Drag racing is probably the most pure and basic form of motorsport competition – two vehicles line up, the green light flashes, and the better (or sometimes luckier) one wins. It’s a safe bet that almost everybody reading this has participated at a traffic light somewhere at some point in their life. And in the case of big rig drag racing, when that light turns green, it’s on to see which truck can pull ahead of the other.
Since 2004, Benoit Gagne has spearheaded the “Truck Pulling and Acceleration Competition” held in the beautiful town of St. Joseph de Beauce, in Quebec, Canada. This event was held back on September 2-3, 2023. The normal population of 4,500 swells with over 35,000 fans converging on this small town to be a part of this two-day event. Flat drag racing you might think? Nope! A 700-foot strip of St. Christine Street with a 9% uphill grade will be facing all who choose to play here.
The staging process is traditional, but a chock block is utilized to hold things in place until the green light is activated. Trucks are divided into classes, either A, B, or C, dictated by engine modifications, and can race as a bobtail or hook up to a 53-foot trailer loaded with 35,000 pounds, just to make things more interesting. One thing that did change this year was a yucky black chain link fence (see photos) that was added atop the concrete barriers that line the course. This unsightly addition was mandated by the insurance company covering the event, and you can’t blame them, but it sure did negatively impact us picture-takers.
And believe me when I say, the participants take this race seriously, with some power figures approaching 3,000 hp and 6,000 ft. lbs. of torque, thrown around. The one thing you will not see here is open hoods, as power secrets are tightly guarded. In only 700 feet, the Class A bobtail speeds are knocking on 100 mph, and even the trucks pulling those loaded trailers are easily exceeding 45 mph – uphill! By far the fastest hot rods of the weekend are the 4×4 diesel pickups, which were tickling 115 mph trap speeds.
On Saturday evening a 300-truck parade made its way through the town featuring some of the most beautifully shined and lit up rigs in all of Canada (and from the USA, too). I’ve been attending this race since 2009, and that one thing that never fails to follow me home is the pride that is showered on the trucking community by the Canadian people at the event. It truly is amazing!
Benoit is a firm believer in “the more the merrier” philosophy, and he extends a warm welcome for both participants and fans to attend the 2024 show, scheduled to be held on August 30th through September 1st. For more info, photos, and videos, visit www.bigrigdragracing.com. Big thanks go to Benoit, Darcy, Danny, Jason, and the entire racing staff, including the residents of St. Joseph de Beauce, for their great hospitality and friendship. Believe me, if you go once, you will be hooked for years to come. Ready… Set… Go!