|2010 Ricky B'Day @ Morris Mountain ORV Park
Story and photos by Ricky Berry
[ PHOTO GALLERY ]
"Rock Bouncing" is a term that only recently has become popular to describe the high horsepower, high speed southern style wheelin'. It is a very descriptive term because that is exactly what's going on. Traction is something many in the southeast have never even heard of as most of the good wheeling season is plagued by rain, and therefore mud. Combine the mud with big mountain rocks and you get "rock bouncing". The standard built rig must handle full throttle assaults on the trails in this area of the country because the trails aren't usually going to be crawled. Because of the excitement of this full throttle style of wheeling and the vehicles that have been built to take the abuse, southeastern wheeling has grown in popularity.
I've been organizing a little private event every year at Morris Mountain ORV park, in Helfin, AL, in celebration of my birthday for the past four years. Since I was turning 21 this year I extended the invitation to anyone who was interested in coming. The event is called RBD (Ricky B'Day) and has earned itself the reputation of being Morris Mountain's most exciting event. I've been lucky to meet many great people in the offroad industry over the last several years due to my photography and this addicting hobby I call wheelin. It's always a good time getting everyone together for the weekend and to wheel some of the most hardcore trails in the southeast. This year Blue Torch Fab was contacted and asked to sponsor the "Mountain Mayhem" competition during RBD, they gladly agreed and quickly put up $1000 for the winner of the fastest to the top of Los Primos, a very difficult trail in the park. Soon I had tons of media support in the offroad community from Busted Knuckle Films and Pirate4x4.com. Not bad for a birthday party!
Friday morning brought the rain, but that didn't discourage anyone as the line to get into the park was backed up as far as you could see with rigs, gooseneck trailers, campers, and motor homes. Much of the day was spent setting up camp, but we were able to get a good bit of wheelin' in. We headed over to a trail called "The Good, Bad, and Ugly", where the rigs were putting on a show. When we pulled up to the parking area on the trail Tim Cameron had just crested the top ledge at full throttle in his new 454 small block powered Smith Motorsports chassis. Bryan Cole of Coleworx impressed the crowd as he nearly crawled the rock face of GBU with his new 43" TSL SX stickies. The best show was Bobby Tanner in his brand new ColeWorx rig dubbed "Screamin' Blue", who never checked up from the bottom and shot straight up the middle ledge where it's nearly vertical where he carried enough momentum that he nearly cleared the top ledge before he bellied out on the skid.
The slick rock face of GBU is deceiving; in photos it looks easy, and nearly flat! However, it is so slick that there is no point on the rock that a rig could stop without sliding quickly back down to the bottom. Chris May learned this the hard way when he took a bad bounce and ended up sideways on the rocks until he landed on the roof of his buggy. Joe Matlock of EOR also had similar problems, his cut boggers had no traction on the smooth and muddy rock face, and before he could grab reverse he flopped over as well. No "hook dirt" for the boggers on these rocks!
After GBU we took the scenic route around the park until we found Ed McClendon winching one of the guys with him back onto the tires after what looked to be a pretty nasty roll on "The Gauntlet".
Saturday morning came early as we prepared for the Mountain Mayhem competition on Los Primos. The competition course consisted of a short technical section, which was followed by a smooth dirt climb with a jump, then finish up at the two huge rock ledges. We expected fast runs but we never could have predicted the action we witnessed! Each competitor got three runs. Other than basic safety requirements that was it as far as rules went. Simplicity is king. Alan Clark was the third competitor to run and he set the bar for what would be an intense, full throttle day of competition. Once he cleared the technical section he held it to the wood until his front tires hit the ledge and launched his huge 4 seat custom chassis completely vertical!
As the first set of runs came to an end times were getting incredibly fast. The guys at Blue Torch predicted 5 minute runs and the fastest at the end of round 1 was Wes Kean at 29 seconds! Bobby Tanner was one of the faster guys and must have been doing upwards of 40mph in the middle section before launching up the big ledges at the top in his new ColeWorx tube chassis.
The internet celebrity, the O.G. Nut Swingee, hero of web wheelers everywhere, Tim Cameron put on what was quite possible the most impressive display of vehicular awesomeness You Tube has seen since "FatGirl Wheelie"! He made a quick time through the bottom section, then pinned the throttle and hit the ledges right in the center, launching his rig over 12 feet in the air! When he landed he never missed a beat and quicky drove his rig out of a roll, stopping just a couple feet from the spectator banner then reversed back down the ledges and complete the course. The skill of vehicle control he displayed after landing was impressive to say the least; he knew exactly where that rig was and what to do.
Timmie wasn't the only local hero at the competition by any means; Wes Kean has been taking names this season in eastern WeRock events and impressing everyone with his calm, yet full throttle "Wide F'n Open" driving style. He had the fastest run of the day, beating Bobby Tanner by less than 2 seconds. Wes nearly took out the Pirate4x4 banner on his 2nd run when he wheelied across the finish line! He went home $1,520 richer, thanks to Blue Torch Fab's $1020, and a last minute $500 donation from Smith Motorsports.
RBD wouldn't be complete without a wild party after dark and hilarious antics. We've always had a big party Saturday night and this year didn't disappoint... That is until the cops showed up to tell us to quiet down. I guess Adam Woodlee's KOH buggy was a little too loud to be pulling around the "hell sled". Back in 2007 we held the first unofficial "downhill Barbie jeep" race, and we brought it back for the first time just for this event. We had several entries in the race and everyone prepped their cars Sunday morning right up until the green flag dropped. Team RBD had bad luck early in the first heat when the steering broke and rolled the Pirate4x4 sponsored Powerwheels dune buggy over at mile marker .0002. Matt Myrick of Busted Knuckle Films took the win over Chase Prime in the final heat.
Big thanks to everyone who made this event possible, especially Georgia Steen who ran the front gate all weekend and made sure everyone had what they needed. Huge thanks to all the volunteers who worked the event, and the people who supported it! Thanks to Randy Morris and Kris Morris for such an awesome offroad park. I had a pretty good birthday party. See ya next year!
[ PHOTO GALLERY ]