2007 Put up or Shut up
Presented by Precision Gear, and Alloy USA
January 6-7, 2007
Story by Glenn McConnell
Photos by Mike Houp - Houp Photography
[SATURDAY'S PHOTOS] [SUNDAY'S
Due to the remote area, we've had to fight for Internet connectivity,
but we've got it now so here we go...
On his first obstacle of the day, A4, Craig Zellar breaks a driveline
to bring us the first carnage of the competition. His brother, Bruce
"BZ" Zellar follows this up with a roll on A1 while , insert name,
in vehicle 35 also takes out a driveshaft.
Course A4 is, as always, the bear of the comp and
competitors are killing themselves to just finish. With 40's going
to the first several competitors, it's looking like L'il Rich's
sick mind has had a chance to flex its muscle. Competitors on all
courses are fighting to get through and the scores are reflecting
this with plenty of high numbers all around.
The action continues as teams are crawling and clawing
their way through the courses. Hammer is on the mic and giving the
crowd the info they crave. The crowd has come out in a good showing
and are milling around, picking out teams to follow and cheering
on anyone that happens to be in front of them. teams are also taking
time to sign just abouot anything for the fans in the pits.
Scores as of 12:00 PM:
UPDATE 10:00 AM
The day started off with the sound of metal crunching
as team after team found themselves on their sides and lids. B4,
nicknamed "Landslide" due to how it was built, has claimed
the fuel cell of DesertFab's buggy after a hard roll just before
the exit. B3 is also claiming vehicles in its clutches as 3 vehicles
have already shown the crowd their bellies. Nicole Johnson went
turtle on her first obstacle, B1, and had to be extraced from the
obstacle. But the excitement of the morning goes to Matt Messer
on B2 as he flopped to his side just before the finish, was able
to right himself and then flopped again as he went through the exit
gate with only 3 seconds left on the clock. With all of that excitement,
he still finished with an extremely low score of 1.
Recovery seems to be the name of the day. Several
vehicles have been nursing their bruises from Saturday and those
contusions are becomeing bloody gashes today. Case in point is Peter
Antunac who's aussie-built rig is running nothing short of a diaper
on the rear steer after ripping the ram off the axle yesterday.
His only comment about this condition is that it's going to save
him 25 points today if he gets to run all five possible obstacles.
With a commanding 22 point lead so far today, that objective is
Wow. That is all that can be said of BZ's performance
on B2 just now. After announcing to the crowd that he's "too
far down" in points and was just going for the show value.
Upon completion of a run that netted him -22 points where the next
closest was -3, he's now sitting in 5th place. In an after-course
interview, he's now called out Tracy Jordan with "The gaunlet's
Scores as of noon Day 2:
Nicole Johnson on B2 gets the excitment higher by
getting wedged on course B2 with only 30 seconds to go. Her response
to the judge's call was to hammer down and part the crowds as she
came flying out of the finish with 4 seconds remaining on the clock.
Her tally came up to a 2 for the course. The sibling rivalry has
been going on all weekend between Craig and Bruce Zeller, but BZ's
actions on B2 have quieted that one as BZ jumped to 4th, leaving
Craig down in 9th place. Tracy Jordan on B2 also had a great time
getting "more twisted than any vehicle I've ever seen"
(Lil' Rich) and coming out with a -19 to get the crowd roaring yet
again. Mike Hulinsky, driving the Rhino RTV, pulled the most amazing
skills on B2 finishing the course that some more extreme rigs couldn't
finish with a measly 2 points.
Looks like B2 was the course of change for many teams, as it made
or broke them in the rankings.
Lil' Rich has gone out to setup the Shootout course, which promises
to be one of the sickest seen by any competitor, ever.
Going in to the shootout, we've got:
As you can see, there is room to move around in
a few spots and it's assured they will. With the reverse running
order entering the course, Dean Bullock will be forced to find the
lines first. With his shorter wheelbase and the sick lines of the
course, this should get interesting.
Bill Kreisel's tractor-looking rig has the wheelbase, but does he
have too high of a center of gravity on the off camber lines?
BZ's lack of rear steer could hurt him for the tighter sections,
but his low center and smooth style may help overcome.
Robert McKenney and his Campbell-built rig (at least that's what
the stickers say) looks to have the moon buggy approach similar
to BZ. With the close scores between the two, could we end up with
Peter Antunac, the Aussie, and his oddball active suspension and
severely damaged rear steer moon buggy may prove to be the type
of vehicle on this course. However, his almost lack of something,
rear steer, that he's so used to may hurt him on this last course.
Tracy Jordan, heading into the Shootout in 1st place, has something
to prove since he lost to his team mate last year. This sentiment
is one he's not been quiet about all weekend. Does he have the stuff
to beat his boss today? Standby and we'll see...
As it turned out, the course can be completed in
the negative, and it was BZ's driving skills with George Poston's
guns in full flex that got them through with an amazing score of
Dean Bullock's run didn't go nearly as well as he got hung up hard
and finally would up driving down the hill and out the boundary
with a score of 38 after getting through 2 gates and timing out.
Bill "Billy Goat" Kreisel also made it through the course
still on all fours, showing that he's still one of the best drivers
out there by turning in an impressive score of 19 when the dust
Robert McKenney entered the shootout in 4th place but that didn't
last. He had engine troubles at the start and those continued into
the course. His final score was a 40 as he didn't make it through
the first gate, but it wasn't for a lack of trying.
Peter Antunac had upset after upset happen today, but only in the
scores. His day was going very well even with a limping vehicle
but he kept losing spots. Finally, he entered the shootout in 2nd
place with 78 points. However, the final course was not kind to
Peter as his rear axle suffered severe damage due to getting seriously
wedged near the end. This damage included the broken steering arm
and a broken one-off hydraulic shock, add this to his broken rear
steering ram and you have one damaged vehicle. He wound up coming
out in 3rd place with a final 37 points added to his overall total
tracy Jordan only needed to complete 1 progression gate to win the
competition, but he went for it all. Near the end of the run, he
got hung up in the same hole as Peter, but without a rear steer
that has a mind of its own, he was able to get out and finish the
course in plenty of time to get a final score on the obstacle of
11 to total him out at 76 for the competition.
[SATURDAY'S PHOTOS] [SUNDAY'S