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Uroc West, Cougar Buttes: Competitor List.
(Because your P4x4 correspondent doesn't have time to type it in. Some spotter names have changed. Example: Lance Clifford is spotting for his wife Kelly Clifford in the #55 Super Modified and Mike Shaffer is spotting for Super Modified #415 Peter Mezzoni.)
(Cougar Buttes, CA: 34 deg 29.42 North, 116 deg 49.35 West)
June 4, 2004.
6:20 PM - John Hall must have loosened something up on his last run. Halfway through B3, he had a power steering hydro line failure near his orbital. Hot fluid sprayed onto his arm; luckily he's not seriously burned. EMT's are standing by, but overly concerned. Hall's orbital is located directly behind the steering wheel in the cab of his rig.
Inspecting the damage where Hall's line blew on the course.
Hall gets a little ice water for his arm.
Hall's orbital steering valve setup.
5:30 PM - Things are winding down, the last stragglers are finishing up their final obstacles for Day 1. Here are some shots from during the day.
Peter Mazzoni does a little coursework of his own after squeezing past a cone on B1. Using a careful mix of throttle, chassis and tire, he split a rock in two letting the cone drop down inside.
Shaffer watches Mazzoni eek past a cone.
Look close and you can see the blue circle marking cone placement on both halves of these rock pieces. It was one piece before Mazzoni hit it.
Michelle Billington came down hard on her (rig's) nose and did a little damage. She's not hurt, just a little shaken, and is out for the rest of the day. After the rig is extracted, her husband drives it off the course. She assures us she'll be back again tomorrow.
Nothing a little Bondo can't fix.
None of us believed Linda Adams when she tried to tell us that her YJ was spring-under, and it was too hot to crawl underneath and find out. Well, Linda, you sure showed us!
Linda Adams shows off the drivetrain on her Red YJ.
Brad Anderson rolls good on A4, stayed belly-up long enough for the cylindars to fill up with some fluid and the engine hydrolocked. The extraction team had to run a strap all the way from A5.
Pulling spark plugs to free a hydrolocked motor.
Clay Egan's spotter had this genuine (albeit somewhat off-color) comment to say about him: "We've got the best driver in the world in Clay Egan. He can do more with two hands than most men can do with all 4, and whatever they've got between their legs."
Clay Egan crawling up a ledge.
Egan, who does not have the use of his legs and only limited use of his hands, has converted his rig to hald controls. Gas is on the right (Egan's hand is on it), brake on the left (chrome lever just below steering wheel), and gear selector to the lower left. Sometimes Egan will be holding the steering wheel with his left hand, brake with his right, and his spotter has to run up and jockey the shifter between forward and reverse gears.
View of Egan's hand controls.
5:15 PM - John Hall just had the most exciting run of the event. As to be expected, that is when the battery died on the camera, so we only have one picture. Hall sets up on what he thinks in the best line, hammer down with the engine bouncing off the rev limiter, but still not making it. Tries upshifting, and rolls 3/4 over to the left and drives out. Tries again, rolls 3/4 over to right, drove out. Sadly he 40'd out, but during the latter half of his run, his spotter never touched rope, and drove out of two rolls unassisted. While getting it, Hall's left front tire blew out a couple gallons of water and finished completely flat.
John Hall just before fully getting it.
4:35 PM - Scores:
Please remember; All scores are UNOFFICIAL unless otherwise noted.
4:20 PM - Machine has met rock, and rock is winning. Broken parts are everywhere, rigs have gone belly up, courses are clogged up for emergency repairs and extractions.
Troy Muse broke a rear link right in half on B2. His team pulled the link off, did a quick trailfix by welding a smaller tube inside and bolted the link back on. With the pinion rotated all the way up and binding, they had to leave the rig on the obstacle until it was repaired.
Troy Muse with a minor mechanical difficulty.
Brandon Johnson flops and drives out, but taking the flags along for a ride costs 10 points.
Precariously balanced, Jon Hansen had to hold Brandon Dawson's rig for 10 minutes to keep it from going the rest of the way over until another vehicle could make it over as a winch anchor.
3:30 PM - Zak Szczech, on his rig: "We are having a great weekend. It's a little hot out here. This is only the second time driving this vehicle, about two hours in it. I can't complain."
Zak "Just Say It Like It's Spelled" Szczech.
Pirate4x4.com asked Jet Jaffee about the looks of his rig. P4x4: "There aren't too many people with rigs that resemble toyotas out here." Jaffee: "Yeah, I accidently read the rules where it said vehicle must resemble original vehicle and left a bunch of toyota on it still."
Jet Jaffee noses his Toyota into the ground on the way through the exit gates.
3:15 PM - Scores
2:50 PM - Ben Hanks tried to go for some bonus points with a spotter ridealong on A3. Rolled and could not recover.
Anatomy of a rollover. Ten pictures must be worth ten thousand words.
1:40 PM - Peter Mazzoni, with Mike Shaffer spotting, snuck through the exit gates with just 11 seconds to spare, pulling a 33 point run on obstacle B4. Mazzoni and Shaffer make up a few point with a -3 run on the next obstacle.
Mazzoni eats up valuable time high centering his diff on B3.
Bruce Zeller watches a cone go by at the end of B3.
Troy muse backs into a banner on B5 and 40's out despite a hard tug from his spotter.
