Red Bull Signature Series: One-On-One With Bryce Menzies
Bryce Menzies takes off-roading to a whole other level.
Armed with a passion for racing and the outdoors, Menzies quickly ditched his dirt bike at an early age and instead turned his focus to buggy racing – and it paid off tremendously.
He has since upgraded from buggies and now Menzies races trucks, though these aren’t your typical everyday pickups. No, these trucks are built – week-in and week-out – from the ground up, weigh a little over two tons and have an astonishing 800-horsepower. That could be why the vehicles can easily do 55 to 60 mph on any terrain and have the ability to launch upwards of 200 feet in the air.
It took Menzies years to master these trucks but now he’s the best Pro 2 driver out there, with a slew of achievements under his belt. Later this month, he’ll look to add another when he sets out to compete in the Traxxas Torc (The Off-Road Championship) Pro 2 WD Championship. With a 41-point lead over Rob Maccachern, it is likely Menzies will earn his third consecutive championship. But he knows he hasn’t won anything just yet.
We recently caught up with Menzies to not only discuss the upcoming event on September 27 and 28 in Nevada, but to see if he had any strategies already in place. Be sure to catch the action on NBC, Saturday September 28 at 2:30 p.m EST.
CraveOnline: Can explain a little bit about your background in racing and when you first got behind the wheel?
Bryce Menzies: It kind of started at quite a bit of a young age, I mean I started riding dirt bikes when I was seven and I kind of took that as the start into my racing career. It just always seemed like I would be getting hurt – breaking bones and stuff like that. My dad had a friend that built racecars, so we had him build me a 1600 buggy, which is like the lowest class series in off-road, and we had him build that as a hobby thing to go out and do for fun. I went out and won my first race and my dad kind of took it from there. We got into the business and went wild, buying a bunch of semis and new trucks. Then it was in 2007 that we started Menzies Motorsports and started our off-road racing career from there.
Crave: With 800-horsepower under the hood of what you drive now, can it get a little nerve-racking driving Pro 2 trucks sometimes?
Menzies: Yeah, definitely. I mean with the truck that I drive it’s 800-horsepower and it’s dual-drive, you’re trying to manage this beast of an engine that puts out 800 horses and you’re trying to manage to get it to the ground and not spin the tires and get traction. Sometimes it’s really hectic. Also you have 15 other people around you with the same engine and the same truck capabilities, so it always is kind of nerve-racking and kind of crazy to be on the track with that many people and that much horsepower – trying to control it in a matter to go win.
Crave: Does it take a lot to figure out how to maneuver the truck, because they’re quite heavy?
Menzies: Yeah, I mean our truck weighs around 4,300 pounds and it definitely takes a while. It took me a couple years to win a championship and get the thing figured out. I think every time I drive it I’m learning something new with the truck and driving control and car control with the vehicle – they’re [the truck] just so heavy. With the tracks that we race on, there are ruts, 100-foot jumps and so many different obstacles that it’s really hard to manage getting the truck around the track, let alone winning a championship or a race.
Crave: The trucks are just massive, what kind of safety precautions are on the vehicles, as compared to others meant for off-road?
Menzies: You know, they’re fully-built tube chassis that we build in-house at Menzies Motorsports and they give you a rule that the cage has to be a certain thickness. Everything is built off of safety. We all wear safety harnesses for our head restraints, we wear harnesses in the truck with rated seatbelts, the seats are all rated and our helmets are rated – things are really safe. I’ve crashed a truck really hard at high speed, you’ll get banged up here and there but they’re made to withstand big wrecks.
Crave: Have you been in many wrecks and if so, what was the biggest?
Menzies: I would say it was probably the second year into my career; I was racing a Pro Lite truck, which is the class right below Pro2, and it was in my hometown of Vegas. I jumped and the back did an endo that did like a flip and a half and I came down on another truck. It actually compressed the guy’s truck so hard that it broke his back. It knocked me out and broke my kneecap. That’s got to be one of the craziest crashes I’ve had in a long time.
Crave: What’s it like trying to get back into the truck after that?
