Would You Rather Race Dangerous Roads in a Kamaz, the Hoonitruck, or Old Smokey?
All would scare the snot outta ya.
Let's use our imagination for a few minutes. In a stroke of luck, say you're the grand-prize winner of a rare experience—racing up one of the world's most dangerous roads in a legit race truck. Not a racer? No fear; you're just the passenger. Rest assured that all of these race rigs have fully spec'd passenger seats, and all you have to do is enjoy the drive. You are supplied with a fireproof suit and all necessary safety equipment. You can also rest easy in the knowledge the road is closed, smooth as can be, and clear of debris, and that your pilot has just finished a pre-run before you jump in the passenger seat. The race rig is in optimal condition and from a mechanical standpoint, at least, you are guaranteed to not break down or have a failure.
Because the creators of this hypothetical contest know this exhilarating grand prize may be perceived by some people as nothing short of terrifying, they have graciously given you three packages from which to choose. You are free to pick the package that includes the dangerous road, the ride, and the driver combination that make you most comfortable—or uncomfortable, if that's your thing.
The first package deal is to race up D915 (Trabzon-Bayburt highway) with Dmitry Sotnikov in his ginormous 4x4 Kamaz race truck. You'd recognize the type of truck from the Dakar Rally. These diesel-powered rigs jump, drift, and mob terrain with the finesse of an athletic elephant. The dangerously narrow gravel road, located on the slope of the Soganli Mountain in northeastern Turkey, has enough steep hairpin turns to make your stomach churn with apprehension. The view is majestic, but one misstep in the whale-sized Kamaz could be the difference between life and death. It's positively the wrong tool for such a dangerous, hyper-twisty road. Are you in? Check out video of the Kamaz on D915.
The second option puts you in the passenger seat with Ken Block as he drifts his internet-famous 1977 Ford F-150-based Hoonitruck up Tianmen Mountain in China. Block's presumably had his fair share of practice on this treacherously dangerous road for the filming of Climbkhana Two, but this time you're on board—and anything can happen. (And yes, the panda and gratuitous donuts are included.) Will you be wooed by the allure of the Hoonitruck's strung-out, 914-hp 3.5-liter V-6 and a Ken Block autograph, or will sliding sideways on China's most dangerous road drift a little too far outside of your comfort zone?
The third opportunity puts you climbing to the summit of Pikes Peak at 14,115 feet with Scott Birdsall in his Old Smokey 1949 Ford F1 pickup. Powered by a 6.7L Cummins with a big 'ol Garrett turbocharger, this is no ordinary pickup truck—and Pikes Peak is no ordinary mountain road. Are you ready for Colorado's iconic hillclimb, or will the turbo whistle and some black smoke force you into tapping out before altitude sickness strikes? Check out on-board footage of Birdsall's F1.
Which option would you choose in this fantastic "would you rather" exercise? The Kamaz, the Hoonitruck, or Old Smokey? As for us, we're content to enjoy these videos from the comfort of our own homes. Our trust issues run too deep for those cliffside hairpin turns.