Got The Insurance

Photos by: Kenda Lenseigne

Loud, fast, dangerous, and your mom probably wouldn't approve. There's always been a very strong connection between performance vehicles and guns, and anyone who says otherwise is probably mumbling apologetically through a mouthful of quiche. If you've ever watched the movie Dust to Glory and fantasized about hurling yourself down the length of the Baja peninsula at insane velocities, then you may want to add a little extra time to your next Vegas vacation. While your traveling companions are absorbed by the Borg-like slot machines, breathing recycled air, and having their body clocks screwed up by 24/7 lighting and cheap booze, you could be throwing someone else's truck over 40 foot berms in the desert. Sound appealing? We thought so.

This being Las Vegas, there's no shortage of opportunities to become separated from your money. Quite apart from hookers and blow, and the prospect of waking up in a bath filled with ice-water while lamenting the loss of a kidney, it's ridiculously easy to piss away a couple of grand over a weekend and have absolutely nothing to show for it – apart from a raging hangover and a suspicious rash. We're of the opinion that if we're going to drop that sort of coin, there should at least be a memorable experience as a receipt. Enter VORE.


Vegas Off Road Experience started out in 2009 with one truck and an idea. Since then, they've grown to become the official Ford Raptor driving school, added 10 more trophy trucks to their stable, and offer everything from a two-hour thrash around a dirt track to fully supported race teams for those who want to fly in, pick up the keys, and pit themselves against the likes of Robby Gordon.

After signing the obligatory waiver and promising not to sue in the event of dismemberment, we were kitted out with a helmet liner and full face lid, then strolled out to the waiting truck with pro driver Jason Smith. Strapping into the five-point harness, the engine fired up, then settled into a low burble as the truck inched forward out of the parking lot. Checking the gauges, we noted the motor was almost at operating temperature. Time to hoon.

The usual procedure is for clients to play follow the leader for the first few laps, with a VORE staffer piloting a Raptor and students tagging along in trophy trucks like obedient ducklings. Once lines have been learned and track etiquette reinforced, clients are then free to experiment and the once-orderly procession expands and compresses as students experiment with their own personal “Oh shit!” limits. “It takes a while for people to get comfortable launching over a blind crest,” commented Smith over the intercom. “I raced dirt bikes for years, and it still took me a month to get used to driving trophy trucks.” Yeah, no kidding…

As we approached the first jump and launched a thousand pounds of metal and rubber into the void, the seconds between takeoff and landing were filled with memories of a busted T10 vertebra and the sure and certain knowledge that this was going to hurt. Basing that anticipation on street vehicles was a mistake, however, as 24 inches of suspension travel turned the expected body slam into a gentle shove from the seat. Great! Let's go faster!

Cornering is another technique that needs practice to relearn. Brake right, steer left, give it some gas to kick the back end out, then countersteer through the exit. Sounds simple enough, but there's usually a lot of wheel twiddling involved as the suspension loads up. Body roll is, shall we say, pronounced, so if you've done any track days on asphalt, you may start out further behind the curve than someone who just walks in off the street.

In addition to time on their track, VORE offers the chance to take lessons learned in a controlled environment out into the desert. We recommend that if you're going to commit to a few hours at their facility, you may as well sign up for a half day (or the whole enchilada) to get the most from the experience. Expensive? Yeah, kinda, but at least you'll have memories, video, and photos of your time in Vegas, as well as a hole in your bank account, instead of just an overdraft and the faint aroma of strippers. Prices range from $295 for five laps around the track to $1,300 for a full day of bouncing off the rev limiter, with shuttle service from your hotel in their tricked out Transit van included.


The VORE Challenge VC Class

4L Ford
235 horsepower
Sequential three-speed automatic
King coilover shocks
Front Travel:
24 inches
Rear Travel:
24 inches
AEM Brute Force
AEM dry-flow performance system
Custom AEM
15-inch forged aluminum w/bead locks
12-inch Pro Am, four-wheel disc brakes
Power Steering:
Pro Am power rack and pinion
117-inch length, 91-inch width
Fuel Capacity:
32 gallons
Chassis Composition:
4130 chromoly tubing, 1.75-inch diameter, .120-inch wall thickness
Built to fully comply with all SCORE safety standards
Lowrance color GPS
Parker Pumper fresh air delivery system
Mastercraft 3G seats
Tilt wheel, adjustable seats, spacious cockpit
Light bars include pencil and Euro beams
PCI Race radio system with intercom
Vegas Off Road Experience
12801 U.S. 95, South Boulder City, NV 89005

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