Over the last few years, some enterprising Ultra4 racers have been trying to figure out how to get more people into off-road racing. For most, cost is the biggest barrier. Their solution is "Bro-Lites;" spec-built Ford Rangers that are cheap, easy to fix, and an absolute riot to run through a corn field.
A Bro-Lite Ranger is basically an '89-'97 truck with a roll cage, long-travel shocks, fuel cell, and a shitload of weight reduction. If you can weld tubes yourself, you can pretty much put one of these together for what it would cost to title and register a Ranger for use on the road.
Racers Scott Decker, Tim Diekmann, and 2012 King Of The Hammers champion Erik Miller were shaking down their Bro-Lites at the Rausch Creek Off-Road Park in Pennsylvania a few weeks ago, where I caught up with them and took a few laps around the cornfield course the park had been kind enough to corner off for us.
So, maybe we spent more time on the tools than we did on the throttle... and it was only a couple hours before all three shakedown vehicles had to be sidelined for damage.
But it would only have taken a bit more duct-tape some some cheap parts on hand to keep them running as long as you'd be able to stand sucking dirt through your helmet vents.
For now, the Bro-Lite crew is hoping to get a few races together as warm-up shows for bigger events to psych up spectators and get people's attention.
Diekmann and his colleague/master welder John are hopeful they'll be able to get a few trucks built over the winter, and eventually even be able to rent them out to us bros who can't afford to build but want to get a piece of the action or maybe just "try before you buy."
Get some more insight from the folks putting Bro-Lites together over at Race-Dezert.com.
Images: Andrew P. Collins