“BESSIE” SET TO RETURN IN 2019
In the late 1990s and just after the turn of the century one of the most popular trucks with the Big Rigs Pulling Series was a long nosed ’71 Kenworth with a V-12 Detroit named “Bessie”. The black and white paint design was hand drawn by Andy Trought’s wife Melissa and soon became a crowd favorite. The truck was owned by Andy Trought of Moorestown, New Jersey who also owned Mill Street Tire. His partner was a boat mechanic from Palmyra, New Jersey named Wayne Lofland.
The semi was a mainstay when the Big Rigs Series was largely an invitational class along with the team mate Brockway named “Brockasaurus” with the large propane tank on the back and the ever present NAPA hat lighted on the cab.
“Bessie” eventually was purchased by Antrim Diesel from Greencastle, Pennsylvania with the ultimate plan to install a CAT motor in the machine. The truck went to Kentucky for this purpose but it was never accomplished. Two years ago “Bessie” came back to Antrim Diesel in southern Pennsylvania but this was at the time when Antrim was campaigning their “Maximum Force” Mack V-8 on the national circuit which took up their time and resources.
The truck is now at the Franklin County Career & Technology Center near Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. The renovation is being done by the Diesel Mechanics shop under the direction of instructor Kevin (AJ) Grove who is also the driver of Antrim’s “Antrim Tantrum” Mod Turbo International tractor.
Recently a Mack V-8 with a single charger has been installed in “Bessie”. This is the engine that came out of “Thunder Dog”, the former Big Rigs Series champion that was driven by Dave Frantz from the Antrim “Poor Boys Pulling Team”.
Richard Price is the owner of Antrim Diesel and his son, Philip Price, is in charge of the semi-truck portion of their motor sport program. Philip reports that “Bessie” will come out as a PA POSSE style truck with a single charger and the traditional fifth wheel pulling hitch. He hopes to bring “Bessie” to the track in the early part of the 2019 season.
The Antrim Team also reports that their “Maximum Force” Big Rig that was second in the nation in 2017 with the Lucas Series will return to the track in 2019 after missing the entire season a year ago. The Mack V-8 engine is at Francis Engineering in Leroy, Ohio and is being converted to a single turbo charger in order to compete regularly with the Big Rigs point series this summer. “Maximum Force” is a Mack Magnum that was formerly campaigned with USA-EAST by Pat Counter of Kennedy, New York. (Photo courtesy of JR –
The USA-EAST Big Rigs Series begins the 2019 season at EXPO Speedway at the Trumbull County Fairgrounds on Saturday, May 25 – the Saturday of Memorial Day week-end.