In late August, six months of preparation led off-road racer Bryce Menzies to the foot of a ramp. He wouldn’t feel the landing ramp until nearly 380 feet and an entire New Mexico ghost town later, if he and his off-road truck even made it that far.
The unknown, he said, was his biggest worry he had. The end product everyone sees — that graceful sail through the air — has the appearance of simplicity, but it wasn’t easy to get there.
“Everybody thinks you just hang onto the wheel and hit the gas wide open,” Menzies said. “But there’s so much more to it.”
Considering the precision that went into the jump took Menzies half a year to master, that isn’t hard to believe. Landing the perfect jump starts before the truck is even in the air and continues until it returns to the ground — hopefully, for Menzies’ sake — in a safe manner. Menzies said he had to have the right throttle control up the ramp and had to know when to hit rear brake in order to get the truck to level off.
When the time came, Menzies made the 379.4-foot jump and beat the official world record by 78.4 feet. But at the end of the day, he said. “It was really stressful” to prepare for.
“Mentally, you had to be prepared for everything, so it just took everything to go right to make that happen,” Menzies explained. “When you first hit the ramp, you know whether it’s going to go well or badly.”
Just like the jump, Menzies knew his career in off-road racing would go well from the start. A kid who was always on a dirt bike or a four-wheeler, Menzies won the second race of his off-road career. At that point, both he and his father were able to “see some success in this.”
That, Menzies says, was when his father put everything toward building a career for him.