Event Story] [Day 1 Action]
[Day 2 Action]
our Photo Gallery here!
here for a Quicktime video clip of Mitch Guthrie and other
Goodyear-Skyjacker Rock Crawling Nationals Review
competition and controversy of this season may have ended,
but the turmoil regarding next season's post-merger shakeout
and the future of professional rockcrawling itself lingers
payouts to the top competitors a fraction of what they had
been for last season's finals, teams wonder how they will
be able to continue building world-class rigs. The lower
payouts left a bad taste in the mouths of all but the most
optimistic contenders. Those that didn't mind either hoped
to bring rockcrawling back to its low-budget roots or maybe
a big-money blow-out next season.
any rate, the merger of UROC and RCAA was more than likely
a key factor. What it means in reality for competitors is
a higher reliance on individual sponsors and contingencies.
world's top rockcrawlers represented completely different
ends of the spectrum. Jeff Mello (event winner, Stock Mod)
with his mildly-modified Jeep, and Jon Bundrant (season
winner, Unlimited) in his purpose-built buggy.
proved you can be competitive with leaf springs, no Atlas
II, junkyard AMC 360 and only a 79:1 crawl ratio. With great
driving and the right spotter (Kevin Carey) anything is
pushed the envelope with his mid-engine, air-cooled, fuel-injected
Tiny. The general sentiments throughout the season were
"looks funny, works great".
uncertainty of what the UROC / RCAA merger will bring was
on the top of everyone's minds; what will be the new classes
and what will be the vehicle requirements and limitations.
time will tell.
Event Standings - Unlimited
2 Mitch Guthrie
3 Tracy Jordan
4 Mike Shaffer
5 Jon Bundrant
6 Walker Evans
7 Jason Paule
8 Matt Petersen
9 Joel Randall
10 Matt Wooley
Series Standings - Unlimited
Bundrant, Jon 542
2. Jordan, Tracy 538
3. Shaffer, Mike 532
4. Randall, Joel 520
5. Guthrie, Mitch 516
6. Campbell, Shannon 516
7. Paule, Jason 514
8. Gilleland, John 508
9. Peterson, Matt 496
10. Howe, Terry 476
Event Standings - Stock Mod
Mello, Jeff 179
2. Hastings, Steve184
3. Standage, Bob 186
4. Errea/Schweisow 192
5. Sisson, Garrett231
6. Hawkins, Kevin 274
7. McCurrie, Lonnie 303
8. Bureau, Scott 312
9. Foutz, John 527
Series Standings - Stock Mod
Sisson / Sisson 546
2. Mello, Jeff 544
3. Errea, Bria 540
4. Standage, Bob 538
5. Hastings, Steve 538
6. Hawkins, Kevin 516
7. Buraru / Burau 492
8. McCurry, Lonnie 492
9. Webster, Becca 388
TO JON BUNDRANT AND TEAM SISSON FOR WINNING THEIR RESPECTIVE
the competitive sides of the drivers come out, so do the
rolls and flops.
Chris Durham is fully getting it as he launches through
the squeeze on B5.
He comes to rest on the other side of the squeeze in a bad
spot. He tries to drive out.
Things are looking bad.
Yes, he’s over.
Durham rolls bad on his side in a dicey place. On the other
side of his rig is a steep crevice that runs all the way
down to the valley floor.
They hook up a few winch lines. Not safe says the Marshall,
get a different line on it.
Back rubber side down, he drives out. Nobody hurt, just
a few light battle scars on the rig.
Bob Standage looks like he’s got a good line going.
When all of a sudden, he finds himself on his side. Note
that the previous picture was taken from the exact location
where your P4x4.com correspondent was standing just a few
seconds earlier. His quick feet saved his own hide, and
more importantly, the pictures.
Despite a valiant effort of trying to drive it out with
a heave-ho from his spotter, he gives up and shuts down
Two good clean flops, not five minutes apart, no one hurt
in either. With minimal damage he drives on to his next
are really starting to run high today and parts are breaking
as the competition really gets down to the wire. The points
race is close.
Bart Jacobs and spotter argued with each other, but still
managed to pull off a 22 point run on obstacle A2 despite
the shouting. By the time they get to the next obsticle
they will be best buddies again and shoot for the same goal.
Brandon Johnson’s rig gets a little trail repair with
a flat bastard (not Lance) as the knuckle flange is bending
down into the U-joint on their rear steer axle.
