The Trophy Truck class is one of the most competitive and cutthroat classes in all of off-road, and is dominated by veterans and legends in off-road with the last names of MacCachren, Herbst, Gordon, McMillan, Baldwin, and Sourapas. Many teams and drivers try to make it in this class, but can be left in the dust in a matter of seconds.
A feat that is even tougher to master for a young gun to come in and compete in the class. On the notoriety of a father who has been winning off-road races since 1982, Brett Sourapas looks to continue the family’s success at just 19 years of age.
Brett’s father, Steve, has many victories under his belt including the SCORE Class 9 season crown in 1982, Class 2 title in 1989, and Class 10 championship in 1985 and 1992. In the 1992 season, Steve won three individual races, earning him the 1992 SCORE Overall Point Championship.
Since succeeding in the SCORE series, Sourapas Motorsports has focused all of its efforts on the Best in the Desert (BITD) series, and has won there as well, winning multiple races, and the 2012 Trick Truck Challenge.
“BITD is a better fit for me,” Steve once said. “The courses are more remote. You can’t have chase vehicles on the course. Even spectators have limited access to the race course. If you break down in a BITD race, you have to fix the vehicle yourself. No one is coming to help you.”
Brett was bit early in life, spurred on by watching his dad compete. “I have been into off-road racing my entire life. My dad has been doing it since the late ’70s, so I was basically born into the sport,” Brett began to tell us. “I started racing trophy karts at the age of 10 in 2006. I raced the stock Trophy Kart for two years and a modified kart for one year. I did decent in the Trophy Karts and I decided to transition from short-course racing to desert racing at 14 years-old where I moved up into Trophy Lite class and debuted at the 2011 Bluewater Desert Challenge. I only did three races in Trophy Lite, but I got in the Top Five in every race.”
You may say it runs in the blood, or is pure talent, but Brett looks to continue in his father’s footsteps while creating a legend for himself. To date, he ace raced in the Pacifico Class 6100 truck, winning the 2015 BITD championship and now competes in the Coors Light Trophy Truck.
The Trophy Truck class is a very experienced group of drivers and teams, but Brett knows this: “It is humbling because I have been looking up to these guys my whole life. Guys like Rob MacCachren and Andy McMillan have raced with my dad and were on our team. I have received tips from them growing up, and knowing that I am competing with them for the win … it is a pretty amazing feeling.”
Trucks And Beer
We recently published an article on Herbst Smith Fabrication building two new trucks, and originally thought they were both going to be Team Herbst trucks. Well, it turns out that one of the trucks we saw being built was actually Brett’s truck.
“They did a great job on the truck. They started building the trucks in late October and finished them a week before the Parker 425,” Brett told us. “Parker was the truck’s maiden voyage, and we finished the race in 14th place with minor problems. For them to basically build two brand new trucks in a little over three months, and then have both of them finish – the Herbst truck finished 10th, and is a true testament to the work and design they do.”
Brett continued by saying, “The talks began when Mike Smith reached out to my dad and we went to go see them about building the 6100 truck. From there, it was a little negotiating, and then we had ourselves a new Trophy Truck.”
It seems like every truck in the Sourapas lineup is beer-related, and there is a good reason behind it. Steve owns a beer distribution company in the San Diego area, and in Brett’s words, “It is our business and although we may not particularly own the beer company, we distribute its products.”
Racing The Great American Race
The Mint 400 is not your average race. There is a great deal of history and legacy to the race. “With the vibe and how big the Martelli Brothers brought this race back, I would say that it is almost as big as the Baja 1000. I would say this is one of the main races you want to compete in nowadays,” Brett said.
“Last year was my first year racing the Mint. We were lucky enough to win in Class 6100,” Brett continued. It would also be the last time he raced in the Trophy Lite class. “We thought it would be a good transition for us after racing Trophy Lite. We knew we wanted to get into the Trophy Truck Class and starting with the Trophy Lite would give us a good base before jumping up to more power.
“I knew if I only had one race all year to win, this was the race to do it. This is where all the competition is. Everyone wants to win, and it’s one of the roughest courses in the United States. I came in with the mindset that this was the biggest one of the year,” Brett explained.
He also knew the race would not be easy and recalled the toughest part of the race last year, saying, “Getting up into the mountains was tough for me last year. The course gets really beat up throughout the day there and then it is very rocky.”
After a fourth place finish at this year’s Mint 400, we caught back up with Brett. “We almost threw it away twice on the first lap, scratched it up, and ended up having to take the hood off. After that, we just went into cruise mode and just let the race play out. Cars soon started to break and we were able to gain positions,” he said.
“We ran the whole day with little problems. The only real problem we had was losing a belt about a half-mile from the finish line. We had to finish the race with no power steering and cruised to the checkered flag at about 15 miles per hour,” Brett said.
As for the rest of the year, Brett he plans on racing all of the major BITD races, and does not have plans for any SCORE races at this time, however, is not leaving that option out. As of now the team’s next race will be the new, two-day Vegas to Reno in August.
“My future in off-road racing is just beginning. I see myself racing as long as I can still drive, and I hope that I can continue to do it for many years to come,” Brett stated.
At 19 years-old, Brett has just scratched the surface of his professional racing career. He has plenty of time to carve his own legacy into the dirt and continue the family’s success in off-road racing. We are sure that we will continue to see the Sourapas name on the leaderboards, point championships, and race wins for years to come.