An Uphill Battle In Quebec

This past Labor Day weekend, if you happened to turn your head towards the north, chances were pretty good that, if you listened closely, you could hear the noise filtering down from Quebec. It was generated by the 13th running of the unique Truck Pulling and Acceleration Competition. Semi-trucks from all over Canada and the United States converge on the tiny town of St. Joesph DeBeauce to take their turn scaling 700’ of St. Christine Street – a 9% uphill strip of pavement deemed one of the steepest and longest challenges in Canada.

Running up this street bobtail would be too easy (but some still do), so event organizer Benoit Gagne added a twist for those up to the challenge in the form of a 53’ trailer, loaded with 30,000 lbs. of ballast. Let the vehicular abuse begin! The drill is this – stage your truck, just like any other drag race, then set chock-blocks behind the rear trailer wheels to prevent your rig from rolling backwards. Wait for the green light, and then the hill is all yours to conquer. But, don’t wait too long, because sleeping at the light can cost you the race. Big power and torque is spoken here, as some of the “A” class trucks are knocking on or have already surpassed the 2,000-hp zone. Also, don’t expect to see your competition’s engine, as these drivers and mechanics spend countless hours and Benjamins to develop their power programs, and keep that information close to their vest, and under constant cover from prying eyes.

If two days of head-to-head uphill drag racing wasn’t enough, Saturday evening plays host to a parade with over 300 of the most beautiful working trucks ever assembled. This line of chrome, lights and shine winds its way through the main street of St. Joseph DeBeauce, much to the delight of thousands of folks along both sides of the route. The cabs of almost every participant are stuffed full of family members, young and old, soaking up the cheers and thumbs-up offered by the crowds. This is trucking pride at its very best.

A huge “thank you” to Benoit Gagne, his entire team, and all the great people who represent Canada, because they all made me feel right at home for this, my 8th year attending the races. For more information, photos and videos, go to www.bigrigdragracing.com. And, if you have a truck and want to join the festivities, by all means, go and get your passport and head north. Benoit is a firm believer in the more the merrier!

PHOTOS:

#1 – Close side-by-side racing was the norm all weekend long.

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#2 – Leon Smith’s Connecticut-based Peterbilt gets things ready for his assault on the hill (Leon was the winner of the Canada vs. USA challenge for 2017).

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#3 – It’s all fun and games until the U-joints and yokes start to get hurt.

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#4 – Maxime LaPointe does his part to keep all the mosquitoes within a square mile from bothering the 30,000+ fans watching all the action.

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#5 – This rig was under close scrutiny for a left front tire helium violation, which was never proved (LOL).

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#6 – “Professor” Eric Vallee is seen here giving everyone a lesson on torque-twist as his potent white Freightliner Classic leaves the starting line.

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#7 – Jacques Lefleur warms everything up in his Detroit-powered Western Star (and chokes everyone out, too).

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#8 – The parade of trucks on Saturday evening was a very impressive sight, as it took over two hours for the 300 or so beautiful vehicles to wind their way down the town’s main street.

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#9 – The beautiful and historic buildings of St. Joseph DeBeauce made for an excellent backdrop for the evening truck parade and light show.

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#10 – Nicholas Gagnon and his maroon Pete were on a mission all weekend long, as the dynamic duo won the “A” class loaded and bobtail competition.

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About Mike Bradford