Gympie pair heads south for ultimate 4WD truck challenge
GYMPIE'S Brendan Lohse and Rhett Bryant love getting in the seat of a 4WD and navigating the toughest and roughest terrain the country has to offer.
At the weekend, that's exactly what the pair did, travelling down to Milbrodale, New South Wales, to contest the annual Tough Dog Truck Challenge.
The gruelling 4x4 event attracted more than 10,000 spectators and more than 60 custom-built trucks battling on punishing tracks.
Huge rocks, mud pits, giant tyres and deep holes are the norm with drivers competing against each other for points in the hope of winning the perpetual Tuff Truck Trophy.
Local offroad fanatic Brendan Lohse said his 4WD journey began three years ago when he started modifying his own truck.
"I always loved four-wheel-driving and my friend Rhett decided to help me build my own custom-made Toyota Hilux," he said.
"It was then we discovered the prestigious Tough Truck Challenge."
The three-day event has 12 stages with drivers awarded up to a maximum of 100 points for completing the course. Penalties apply for hitting markers and points awarded based on progress.
Placing eighth in last year's competition, the duo travelled to Milbrodale this year to finish 11th with Lohse saying the drop was due to some minor faults at the weekend.
"We had a hydraulic fitting break on one of the tracks which caused us to blow out on that course," he said.
"Also we received numerous penalties for hitting cones which in the end set us apart from the leaders."
Bryant and Lohse have been training at Widgee taking to similar tracks featured at the challenge.
Bryant's job as the navigator involves him walking the terrain in front of the truck and analysing the situation, giving feedback to Lohse through an inbuilt headpiece telling him how to take the obstacles.
Built for roughly $25,000, Lohse said some of his competitors had spent well over $100,000 on their vehicles giving him extra ambition as the underdog.
"It's ridiculous how much some of these people spend on their trucks and it's great to get out there and shrink their egos," he said.
The Bridgestone-sponsored truck will return next year with Lohse certain it doesn't need any additional modifications.
"We will definitely compete next year and hopefully improve," he said.
"I am addicted to the sport and take to the 4WD every chance I have."