By Ben Olson
Off road truck racing fans, start your engines. Next weekend, the Purcell Trench Ranch (PTR) north of Bonners Ferry is hosting their biggest event of the year; the Mountain Havoc North American Premier Off-Road Truck Championship. The three-day event will take place on June 2 – 4 and is set to be bigger than ever this year.
The off-road motorsport venue opened in 2014 and has established itself as a world-class meeting place for off-road enthusiasts from around the region. Jointly owned by Mac Miltz, Ben Spinney and Grey Whittier, PTR features 90 acres of terrain that varies between Hill n’ Hole courses to side-by-side straight tracks.
The spectator only event draws professional drivers from eight states and even three provinces in Canada.
“This is the big one,” said Miltz. “It’s a true North American top professional truck event.”
Because this event features only professional drivers and their pit crews, Miltz said it’s a good weekend to bring the family up and enjoy close access to these unique machines.
“Spectators can interact with drivers and pit crews,” said Miltz. “You get to physically touch the trucks and hang out in the pit. It’s very hands on to the public.”
Miltz said this year will be even bigger than last year thanks to a five-page spread in Peterson’s 4Wheel & Off-Road Magazine highlighting the course.
“They print out something like 250,000 copies every month,” said Miltz. “We’ll be seeing a lot of spectators both from the region and outside of the area.”
A production company will also be on hand throughout the weekend to shoot pilot episode footage for a possible television show focusing on the motorsport community.
There have been a few improvements to PTR in the last year. Miltz said most all of the tracks were revamped: “It’s nice for maintenance and to keep the drivers guessing. Plus, we combined smaller jumps into one huge jump, which the crowd is going to love.”
Miltz said another new addition might bring memories to Sandpointians; the off-road track now features the original metal bleachers pulled from Memorial Field, where spectators can view three of the five courses.
Friday, June 2, from 12-11 p.m., spectators can meet the drivers, crew and see the fantastic array of trucks competing this year. The racing kicks off with side-by-side tire tow test racing. Saturday, June 3, from 8 a.m.- 11 p.m., you can watch trucks catching major air in the Hill n’ Hole jump track, watch the fallout from the hard hitting rock course, check out the Havoc Hills Bouncer Climb and have a few brews while listening to Saturday night’s live music. Sunday, June 4, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., get ready for the Tuff Country Mountain Man Extreme Course and stick around for the awards presentation.
“We’re constantly growing with family values in mind,” said Miltz. “This is a professionally run venue, with tons of activities. Food vendors, live music, free camping, a beer/wine/booze garden. There will be industry vendors handing out free swag all weekend. It’s a great time to bring the family up and see these professional drivers do their thing.”
A weekend pass will cost you $30 and includes free camping. Kids aged 6-12 pay only $10 and under 5 is free. Day rates are available and no pets are allowed. Find out more at www.mountain-mafia.com.