“There’s always another car that’s coming, and I’ve always got about six in my mind at any one time!” That was New Zealand drift king Mad Mike Whiddett’s response when we asked him about the constantly-evolving state of his garage.
It’s true that the Mad Mike stable is growing at a vast rate of knots, and currently contains:
And now, there’s another one. Based on a Mazda REPU B2000 pickup truck, the new machine has been christened RUMBUL – and for a very good reason: Mad Mike’s new toy is a big, bouncy stadium truck - built for racing on the aggressive man-made dirt courses in series like the Robby Gordon Stadium SUPER Trucks championship.
With RUMBUL set to make its debut at the 2017 Goodwood Festival of Speed, we spoke to Mad Mike to see why he’d built the truck, get the machine’s vital statistics and find out why driving it is like racing a 250cc motocross bike…
So Mike, tell us a bit about RUMBUL
RUMBUL is my first taste of off-road truck racing. It actually came from meeting Robby Gordon two years ago at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. He was in the paddock next to us and saw me tearing up the driveway in my Mazda RX-7. He saw that my driving style was pretty crazy and wanted to get me out in a truck.
I adapted really quickly because it was basically like motocross and drifting combined!
I managed to get a wildcard entry to race Stadium SUPER Trucks in California. I went there, qualified second and had some really good results. My background before drifting was motocross, so with the truck I adapted really quickly because it was basically like motocross and drifting combined! So then we picked up the truck last year, modified it and it’s cool to be able to reveal it at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.
What sort of power does RUMBUL have?
Of the fleet, it’s got the least horsepower. It’s not an absolute crazy monster – it’s got about 250bhp. But the power-to-weight ratio and the balance are just unreal – you can literally just drive the thing like a 250cc motocross bike. It’s exciting to drive.
And it’s rotary-engined, of course…
Yeah. The cool thing is that you can just be so rough on it. It’s really strong.
So with MADBUL, HUMBUL, RADBUL, BADBUL and now RUMBUL, the Mad Mike stable is getting pretty full. But are there any other machines that we can expect to see any time soon?
I’ve got lots of ideas, and we’re in pretty heavy development with some cool projects which will kick off this year, and which we’ll reveal later on. I like teasing them, and it’s great with the fan base to be able to do that. It’s all about being the first to do something and building something that’s unique. I just love living the challenges of building these cars.
RUMBUL at a glance:
- Chassis: Tube-frame Mazda REPU B2000, with Hybrid Lab-built fibre-reinforced plastic bodywork
- Power: 250bhp
- Engine: Naturally-aspirated, mid-mounted Mazda Renesis 13B twin rotor
- Weight: 900kg
- Suspension: Fox Racing Triple Bypass
- Wheels: Rotiform Beadlocks
- Gearbox: Mendeola MD4S
- Filters: K&N
- Spark plugs: NGK