Supercrawl II - St. George, UT
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Click here to see our team coverage photo gallery from SuperCrawl

[Day 2 Coverage]
[Day 1 Coverage]
>[Tech Inspection & Pre-event Coverage]<

Click here for a Quicktime video clip of Team Shaffer
attempting to "Spotter Ride" the "Money Pit" and more!
(requires Apple Quicktime plugin)

9/25/2003 10:00P.M. CST - Tech in

On the way to tech today we spotted Brandon "The Knife" Gillen loading up supplies at what is rumored to be his new sponsor. With sponsorship dollars being soaked up quickly, we applaud him for seeking new areas of revenue to keep his team supported. Should this rumor turn out to be false, we hope that the Anarchy Off-Road t-shirts are a big seller so that he can continue to wow the crowds with his dazzling driving skills.

When we arrived at the tech inspections site, St. George’s own Dixie Convention Center, the temps had already blown past the 90 degree mark and were straining towards triple digits. Teams were lined up onto the street awaiting their turn to be inspected for the necessary equipment requirements. BFG was handing out 40” Krawlers to their sponsored teams. There were many jockying to get on this highly covetted list.While most teams were busy with the frenzy of getting inspected, registered and speaking with avid fans, we cruised the scene looking for spare moments of time in which to grab an interview.

One of the first we stumble on was UROC founder and former competitor, Craig Stumph, who, along with his assistant course designer Ed Purcell, spent the preceding days laying out the challenges the teams would be tackling during the event. Craig was quick to inform us that he drove every obstacle in his stalwart Commando and only broke on one obstacle. When asked which one and what he broke, he wasted no time in letting us know, “I dropped my shaft in the Money Pit”. “Money Pit” is the moniker that has been given to the 11th obstacle for the duration of the competition because it has a $10,000 bounty on its head for the team that conquers it with the best score. He even made sure to let us know that his shaft is indeed a Woody – we presume he meant a Tom Woods driveshaft!

When we caught up with Mitch Guthrie in his #208 rig, we grabbed him for a few seconds to get the weight of his rig. Empty this well equipped beast weighed in at well under 3000lbs. The Jason Paulie built rig is sporting a complete chrome moly frame. But perhaps its best attribute is the sporty new Pirate4x4.com stickers we caught him installing after he completed the inspection process.

We also caught Terry Howe forging his way through the three step inspection process. Terry had a challenging season getting through the multiple series he runs and making it to SuperCrawl. As he was heading to his trailer after an Avalanche Ranch event, his rig caught on fire and it took nearly 15 minutes to extinguish the fuel cell fed fire. Terry had to get his rig home and under full repair in just two weeks to make the next RCAA event. All his spare time went into stripping out the charred driver’s compartment and restoring it to new condition. The hard work and ambition to compete got him through and led to a finish at that following RCAA event just outside of the top 10. Terry is running the same rig as last year. When we asked him what changes he made to the rig since last years SuperCrawl, he told us, “Just the paint.” Here’s hoping that a fresh coat of color puts him in the top finishers when all the rocks settle.

We tried to get Ken Shupe to stop long enough for an interview, but we were not very successful. When we asked if we could get a shot of his working parts he quipped, “Only if you have a zoom lens.” Umm, Ken, we didn’t mean THOSE working parts. Shupe is the defending Unlimited Class Champ from the first SuperCrawl last year.

We stopped to chat with the Factory Tubular Motorsport team. Matt Wooley took time out to bring us up to date on the team’s portal destruction woes this season. This 3-rig- team grenaded 7 portals in the first part of the season, knocking them out of top scoring many times. After the Cedar City UROC event, they took the rigs back and line tested the tubes and found that they had a bent housing and gears that had been installed backwards. Taking the portals apart and re-assembling them correctly brought these guys back into the action where they love to be. We also spoke with Bart Jacobs, one of their team drivers. Last year Bart found himself in a dangerous rollover, hanging upside down with only a small notch holding his rig back from a death roll farther down the mountain. It was truly a heart stopping and dangerous 20 minutes while he hung upside down in his rig. He assured us he has no plans to repeat his theatrics of last year and said this year, “I’ll go right up those verticals.” Actions speak louder than words Bart!

Peter Wells is experiencing not only his first SuperCrawl this year, but also his first season competing period. We talked to him about how he came to be competing and planned the design of his rig. Peter told us that he spent a couple years going to competitions near his home in Southern Colorado. He took that time to watch various rigs and teams and gathered ideas for what he thought was working best on the courses. He built a rig that he ended up not being happy with after “practicing” in his local area. He scrapped that rig and went back to the drawing board. He started over with an AMC 360 and built the rig from there, tacking on a 727 tranny and Dana 300 transfer case. High Angle Driveline supplied the drivelines and Novak ponied up front and rear HD outputs. Toss in Dana 60 on both ends with 4:88’s inside and rear cutting brakes, you have the working parts to a well thought out rig. However, Peter admits though that the first 1310 driveshafts couldn’t handle the abuse and he swapped them out for Jess’ one ton shafts instead.

