Truckfest roars into Edinburgh

Flaming exciting: A fire engine performs a wheelie at a previous Ingliston Truckfest. Picture: Andrew Stuart
Flaming exciting: A fire engine performs a wheelie at a previous Ingliston Truckfest. Picture: Andrew Stuart
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It is the stuff of dreams for many a fearless child – not to mention their parents. The chance to ride in a giant monster truck; the type they have gawped at on the telly, watching in amazement as the 7ft-high high tyres effortlessly crush rows of everyday cars in their path.

Dream no more children – and climb on board mums and dads – as next weekend you can have your slice of the action when the 28th annual Truckfest roars into the Royal Highland Centre at Ingliston.

And rides in monster trucks are not all that is on offer at the two-day event, which is expected to draw tens of thousands of visitors to the showground to soak up the diesel-fuelled atmosphere.

Last year some 35,000 people enjoyed daredevil displays, big trucking brands and famous industry faces. This year – on August 3 and 4 – stars from the TV series Ice Road Truckers will also be on hand to get the crowds fired up, alongside dozens of exhibitors.

But while the previous years’ displays have been monstrous examples of mechanical power and bravery, this year will go one step further and give visitors the chance to actually ride in a monster truck.

“Visitors to Truckfest Scotland will get the chance to ride in monster truck Mudzilla,” says event director Robert Limming. “It’s exactly like the famous monster truck Bigfoot 17 except it has been specially adapted so that people can sit in the back. It’s the first time something like this has been offered, so it’s really exciting. People can sign up on the day for a chance to ride in Mudzilla, although it won’t be going over cars or anything like that.

“These things can go vertical, and we’re very safety-conscious, so it just wouldn’t be possible. But fans will get to see our other monster trucks doing all those sorts of things.”

Mudzilla will be one of three monster trucks appearing at the event with Bigfoot 17 and Sling Shot also there to wow the crowds.

And whilst other events might fear the weather, Truckfest organisers insist that come rain or shine this show will go ahead. “Last year the weather was great on the first day, but then the rain came on the second day,” says Robert.

“But it doesn’t matter because we’re really an event which is made for any weather.

“We’ve got all types of vehicles which could help should they be needed. There’s a fleet of recovery vehicles we could call on, for example.

“And we work very closely with the Royal Highland Centre too so that access to the event is as good as possible.”

So, what else is on offer? Crowds will be able to catch a motorcycle show by stunt display team Broke FMX. Considered to be one of the best in the world, the British twosome will perform some daring moves on their motorbikes,

Fans of vintage vehicles will get the chance to look at an exhibition of trucks over the years, the oldest of which is from 1925.

And kids will have an array of adrenaline-fuelled activities to keep them entertained, from zip wires and go-karting to a “wall of death” and water zorbing.

But the highlight of all the displays at Truckfest will undoubtedly be the crowd-pleasing monster trucks. Developed in 1979 by Missouri-based Bob Chandler, Bigfoot is considered to be the original monster truck.

It sees modified pick-up trucks fitted with huge tyres which allows the vehicles to drive over barriers, including lines of parked cars.

With safety at the forefront of organisers’ minds, the trucks are all fitted with a remote cut-off switch - if the trucks were to overturn, then support teams are able to switch off the engines from the pits.

Also on the programme of events is the chance to check out the latest offerings from big motoring brands, with the likes of Renault, Iveco and Volvo trucks all appearing.

“Renault is launching a new range of vehicles and in Scotland it’s getting its debut at Truckfest,” says Robert.

“That’s a completely new range, but other brands are also showing off individual new vehicles.”

The event will also give people the chance to find out more about some of the trucking names we see on our roads every single day.

“There’s a haulier showcase section which will feature a behind the scenes look at some of the big trucking names,” says Robert.

“People see companies like Billy Bowie and Pollock and think they all do the same thing. So the haulier showcase is a chance for the companies to show their wares in the main area of the arena.”

Star power this year comes in the form of Ice Road Truckers’ Lisa Kelly and Alex Deborgski. Lisa, from Michigan, is the first female to have appeared in the hit show, which follows drivers in remote locations in Canada and Alaska.

And together with Alex, the pair will be taking on a driving challenge against Eddie Stobart drivers Matt Ekins, Mick Leech and Ashley Maddocks.

The drivers will compete in the main arena, reversing recovery trucks of about 60ft in length.

The Truckfest event was founded by Robert and his business partner Colin Ward back in 1982. Over the years it has grown and now takes place in five different locations including last year’s first ever Truckfest Ireland. Back for the 28th year here in Edinburgh, fans will not miss a minute of the action thanks to the introduction of a new giant on-site LED screen, called Teletubby.

• For tickets visit www.truckfestscotland.co.uk, or to take advantage of discounted advance sales call the 24-hour ticket hotline on 0844 854 0064. Family ticket costs £30 and includes two adults and two children. Under fives go free.