Shop students at Peter Skene Ogden secondary are about to start building an engine for a 1978 Blazer racing truck, which they hope to rev up as part of a school-based dirt-biking club.
The truck was donated by Leanna and Dave Davies, owners of 100 Mile Horsepower Ranch, a motorsports and outdoor recreational facility just north of Forest Grove. The donation, delivered last weekend, consists of the Blazer chassis, tires, a roll cage, seats and steering wheel.
“It’s got a good starting base and it’s a nicely built truck. It’s got good axles, extra components like the shocks and everything inside it, so I think it will be a good starting point for them to build onto,” Leanna said. “I know the kids are really going to enjoy this truck.”
The donation came about after a student asked PSO tech-education and auto shop teacher Chris Leflufy if there would be interest at the school for having a dirt-racing club and then introduced him to the ranch. Leflufy consulted his students, who supported the idea of starting a club and building racing vehicles.
He plans to model the club, which will take place within cohorts during class, after the old drag racing club the school used to have at the Ashcroft racetrack. Once the vehicle is finished, Leflufy said he would like to let them race it, pending board approval.
READ MORE: Lockdown drill at Peter Skene Ogden
“All of this came to me through interest from kids at the school and folks in the community,” Leflufy said, joking that they’ll have to come up with something clever to call the club.
Work is expected to start shortly on the truck, which had previously belonged to one of the racers at Horsepower Ranch, who had used it for mud racing and short track racing. It was selected after Brandon Plewes, a member of the Northwest Mudracing Association, contacted Dave to find a suitable vehicle for the students to build that wouldn’t require too much work. The previous owner had removed the engine for another vehicle, leaving the chassis and wheels behind.
“I would like to see them do some fab work and learn how to install engines, it’s awesome when kids are involved with vehicles and show interest,” Dave said.
Dave pledged that he and other mud racers are further willing to help the students out by donating any parts they may need. He and Leanna will also keep an eye out for other vehicles that could be suitable for donation to PSO, depending on how the students do with this current vehicle.
Leanna added if the students need help they can reach out to local racers and car enthusiasts for help and pointers. “I think when you’re out in the woods, maybe hunting or exploring … when you have that knowledge if something does go wrong with your vehicle, you’re able to fix it on the spot and get out of the bush.”