The Godfather of Off-Road Racing: Mickey Thompson

mickey t racing baja

Mickey Thompson on his way to
winning the mighty Baja 1000 race

If you’re a serious off-roader, a casual fan of off-road stadium racing, or have ever put a single tire of your truck or Jeep onto the dirt then you owe a big debt of gratitude to Mickey Thompson.

Without Thompson we wouldn’t have the -road tire technology we have today, there probably wouldn’t be much in the way of off-road racing, and the world would be a much more boring place because of it.

A Lifetime of Achievement

Thompson was already a world land speed record breaker, drag racing champion and acclaimed Indy 500 racer and car builder by the time he turned his attentions to off-road competition.

Having accomplished this much, lesser men might have decided to rest on their laurels, but not Thompson. Instead he set about revolutionizing off-road racing and the off-road tire industry.

Baja and Beyond

baja race view

The Baja 1000 continues to attract
competitors and fans from around
the world

A guest drive in a pickup on the Baja 1000 race was enough to get Thompson hooked on off-road competition. Among his successes on the Baja and other off-road races, there are two standout things Thompson did at this time that turned him into an off-road god in the eyes of many.

Firstly he founded the SCORE off-road association. This one action turned off-road and desert racing from a largely ignored sport run by a bunch of amateurs into a professional sport with a huge audience. Thanks to Thompson everyone since has heard of the Baja 1000 and off-road racing.

Secondly Thompson developed tires with tread wrapping around onto the sidewall. He first came up with the inspiration for this while competing in the Baja 1000 and quickly started manufacturing them through his Mickey Thompson Performance Tires & Wheels company.

Mickey Thompson SideBiter Tires

baja claw tire

The Baja Claw with chunky
SideBiters for maximum traction
in extreme terrain

Thompson called the unique sidewall tread ‘SideBiter’ and it’s still featured on Mickey Thompson Tires’ truck tires today. The MT Baja Claw range all feature huge SideBiters for traction in extreme conditions, and the ATZ and STZ ‘hybrid’ rages designed for off-road and everyday use also feature SideBiter technology.Mickey Thompson tires have dug many a racer out of the Baja sand and gotten countless weekend warriors out of a mud hole thanks to the years of experience gained through the company’s off-road competition.

If you want off-road performance and off-road looks for your truck, look no further than the first name in off-road tires. Mickey Thompson

By John Bone

Posted on September 23rd, 2013
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