Off-Road racing is totally insane. We spend millions of dollars building magnificent machines that seemingly defy physics only to totally destroy them at every race. But therein lies the beautiful truth of our culture. Each race defines you for better or for worse, but then there is another race, another chance to rise up from defeat and be reborn as the hero, and heroes need chariots to carry them to victory. Tavo Vildósola’s new all-wheel drive Mason trophy truck is the perfect illustration of this insanity.
Here is the question I have for you. Is what we do really insane? Or is it a critical act of facing resistance that we need as human beings to unlock some ancient power locked deep within our DNA?
This new All Wheel Drive Mason Trophy Truck aptly named “Blackjack” debuted at this year’s Baja 1000 and quickly exploded on social media with all the fans celebrating the amazing hand painted graphic package. But the jubilation and hope quickly turned into fear and disappointment when a mechanical malfunction occurred as they were battling for the lead at race mile 160 and a torque converter malfunction led to a fire nearly burning the brand-new vehicle to the ground. Off-Road racing is unforgiving. The team will re-build and be back for The San Felipe 250 in 2023.
I would argue that this is the best (hand-painted) graphic package to ever wrap a trophy truck. Why? it’s not just how it looks, it’s what the graphics represent. The Hispanic-themed graphics not only highlight Tavo’s origins but they tell important stories of Hispanic culture.
The left side of the hood features Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl. Itza was a princess and Popo a warrior. Her father, the ruler of the land, asked Popo to go to war and come back victorious if he wanted to marry his daughter. Popo accepted, and Itza patiently waited for him while others tried to win her heart. One day, in an attempt to mislead her, one of her other suitors told her that Popo had died and Itza, suffocated by the pain, died of a broken heart. When Popo came back and heard the tragic news, he decided to take Itza to the top of a mountain to build a majestic tomb for her. Consumed sadness, Popo sat next to his beloved and froze to death. There, as the young couple was covered by snow, the gods turned them into volcanoes.
The other side of the hood features the coat of arms of Mexico (Escudo Nacional de México) which literally translates to “The National shield of Mexico”). The coat of arms depicts a Mexican (golden) eagle perched on a prickly pear cactus devouring a rattlesnake. The design is rooted in the legend that the Aztec people would know where to build their city once they saw an eagle eating a snake on top of a lake. The image has been an important symbol of Mexican politics and culture for centuries. To the people of Tenochtitlan, this symbol had strong religious connotations, and to the Europeans, it came to symbolize the triumph of good over evil (with the snake sometimes representative of the serpent in the Garden of Eden).
Eagle and snake fighting symbolize two sides of a conflict. Both animals are strong and ruthless, but most often the eagle is seen as the noble side and as a contrast to the snake, which is often represented as bad. Most often in this battle, the eagle, that is, the good side wins.
Tavo along with his father Gus Vildósola were the first Mexicans to win the Baja 1000 overall becoming national heroes. Tavo is not just a Mexican, he is a “Cachanilla” meaning he is from Mexicali. It is believed that the term “Cachanilla” originated as an insult from mainland Mexicans in describing the wild and rugged people from Mexicali living in a god-forsaken ultra-harsh environment. A “Cachanilla” is also a small desert flower that grows throughout some of the harshest landscapes of Baja, an illustration of the persevering beauty and fierce independence of the people of not just Mexicali, but of Baja. Tavo and Gus showed the world that “Cachanillas” can win the granddaddy of all off-road races, The Baja 1000. They paved the way for Juan and Apdaly Lopez and Alan and Aaron Ampudia to win The Baja 1000.
Like their Baja 1000 win these vehicle graphics or “Livery” are a visible nod to the Mexican fans and racers that they “La Raza” are capable of great things.
Mason Motorsports All Wheel drive roller chassis #12 was delivered to the Vildósola racing shop and was assembled by Tavo’s longtime co-driver and crew chief extraordinaire Javier “Javi” Valenzuela and his team in-house. Take a close look at this amazing vehicle.
|7000lbs race-ready full of fuel.
|Front: 24″ – Rear: 32″
|KING Front and Rear 4.5” Full Bypass Technology
|Power Steering Solutions
|Mason on board Jack system
|40” ToyoTires M/T race tire
|17″ Forged Method Race Wheels
|Brembo Race System
|Carbon Fiber Ford Raptor Custom Body
|Impact Carbon Fiber HS1
|Nets & Belts:
|MasterCraft Safety Nets
|900 ft lbs
|Xtrac 6 speed sequential gearbox.
|Mason Front diff / tcase unit.
|Mason Custom stainless exhaust.
|Brown and Miller
|Harmon Racing Cells with carbon fiber can.
|Loose Cannon Customs (Nick Battaglia)
|All carbon fiber panels including skid plates and roof panels
|Wiring / Electronics:
|James Lin Wiring and Electronics
|Kustom Komponents air conditioners for helmets, Tire pressure monitoring, Sat Comm system
|All dimensions should be imperial and metric. Example: 10 inches / 254 mm
Photography: Vincent Knakal – Mad Media