Here’s a sport where playing dirty is a prerequisite for success.
Laidlaw resident Cody Leach has been mud drag racing for the past four years — and now, thanks to a more powerful motor and deeper tweaks on his truck, he has captured first place in the province, among A-class racers.
Leach was awarded the trophy and a souvenir jacket at a recent ceremony for the North West Mud Racing Association, after earning 490 points in the season, 50 ahead of the second-place finisher.
“There are 11 trucks racing in A class,” said Leach, a residential electrician by trade. “I missed the first Merritt race and still managed to do well enough to win the points champion. I honestly never thought I would ever win it. I placed third in points two years ago.”
Dropping about $15,000 on a new motor and adding racing fuel to his truck’s diet (at $8.50 a liter) gave Leach the extra edge he needed.
“We went from a small block 383 cubic-inch to a 468 cubic-inch GM big block, based on a 454,” explained Leach.
“I had the work done at Heads Unlimited in Surrey. They did the bottom end, giving us what’s called a short block, then my best friend Corey Baird and I did the rest.”
Leach, his wife Allyssa and their son Cody Junior live in the home above Cody’s spacious shop, so he’s only a staircase away if there’s work to be done at either level.
“I figure it was about 80 man-hours of preparation work before our first race,” added Leach. “I missed the first Merritt race because we were waiting for valve springs for the new motor. There was nowhere local that I could get them, so I had to order online and wait for shipping.”
The delay forced the ‘Mudd Butt’ team to wait till mid-July for the event at 100 Mile House. “This was a new race on the circuit,” said Leach. “It was at an off-road park called the 100 Mile Horsepower Ranch.”
Leach’s and Baird’s preparation paid off, with encouraging results.
“I won first place overall and got the fastest pass in my class,” said Leach. “I ran my fastest time I ever ran and all my passes were in the fours and fives (seconds).”
The track is only 200 feet long, mind you — but no quarter-mile dragster could handle the sometimes waist-deep muck that Mudd Butt torques through. Leach and Baird have removed all the glass and cut away any non-essential bodywork: so when the mud flies, it goes everywhere.
“At 100 Mile, they also had a freestyle event for the first time, with mud racers doing what monster trucks do,” said Leach. “Some vehicles were definitely wrecked; some were blowing apart when they landed after a jump.”
That’s serious coin lost, in exchange for a ‘Crowd Pleaser’ trophy — and Leach wanted no part of it. “My truck is strictly a race truck. It’s not meant for jumping,” he said.
Asked how much he has sunk into his ride so far, Leach paused for the dollars to roll through his inner calculator.
He shook his head and replied, “Honestly… I’ve lost count. I’m hoping to get at least 4 four or five years out of this motor before it needs a refresh, though.”
His sponsors have borne some of the expenses, including his boss and friend, Mike Brady of Brady Electric in Chilliwack. Leach has even gotten him involved in mud racing and in Hope Motorsports events.
“Then there’s Rick Hauser of Chilliwack Spring Service and Mike Chamberlain (a former ‘North’ Laidlaw resident) of Mountain Pacific Mechanical. He sponsored me from day 1, when Mudd Butt was still street legal.
“And my dad, Jim. He’s not a wrench-turner but he’s always supporting me and helping me be able to race, any way he can.”
Leach and Baird have already placed the old small block motor into a Chevy Sonoma pick-up that will be running street drags at Mission Raceway next summer.
“Allyssa bugs me to let her get behind the wheel of Mudd Butt — but I don’t let her,” said Cody. “But she won the powder puff event at Brigade Days in one of my Jeeps when she was pregnant with CJ.”
With two racing trucks parked under her house, Allyssa might just have to put her foot down, next season…
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