American off-road racing was forged in garages and backyards by car enthusiasts and grease monkeys all over the country who modified stock trucks and made them into stronger and more reliable race vehicles. No class represents this spirit of “do-it-yourself” racing better than the 7100 class.
It may not look like it now but this truck was once a stock 1998 Ford Ranger. It was purchased used fifteen years ago and slowly built by Justin Park into the weapon of choice for the Bilstein #7147 Racing Team.
The 7100 class was designed to be a budget-conscious class, built on production mini or mid-sized pickups and SUV’s. They are modified to race but unlike their big brothers, they must be built with a chassis and motor that are readily available to the general public and must retain stock steering. The suspension of these vehicles is the same configuration as originally produced. They are strengthened and reinforced but the original stock geometry must be left in tact and they are limited to 18 inches of suspension travel and a 35” tire. As part of the safety specifications for the class, a race fuel cell is installed, as are race seats, a racing harness, and of course a roll cage.
While the brake, hubs, and rear differential components can be upgraded, the hoods, trunk lids, doors fenders and bedsides are required to resemble the original stock vehicles. The vehicles must weigh 3250 lbs. minimum in order to compete. All of these class restrictions keep the class affordable to race and also push the drivers to focus on becoming better racers, instead of relying on their trucks for a particular advantage.
Photography by Mad Media Director of Photography, Vincent Knakal