Menzies: It’s always in the back of your head when you get into the truck. But I think in our sport we know the dangers of getting into the truck and strapping up every single time, so you got to kind of put that outside of your mind. That’s how we do it every single time. To get in the truck, race, push it to the limit and try to win, which means you got to throw some of that out the window and hope for the best and know your equipment and safety and all that stuff.
Crave: How long have you been involved with Red Bull?
Menzies: I have been a part of Red Bull for three years now. We signed in 2011 and now throughout this year too.
Crave: What has the company meant to you throughout your career as you continue to grow?
Menzies: You know, Red Bull is a unique company. They’re not like the other energy drink brands – they’re actually pushing you to develop skills and develop your body. They do a full-blown blood test at their facility right when they sign an athlete, to diagnose everything you’re allergic to, from food to anything. So it’s really cool to be involved with a company that doesn’t just supply you with funding to go win races but they supply you with tools to make your job that much easier to do and try to push the athletes that much harder. Being a part of their brand has been a key part to our success. We’ve won over seven championships with them right now, in the last three years. We’ve had a lot of success and I would say a lot of it is from what they do to get us there.
Crave: Looking ahead to the upcoming race, are you familiar with the course at Lancaster?
Menzies: They’ve actually moved the last race to Primm, NV., so it’s going to be pretty cool. That’s my hometown and the track I’m familiar with because we used to race on it back in the day, so I think it’s going to be good racing. It’s cool because hopefully I’ll lock up the championship and with my hometown I’ll get to have my family out there and a lot of friends – it’ll be awesome.
Crave: That’s definitely got to amp you up a little bit more.
Menzies: Yeah, definitely. To have it this close, everyone out there and to win the championship in my hometown is going to be one of the things I haven’t done before. All of my other ones I’ve won out of state, so this one will mean a lot.
Crave: What’s it like to compete on TV in front of a national audience?
Menzies: Every time you race and you know it’s going to be shown on live TV or broadcast, you dig it. It always gives you that little bit of a push to push the limit more and get that win. It defiantly gives you a little bit more of an edge to push harder. It makes it fun and I’m looking forward to it.
Crave: What does it take to prepare for a race like this one?
Menzies: There’s a ton of stuff that goes into it, I mean we have over 12 guys that are working for us right now. The trucks, every time they leave the track we pretty much rip them down to the ground. They get new transmissions, new gear, we look over all the wires, we mag-check everything. We pretty much rebuild the truck and we have two full semis that go to each race, so there’s a bunch stuff that goes into it. For the drivers mentally, you just got to prepare yourself for it – you have to try to be physically in shape and have to put yourself in the right mindset to win these races and try to win a championship.
Crave: Do you have a strategy going into it; is there already a plan of attack?
Menzies: The last two years we’ve had strategies and tried to play it smart and always be there at the finish. We kind of went about it a little bit different this year, we go in and try to win every race and we thought by doing that the championship will come if we win every race. That’s kind of how we’re going into that last one and I got a pretty big point lead – I’m up by about 40 points right now. My goal is to lock it up the first day we go out on [Friday] and win the race then go have fun on Saturday. That’s been our goal this whole year, to win every single race we have and the championships come with it.
Crave: What will it mean to you to three-peat?
Menzies: To three-peat – I don’t even know if I can put it into words. It’s unbelievable. To go out in these races and try to win one race is unbelievable but to win three championships back-to-back, I think it just shows the level that our team is at and what we’re doing – plus the passion that we have for racing. It’s going to be awesome. Three championships is unbelievable, I think. There’s one other guy that won like six in a row back in the day, so we’re on our way to hopefully beat that. But to win three in a row will be awesome and it just shows with the support we have from our sponsors, anything is possible.
Crave: No doubt it’ll be the highlight of your career but what’s been the highlight up to this point?
Menzies: I’d have to say, [pauses] my first Pro 2 championship that was in Texas. We worked so hard and it came down to the wire. It was one of those races that was all-or-nothing and we made it happen. At the finish line, having my mom, dad and my whole family there was pretty spectacular. It still pops into my head all of the time.
Photo Credit: Red Bull Content Pool