Just at the beginning of what was turning into a good smoke
show on a little hill climb, Mar Pepper blows out his front
driveshaft on B6.
It’s a long drop, but Mike Shaffer pulls but a single
point on B5 despite the use of only one front brake. Mike
explains, “On our last obstacle, our front suspension
bottomed out, and we just added a skidplate, and we didn’t
take in account for the clearance of the brake line. So
it cut a brake line right in half.”
A grand total of less than an inch pushed Tracy Jordan from
a perfect run to the 18 points he had to take for brushing
the leaves of an off-limits tree and scuffing the base of
a cone on the ending hill climb. Unfortunately for Jordan,
that makes for at least 5 cones hit by Jordan so far this
Webster rockets up the final hillclimb on A4 in the Red
Bull RockIt as her husband / spotter Dustin Webster scrambles
up after her. Dustin: “Stop! Stop! Stop!” Crowd:
“Go! Go! Go!” Becca listened to her inner voice
and hauled ass up that was supported by the cheers and applause
from the crowd.
Local New Mexico singer Erica Wagoner starts us off with
a solo rendition of the Star Spangled Banner.
Bob Standage squeaks by a cone. That would be a 10 pt ding
that he didn’t need.
Neil Lillard high centers his funny looking rig while his
spotter offers some moral support. Kimmy Lillard is his
wife and spotter one of the few couples that can work well
together. She and Neil made an agreement that she will not
use a rope on in a competition.
Brandon Johnson spends 3 minutes watching his spotter stack
rocks, inching forward every time the judge started counting
for the stopping point.
not smoke rolling off Johnson’s tires, it’s
steam. This wicked hill climb at the end of B4 took another
two full minutes of burning the wet sand, swishing the rear
steer from left to right stops, cranking on the steering
and a whole bunch of pulling by his spotter. Johnson finished
with less than a minute left on the clock and a huge round
of applause for defying gravity and completing the climb.
everyone is cursing last night’s rain. These girls
are enjoying the wet sand, working on a sand castle with
a tire rut moat.
at six, off to McDonald’s for a McGriddle, forgot
the laptop, back to the hotel, it doesn’t take much
to break our concentration this early in the morning, so
we got lost on the way to the comp. At least last night’s
thunderstorm is keeping the dust down. However, the sandy
washes are now all wet sandy washes. The ride out to the
comp in the Honda was a hair-raising experience. Momentum
and Kelly Clifford’s skillful (and gutsy) driving
was the key for not getting bogged down.
promises to be a very different set of courses from yesterday
as the wet New Mexican sand sticks to tires. We’re
expecting lots of tire spin as drivers clear tires for traction.
The sun this morning is a welcomed change from the cloud
cover yesterday, and should help dry out the course. However,
the temperature was a nice change for the spotters. In the
series of these events most of the temperature have been
in the 90's to over 100 degrees. We didn’t have to
worry about Lance Clifford looking like he is going to keel
over with heat exhaustion. Good thing because what would
Pirate4x4.com do without him?
is guaranteed to be a very exciting day for these spectating
enthusiast. With the point scores being so close in the
top 7. It is still very much anybody’s game at this
point. Today promises to be a heated day as the battle for
points continues in both the Super Modified and the Modified
the Modified Stock Class, Errea leads Hastings by a mere
16 points. Close on their heels is Jeff Mello just 3 points
behind Hastings. What the rain shower may have done to the
course, means that Errea’s 16 point lead could be
may be a challenge to keep up. And only halfway through
the comp, the 3 point difference between Mello and Hastings
is academic at best. There are 7 teams within 67 points
of each other; that’s just a timeout and three cones.
But to these professional competitors it is a large gap
that often gives some of them a nervous stomach.
the Unlimited Class, Tracy Jordan is walking away with a
36 point lead over second place Shannon Campbell. With only
14 point spread between Campbell and third place Mitch Guthrie
makes for a close running for 1st place. The next few competitors
are running neck and neck with John Bundrant currently in
fourth place is only a single point behind Guthrie is Jon
Bundrant. The tight scores continue as Mike Shaffer is a
mere two points behind Bundrant. Walker Evans is in the
running as well with a three point spread under Shaffer,
and then Jason Paule is in a close 7th. That means there’s
a slim 11 points that separate third place Guthrie from
seventh place Paule. Jordan with is large lead is will be
a real contender for the other competitors. The others are
to have to have a phenomenal day to gain points on Jordan.
There is a whole pack nipping at his heals for the win.