Off-road truck racing legend takes on Cuba

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Cigars aren’t the only things getting smoked in Cuba. Here, BJ Baldwin’s 850-hp beast goest to work in Havana.Cigars aren’t the only things getting smoked in Cuba. Here, BJ Baldwin’s 850-hp beast goest to work in Havana.

While it’s hard to say if it will improve diplomatic relations or tourism efforts, off-road race truck driver BJ Baldwin’s recent stampede through Cuba is nothing short of mesmerizing.

Baldwin’s 850-horsepower Toyota trophy truck is shown in “Recoil 4” blazing past chickens, stunned onlookers and jumping a record 191-feet in a residential area and landing seemingly effortlessly on Toyo tires.

Slow-motion shots will help you appreciate the engineering–namely the suspension–keeping Baldwin’s truck together and ready to take on the next jump.

While the rest of Hollywood uses green screens, cranes and cars on rails to replicate jaw-dropping stunts, all six massive stunts in “Recoil” are real and the collaborative result of BJ working with legendary freestyle motocross and Nitro Circus star turned filmmaker Andy Bell.  Bell challenged Baldwin’s courage and the laws of gravity daily to execute jumps previously reserved only for motorcycles.

“We scouted the stunts believing if we could pull it off on a motorcycle, we could challenge BJ’s manhood enough that he would try them,” said Bell. “BJ pushed that truck beyond what anyone else would dream of doing and it resulted in some of the most intense action Cuba has seen in decades.”

Besides pulling off a record breaking, 191-foot jump down a narrow residential street, Baldwin nails a 110-foot jump across a downed bridge and a triple-step-down stair gap with a 20-foot vertical drop in Old Havana.

“It’s one thing to rip across desert terrain in Baja, it’s a completely other beast to fly through the streets of Havana at 100 mph,” said Baldwin. “There’s simply no discreet way to launch a million dollar, 6,000 pound trophy truck down a residential street that typically is reserved for vintage 1950’s era sedans.  We blew the locals’ minds.  They had no clue a truck could fly.”

Product placement throughout the Toyo-produced thrill ride is clever. Look for Rigid, King Shocks and Monster Energy. One now can only hope that Western ideals will make as big an impression as Baldwin’s insane jump onto a Cuban beach near the end of the ride. My jaw is still hanging.