Bryce Menzies has taken off-road racing by storm. He has dominated every racing scene he has ventured into since first starting in the Championship Off-Road Racing (CORR) series in 2007. He has won the single buggy class championship and Rookie of the Year. The list of accolades Menzies has achieved in his career puts him as one of the top drivers in both desert and short-course racing.
Menzies has won many championships and races in Southern California Off-Road Experience (SCORE) series, Best in the Desert, and The Off-Road Championship (TORC) series. He was also the 2011 SCORE series champion and Rookie of the Year, he won the 2013 BITD Mint 400, 2013 TORC champion and the Baja 500 in 2012 and in 2014.
You can see Menzies driving in the desert as well as short-course, and it is not uncommon to see him pull double-duty in a weekend racing more than one series. We wanted to get to know Bryce more, and had the chance to sit down with him to dig deeper.
Off Road Xtreme: Where did racing in your life come from, where did you start, and how did you get to where you are now?
Bryce Menzies: “I’ve always been on a dirt bike or something since I was three years old. I started racing motocross when I was little, and then came across a lot injuries and kind of realized that I wasn’t gonna going to go professional in that route.”
“We got a single buggy which is a Volkswagen 1600 car type, and got involved having fun with it. The biggest thing is my dad, who has helped me throughout my whole career. You know, being involved, and I think that really helped my career grow. Then, Red Bull came onboard about four years ago and since then, it really pushed our program and brought it to the next level where we’re racing and competing for championships every year.”
ORX: When did you make the change from the 1600 single buggy car?
BM: “I raced single buggy in 2007. I actually won the championship the first year of racing. The next year we made the jump to Pro Light with short-course for another year, that was 2008. We then went into Pro2 which I’ve been racing for the last six years now.”
ORX: You also have some desert experience. Did you race desert first and then short-course or was it the other way around?
BM: “It was the other way around. I started racing short-course and I raced that for about three years before we got into the desert. It was 2009 when we first started racing desert in a Class 10 car and we raced for one year. We won the Class 10 championship and then, in 2010, we bought a trophy truck and only competed in two events, the Mint 400 and the Baja 500.”
ORX: It’s always been in the trophy class since you switched to trucks?
BM: “Yes, trophy trucks since 2010.”
ORX: What is it like switching from racing desert to short-course? How do you adjust mentally?
BM: “The driving is pretty similar but the biggest thing is with short-course, it’s like a UFC fight. It’s 20 minutes of all-out battle, 110-percent, as hard as you can drive. Desert has a lot more strategy, and you’re racing for hundreds of miles, so you just need to be really smart and keep your equipment under you because those races are so rough.”
“In desert racing you know you have all your pits. A lot more people are involved in desert racing. Usually, racers bring about 40 people to help with fueling and tires. With these trucks you can break them pretty easy.”
“Driving-wise, the trucks are similar. Short-course is just myself driving the truck, and the desert is myself and a co-driver.”
ORX: Do you have a favorite race or event?
BM: “I really like the Baja 500 just because I love being down in Mexico. I love the fans, the scenery, and racing there. Plus, it’s only 500 miles, so it’s not as grueling, or as long as the Baja 1000.”
“It’s almost a little bit of a sprint race, so you’ve got to be cautious. At the same time, it seems like if you get one or two flat tires, or have any type of problem during that race, you’re not going to win it, that’s how good the competition has become. Still that’s probably one of my most favorite races that we do all year.”
ORX: Everybody has a hero, is there a certain driver that you look up to or who has been a mentor?
BM: “Throughout my career, I’ve had a lot of teammates. Rob MacCachren, who’s one of the best in the sport, and for the last four years I’ve been working with Ricky Johnson.”
“I think Ricky has helped me more than anybody else in my career, other than my dad, Johnson was one of the guys that didn’t hold anything back. He never wanted to keep any secrets from me, he was really good at teaching me growing up in the Pro2, working on my driving skills, working on my car control, and I’d have to say he was probably the one person that had the biggest influence on my driving.”
“The past four years we’ve won five championships, so I think he’s played a huge part in my career. When we raced TORC in the midwest, I won three championships, he won two championships and we won a SCORE trophy truck championship together in 2011.”
ORX: If you weren’t into off-road racing, what would you be doing?
BM: “If I wasn’t racing cars and trucks all the time, I’d probably be working in the family business. My dad runs construction companies in Las Vegas. I’m still involved with them a little bit, but with how this racing has taken off, it’s taken a back seat. My job is to race cars and trucks right now, so as long as I can keep driving and pushing myself, that will be my profession. Sooner or later, I’ll be in the family business. I wouldn’t trade it right now though!”
ORX: You have also done snow racing in Maine, Frozen Rush. What’s that like? Is it similar to your normal short-course race?
BM: “Yes. About three years ago, Red Bull called me and said, ‘We want to race a truck in the snow.’ I thought they were crazy. We took about a year to work on the truck and make it work for the snow. The last few years, we’ve been putting on a race in Maine and racing in Pro4 trucks. It’s a blast just because it’s something different.”
“We are always driving on the dirt and racing, 16 races a year, and when we get to go do one of these events and this one’s in the snow, its really exciting. It challenges you as a driver to change up your driving style to figure out the little things that make you go faster. It’s really cool to see the sport grow and to go Maine where no one has ever seen these off-road trucks, and to see the excitement and enthusiasm about them.”
“This year we did head-to-head racing, so we actually raced side-by-side. It was a lot better for the fans and it came down to me racing my teammate Ricky. I got the win this year, which is awesome, and he won the year prior, so it’s been a Red Bull sweep so far. I look forward to doing more. Hopefully, next year Red Bull could do a three-race series where it’s like a Triple Crown like in horse racing. All of the off-road racers I’ve talked to love this event so much that we want to do more of it.”
ORX: Where do you see yourself in five or ten years? Where would you like to see the sport grow?
BM: “One day, I hope we can get this as big as Supercross, because when you go to a Supercross race, they sell out, over 50,000 people. I think our sports growing, and I hope that it keeps pushing that way.”
“People like the Martelli Brothers and Best In The Desert are pushing the sport in the right direction, so hopefully in the next couple of years we will be able to see it grow to that level.”
“One of the things that I am working on is going to Dakar, the largest and toughest off-road race in the world. I’m putting a program together for next year to compete and get some seat time and just figure it out. Then hopefully in the next five years, my plan is to win that race overall.”
ORX: What’s your daily driver? And what do you just go out and hammer on when you’re just hangin’ out with your buddies?
BM: “My daily driver is a Ford Raptor. I like being out in the desert, going to the sand dunes, riding my dirt bikes and my Polaris RZR. The Raptor is unbelievable. What it can do for a truck you just buy off the lot. Ford’s done an amazing job with it. They are coming out with a new one in 2017 so I’m looking forward to the new model when that one comes out. It’s great for road trips and everything I do, so I drive it every day.”
We really enjoyed our time with Bryce Menzies. There is not much that Bryce Menzies can not do. It seems like anything he does, eventually he, wins at. The drive and determination that he brings into every race sets him apart. Bryce Menzies successful career will continue as he knows what to do to succeed. He is definitely one driver that should be watched from the starting line in any race he starts. Let us know who you would like to see Off Road Extreme interview next in the comments below.