Brad Lovell barely puts it over, couldn't drive it out, and had to take a 40 on B2.
A controversial call puts Kelly Clifford over the 40 point max for course B5. Seems when she got close to the banner rope, the wind blew one of the flags into the tire. First the call went one way, then it was reversed, finally the reversal was overruled. The Cliffords suck it up, accept the points and move on.
Lance "You're Kidding Me, Right?" Clifford.
Kelly showboats for the crowd on three wheels.
12:45 PM - Starting to see some rollovers.
Carl Whitmore on A4 just before tire left granite.
A good heave-ho and Whitmore was back on his wheels.
Zak Szczech does a little course rearranging with a tire on A3. The course does a little hood rearranging with a rock.
12:25 PM - So far the courses look pretty difficult. We've already seen a lot of 40's on competitor's first runs. When asked about his -2 run on obstacle B4, John Hall had this to say: "Not only is it the first course of the day, but it's the first course in this new rig.. very first time we've ever driven it.. ran perfect. [I have] all the changes I wish I had on my Tacoma buggy and it's working good."
John Hall, B4.
11:50 AM - The action has begun. A sick hillclimb, short but steep and off-camber with a huge belly-rubbing rock, is directly to the left of a crevice just waiting to eat hapless rigs out front on obstacle B5.
Driver and spotter plot their next move.
Despite a valient effort, Daren Runion timed out.
World's oldest Rockcrawler.
11:45 AM- Spectators are advised to carry water and protect themselves from the sun.
10:50 AM - Drivers meeting is almost over. The action will begin in just a few moments. The heat is top on everyone's mind right now. Camel-Baks are being filled with ice water and Gatorade. For those of you in our home audience, sit back, relax in an air-conditioned office chair, and let your P4x4 correspondents do the sweltering.
Ground eye view of the course.
(Barstow, CA) June 3, 2004.
In the dirt lot across from the Ramada Inn, the competitors roll in for tech, comment on the heat, and shufle off for an air-conditioned refuge. The weather forcast has assured the competitors, judges and spectators that the sun and heat will be relentless.
Lining up for tech
Tech inspectors seem especially vigilant at this competition.
It's a long wait and not a lot of shade.
Clay Egan has plenty of shiny diamondplate to reflect the sun.
Evan Petrick in Super Modified has a clever way to dial in ride height adjustment on his 1/4 elliptic rear suspension.
Petrick's rear 1/4 elliptic suspension.
Metal fleck paint and chrome exhaust. Mega Bling.
The sun shields angled up generate lift on hillclimbs.
Natalie is the desert flower for UROC tech check-in.
Double Trouble sitting in the shade at Tech.
A rarity; a vertically loaded Heim joint.
A steering assist ram mounted with a fair amount of angle.
A nice tow rig setup.
Renchin' at the Ramada.
Small, dedicated winches to suck down the rear suspension are a big theme here.
A clever way to carry two rigs at once, without having a huge long trailer. Pop one up on the flatbed, the other on a standard shorty trailer. The flatbed has 18" bolt on extensions to the rear to hold the back tires of the rig in the flatbed. Ramps then attach to the extensions so the rig on the flatbed can backup right onto the trailer, then back off the trailer.
It's going to take a lot of getting used to seeing the battery mounted to the axle.
Barstow or Bust? Bust!
by: Tom Clark
Father-Son team Emil and Einar Emilsson drove down to Barstow from Cedar Hills, Utah. A 545 mile drive, flat towing their Jeep-based comp rig behind a Jeep Cherokee. Both with Inline 6 motors.
All went well until approximately 100 miles outside Barstow. Then the engine caught fire on the tow rig.
Luckily they had the fire extinguisher in the comp rig and they were able to haul the beasts to a stop on the side if I-15 and put out the fire before any serious damage had occured. The engine needed a little rewiring due to melted and burned wires. A few hours later they were back on the road.
Probably related to the engine fire, the tow Jeep began to overheat. They poured all the water they had brought with them through the radiator and finally, seven miles to town, the head gasket blew.
Not to be deterred by such minor setbacks, the father and son duo simply swapped the tow bar and began pulling the tow Jeep behind the comp rig.
Then the trouble started. The comp rig blew the #5 connecting rod clean through the block leaving a fist-sized hole in its wake, and doing serious damage to both sides of the oil pan as well.
Again, these Icelandic natives were not to be stopped. They put in a few calls to fellow competitors and quickly found a willing trailer to pull them the rest of the way. Two trips later (one for the tow Jeep and one for the com rig), they found themselves in the Motel 6 parking lot.
Your P4x4.com reporter went outside his room for a cigarette break and met up with the hard-luck pair, dilligently wrenching away. After hearing their story, I drove them to Wal-Mart for some last minute fixall bits, loaned them a couple flashlights and some tools.
Midnight had them both working on the Jeeps; Emil on the comp rig and Einar on the tow Jeep. Before turning in for bed, I offered to pull their comp rig out to the competition in the morning if they could get it running on the five remaining cylindars.
This morning, the oil pan was still off the comp rig, and a phone call to their room had a sleepy Emil thanking me for the offer but declining.
No Emil, no Eimar today. Tomorrow, the rest of the story.
Emil Emilsson and the #48 Modified rig (with broken conrod and hole in block).
Einar Emilsson and the Jeep Cherokee (with burnt wiring, blown headgasket, and fire extinguisher dust all over the engine bay).
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