What follows are excerpts from our conversation with Peter and Frank Wells.

Kimber – Since this is your first SuperCrawl, and given what other competitors have been telling you, what are you expecting to experience out there on the courses?

Peter - "Tight cones. We hear that these cones are very close together. That and a weak link. There's always something that's a weak link. You just don't know WHAT that will be."

Kimber - What is your honest, real world expectation for this event?

Peter - "I'd be real happy with a top 10 finish."

Kimber - What was your biggest struggle as a team?

Peter - "Communiction. It was a little strain being brothers. Basically getting through without getting mad or hurt feelings."

Kimber - What do you think is the most important thing to do well in this sport?

Peter - "Short of having a capable rig, having good communication."

Kimber - Has your spotter driven the rig?

Peter - "Not much."

Kimber - Why not?

Peter - "I can't spot. I only know what its capable of from inside the rig."

Kimber - What series' do you plan on competing in next year?

Peter - "UROC next season definately. Depending on time constraints and event locations, we may run another series. This was a learning year for me so I didn't mind missing the first event of the UROC series. Next year, though, we will be at them all."

Kimber - Why haven't you driven the rig much?

Frank - "He's a better driver than I am."

Kimber - Do you think that driving the rig more would help you be a better spotter?

Frank - "Probably, yeah. My view as a spotter isn't close to his driving."

Kimber - After that first competition, what was your biggest area that you had to improve on?

Frank - "Communication, and we still have room for improvement. He knows the rig better than me."

Kimber - What is your realistic expectation from this event?

Frank - "A top 10 finish."

Kimber - After that first competition, what was the one thing that you learned about this sport?

Frank - "Its mentally tougher. I try to look at it like trail riding and just have fun so that I don't stress over the pressure."

Kimber - What's one thing you would like to change about your rig after this season?

Peter - "Make it a little narrower. Headsets too. We bought a set that we may try out this weekend."

Look for our interview with Shannon Campbell and his new spotter Mike Dieu tomorrow morning before the games begin.

9/24/03 3:15P.M. CST - Day One - PRACTICE

The top 100 competitiors in the world are slowly trickling into St. George, UT for the World Supercrawl! Today was "Media Day" at the event site. Competitors were encouraged to show up and get warmed up on some practice courses complete with cones, and official UROC judges.

Jeff Rector working the cones on todays practice courses.

The weather is hot, and the competition is sure to be even hotter. I had a chance to chat with Craig Stumph, President of UROC this morning.

"These courses are going to be awesome! We've got everything - there are verts here that are even more insane than last year's Supercrawl! We have some incredibly technical stuff, too. I can't wait!" Stumph exclaimed.

Gettin' airborne!

UROC will have a new class at this year's Supercrawl - the "Super Stock" class - in addition to its "Legends" and "Unlimited" classes. This class is geared towards more streetable vehicles than the "Legends" class.

"The Super Stock class will be running the same courses as the big boys. They do have different routes with different cones. Some of the courses have 4 different routes! It's gonna be insane!!" Says Stumph.

Stumph estimates there will be over 100 competitors this weekend. There are competitors from not only the US, but Canada, Iceland, and Italy singed up for the event.

2003 UROC Legends champ Dean Bulloch workin' it today during practice.

The purse for this event is estimated to be over $60,000. Not bad for a weekend's work!

Stay tuned for tomorrow's coverage where we will be at the Tech-in. We will be getting some interviews from the drivers, lots of pictures, and more.

FTM scaling the practice wall.

If you are attending this event, be sure to say hi to our crew! They will be giving out free Pirate4x4.Com stickers and antenna balls!

9/22/03 3:00P.M.

Pirate4x4.com announces its very own FULL event coverage!

No more bulletin board inquiries with little to no information returned. We will be presenting site updates DAILY, starting September 24, in Saint George, UT for the upcoming Supercrawl II.

What can you expect from our team coverage? That’s right, we said TEAM coverage. Together, Kelly Clifford, Kimber Rau and the RP Film crew will be bringing you pictures and details of the action taking place as it happens. We will be bringing you updated scores throughout the day, as well as pictures of the competitors as they run the multitude of courses laid out before them. We’ll give you on the spot insight as to WHY lead changes have occurred, be-it in the form of rollover, breakdown, or timing out.

We are very excited about this initial coverage and expect our service to you to improve as we grow. If you have suggestions and input that may enhance our presentation, feel free to let us know. You can email your concerns and input to Kimber@pirate4x4.com.
We hope you find our efforts above and beyond what currently exists in the realm of Rockcrawling event coverage.


Click here to see our team coverage photo gallery from SuperCrawl