They’re 12 feet tall and 12 feet wide, have 66-inch-tall tires, and weigh over 10,000 pounds. They can generate 1,500 to 2,000 horsepower and are capable of speeds of up to 100 miles per hour. And they can fly up to 125 to 130 feet.
If you aren’t sure by now; yes, we’re talking about Monster Trucks. And there will be a whole host of them at Budweiser Gardens this weekend.
Monster Jam has been around for 25 years, and it brings its high-energy off roading competition to London on Saturday and Sunday.
There are eight drivers vying for supremacy in London, and one of them is Canadian.
“We created the truck for the Canadian fans, and it’s had a great response all over the world,” says Cam McQueen, the driver of Northern Nightmare.
“We’ve been out here just trying to do the best we can for the Canadian fans; it’s an honour for me to be in this position.”
McQueen has been making Canada proud; he won a Monster Jam World Finals Freestyle Championship in 2012, and has had great success on this year’s tour.
“This year’s been excellent, we just started the Canadian portion of our tour, and we bring home at least a few wins every weekend,” says McQueen.
“To be running with such excellent drivers, and trading wins every weekend is an accomplishment, and an honour to be able to run with these guys at that level.”
You would think that driving a massive Monster Truck and competing across the world would come with some training. But believe it or not, he’s had no formal instruction.
“The funny thing with Monster Jam is there’s no such thing as practice, especially not when I got started.”
But that didn’t stop McQueen. He’s loved racing since before he can remember.
“I started young riding dirt bikes when I was 5 years old; from there I started racing Motorcross through my teenage years, and from there worked at a local bike shop, and that’s how I kind of funding my racing habit.”
From there, McQueen got involved with the Nitro Circus stunt team, and when Travis Pastrana asked him to drive a Monster Truck, he was all in.
“I started out as their test dummy; they found I would try stuff that some other people might not try, and they kept me on board as one of their stunt drivers,” explained McQueen.
“I was approached about piloting the truck, and that’s where it all started. I went and tested at the facility in North Carolina, and they liked what they saw, and before long, they put me in a seat.”
That was 2007. Ten years later, McQueen is one of the most seasoned drivers on the tour.
But not everything about competing every weekend in shows across the world is as exciting as it sounds for McQueen.
“It takes a lot of time being on the road and flying from show to show every weekend. Leaving my wife and kids at home, I always want to get home as soon as possible.”
McQueen has had a great run since starting with Monster Jam, and this season has been different. Racing against some of the top teams in the world, Northern Nightmare is no slouch.
“We are in the lead right now in the season standings, and we look forward to keeping at the top of the pile,” he says.
The event includes two fathers and daughters competing against one another: Nitro Menace/Darren Migues, Jailbird/Kaylyn Migues and Instigator/Paul Breaud and Muddy Girl/Maddie Breaud. The other trucks are Grave Digger, Midnight Rider and Wild Thang.
There are three shows this weekend: two on Saturday, at 1 pm and 7 pm, and another on Sunday at 1 pm.
Beforehand, fans have an opportunity to meet drivers, take photos and get autographs at the “Pit Party.” The Pit Party ticket is $10 and you need to have a Monster Jam show ticket to enter. It takes place at 10:30am-noon on Saturday and Sunday.
If you’re into massive trucks, off-roading, or both, you won’t want to miss Monster Jam at Budweiser Gardens this weekend.