LEWISTON — Neal Gagne is excited — and ready — to debut the newest creation from Top Notch Fabrication — a brand-new mud truck.

More specifically, he’s excited to show it off at Trucks Gone Wild this weekend at the Barnyard in Livermore.

Get ready for Mud Life Crisis II.

Gagne, owner of Top Notch, and Mike Carrier, owner and driver of the truck, have been working together for the past 30 days to complete the task of building a mud-runner truck in just one month.

When Mud Life Crisis I was destroyed in a crash with Mike at the wheel, they only had July to build a whole new truck in time for this weekend’s races.

“We started with building the wheels and building the axles,” Gagne said.

Gagne said the truck will be finished with all-fiberglass panels and closed in with aluminum for protection and waterproofing. 

“We’re all about safety,” Gagne said. “The truck is fully equipped with an onboard fire-suppression system. Every now and then, there’s a mishap. A lot of us (drivers and crew) wear fire suits these days.”

The crew tested the truck this past Sunday, and the transmission malfunctioned. Thanks to their speedy parts guy, Dr. Steve’s Transmission Clinic out of Manchester, N.H., it was expected to be fixed and ready by Thursday.

Don’t worry about the wreckage, though, because that’s a big part of the show.

“People love carnage — they do,” said Jen Gagne, Neal’s wife.

She said she’s very supportive and loves the mudding and trucking.

“The safety crew is all ready,” she said. “If someone rolls, they’re out there turning off the battery and shutting down the fuel.

“The sport has grown unbelievably; it’s amazing,” Jen Gagne said. “We do a lot with kids, too,. They’re our muddy future.”

She said the racers are very supportive of each other.

“It’s not just about the races,” she said. “We’re all there to have a good time.”

Neal Gagne’s granddaughter, 16, also races. 

“Her truck isn’t as mean, but she’s still going in the mud,” he said proudly.

“I’ve been playing in mud for 30-plus years,” he said. “The business started in 2008, and it’s been building up ever since.”

Gagne also tried his best to explain the details of the truck: “It started with five-ton military meritor axles powered by an all-aluminum, 7.4-cubic-inch Whipple Supercharger,” he said.

The truck has taken in incredible amount of dedication, but Gagne thinks it will be worth it when it’s unveiled on Friday.

“He was up for a challenge,” Jen Gagne said, “and it became 14- to 15-hour workdays for 30 days straight.”

Carrier lives in Pittsfield, so he camped out in the lot instead of making the 2-plus-hour drive each way.

“That’s when I knew it was serious,” Jen Gagne said.

The final product will be one truck two ways: with a cab and without. Or as Neal Gagne called it, a naked truck.

“She’s a beast,” he said.

This year, Trucks Gone Wild scheduled three events instead of the usual two in the “Wicked North” area and named it the Wicked Summah Series.

A bonafide wrestling belt will be awarded to the driver and truck with the most overall points from the three events.

“This is the last one, so people will be going all out to get as many points as they can,” Gagne said. “Everyone’s gonna be putting on a show. We do a lot of crazy things with our trucks.”

Trucks Gone Wild will be held at The Barnyard in Livermore this Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Up to 4,000 people are expected.

Skosh will play a live show Saturday night.

To learn more and to find specific times, visit the official TGW website


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