2004 UROC - Vernal, UT
Brought to you by RP Films, Drivetrain Direct & Superior Axle & Gear
Story by Sam Silveira
Photos by Chris Ondercin & Sam Silveira

[Tech Inspection] [Day 1 Action] [Day 2 Action]

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Course layouts for the Cedar City event
Course A1
Course A2
Course A3
Course A4
Course A5
Course B1
Course B2
Course B3
Course B4
Course B5

Update 15 May 2004 9:00 AM PST

Good morning from Cedar City Utah. We still have another hour before the action starts this morning. The day looks to be nice. The high temperatures for the day will be in the low 80s with partly cloudy skys this afternoon to help cool things off. The winds will be calm this morning, but will pick up a little this afternoon giving us a breeze of 10-20 mph from the southwest. Anyway you look at it, we are going to have a beautiful day.

So the question for me today is, which is better to have. Harder courses on the first day or on the second day. There are so many schools of thought here. It might be better to have the harder courses the first day so that you, your spotter, and your rig are in the best working order. The downfall to going through the easy stuff the second day is you may be too relaxed and make a lot more mistakes.

On the other hand, maybe its better to get the easy stuff out of the way first so that you work out any rig or teamwork bugs. Then, by the time you hit the harder courses, you are primed and dialed in. Furthermore, you can see what other teams learned on the first day to defeat the courses.

Either way, you still have to drive your own game on your own terms. If you start worrying too much about what the others are doing, you might not be enough in your own game to work to perfection.

We will see how they do in just a few. The key people today to watch are Mike Shaffer, Tracy Jordan, Ken Blume, Mark Berger, Larry McRae, and John Gilleland on the Supermodified side. Mike Bailey, Chris Holley, Becca Webster, Bob Standage and Dean Bulloch are those to keep track of on the Modified side. We should have some good close battles between these teams as they battle for the title here at UROC.

Update 15 May 2004 11:07 AM PST

The day has started great for guys on the A side of the courses. Can't say so for the B side as I watch Ron Christensen in the #249 rig make several attemts at B3 with no luck. As I said though, A side courses are off to a smooth easy start.

First person on course A4 was Jason Bunch from Tri-County gear. Yesterday he didn't do so hot and was a little frustrated. They worked hard on the rig last night making wholesale changes to the rig.They swapped out the 40 inch tires in preference for some 37s instead. They lowered the buggy some as well, but Jason said, "I couldn't get it low enough. There just isn't enough room to lower it anymore. We are already on the bump stops, so there is no up travel. Its definitely a bumpy ride." They also took off the front sway bar. It worked out good for them. When they hit A2 they had one positioning problem, but that was it. They were able to walk the rest of the course like it was nothing. Team Tri-County rolled off the last cornice and smoothly finished the course with just 1 point.

Jason Bunch twisting sideways up A4

Larry McRae is back in action today after his nasty roll off the very top of B3. I caught up with him to see how he was doing. He is in great spirits today from talking to him and is excited for the day. He had this to say about yesterday's run. "We had it, but we hit that hole on the front right and the front tire came down and hooked us left. Once that happened, I actually tried to get it to ride around and make the drive it out back down, but it was too late. I was already on my way over. The rig didn't get too damaged actually and I was just fine. I actually got hurt more trying to push the truck back over. I wound up tearing my bicep. I am just glad I drove that yesterday and didn't have to drive it today." As their first course today, they followed Jason Bunch into the A4 course and walked it. A great score of -2 points should help him out today in the points chase.
Larry McRae having a good run up A4

Jennifer Little and her husband/spotter decided to do a spotter ride along on course A3. They were both hesitant since in the past they have never had luck with it. They chose to do it because the course looks pretty easy. They were actually making great time and progress through the course until an out cropping of rocks underneath the rig took hold. They were able to break loose with a few backups and rear steer, which hurt their scores, but finished the course with a decent score of 2 points. They knew that they could have received a negative score on this course if the spotter was outside stacking rocks and/or pulling on the rig. Either way, they did well and are moving onto their next obstacle.
Jennifer Little twisted and turned doing a spotter ride over A3

Update 15 May 2004 11:29 AM PST

Some photos have been added to the Gallery.
Click here to see the day 2 action Gallery

We have also been grabbing some more videos today. Expect those up later in the Movie Gallery. If you haven't seen yesterday's clips, then check them out here:
UROC Cedary City Movie Clips

Update 15 May 2004 12:22 PM PST

If you are reading this right now, you are missing the action. Day # 2 has proved to be just as awesome as the first. The weather is much hotter than yesterday and the breeze is picking up just a bit. Hopefully visibility stays as we see now. Luckily cloud cover is rolling in which will also help cool off the day.

We just watched Shannon Campbell school up the B3 wall. A roar from the crowd came out as he peeked over the top of the hill.

Team Logan racing had a hard run in on B5. They were making great progress over the 6 foot wall and up to the zig zag before the ravine. They got a little sideways at one point and dumped it onto the driver's side. Nate tried to drive the rig out of the rollover, but was unsuccessful and wound up snapping the driver's side U-joint and axle in the process. We weren't able to catch up to him because they quickly rolled it back onto the wheels and rolled back to their camp to make repairs.

Nate Williams heading up and over the 6 foot wall on B5

Dustin Webster in the #747 rig is having another hard day. They were on A5 making the first big climb up when the front end kicked over to the driver's side. It wound up spinning around on the back end of the rig and rolled him down facing the start gate. It was a hard roll which left them on their side. Dustin hopped out and to the roar of the crowd, both Jody and Dustin pushed the rig back on its side. It was an amazing site to see. Dustin hopped back in to fire it up, but quickly noticed the air intake tube was broken off the top of the engine. Without the Mass Air Sensor, they weren't going to be able to continue that course. I caught up with Dustin and he was feeling ok. The cage held up just fine and he wasn't hurt. He had this to say, "This is just par for the weekend", as he refers to his bad luck this weekend. "We rebuilt the cage and it held up great." Glad to see he is doing ok now. They just raced back to their trailer and are using Duct tape to reattach the air cleaner so that they can be ready for the next course.
Dustin and Jody trying to push it back over

Update 15 May 2004 12:39 PM PST

Some scores are back. Check them out by clicking on the pictures below.

This just in, Lance appears to have hurt his hand on the backside of the hill over on A2. He was attempting to move a rock and it landed on his hand. His hand is ok, but appears swelled up. This may hurt them if they need to do a lot of pulling the rest of the day. Luckily they are on the easy side today and they might not need to do much pulls on the rope. After this course, they went ahead wth a spotter ride and smoked the course. Let's hope this incident doesn't hurt their day.

Update 15 May 2004 1:11 PM PST

Dean Bulloch cleared course A5 pretty well today with a low zero score. Dean is doing well this weekend and is reach of victory for the Modifed class. Here's what he had to say after his run up A5 and his thoughts on that course. "I'll tell you what, it was very technical, but a lot of fun. I didn't want to run it first, but that's the way the draw works. Good times great event, can't get any better than that." Good luck to him. He is really putting a show on out there for the crowd.

Dean clawing up A5 twisting up his Sammi

Jeff Mello and Goody (Goodrich), running Jason Scherer's rig out here this weekend, were another team who joined the B3 wall conquerers. They really put on a great run for the crowd roasting the tires to the top showing that Jeff's driver's skill is transferable from vehicle to vehicle and Goody can pull like a mofo. Reflecting back on the B3 wall, Jeff said this, "That's just all get it right there. We are just thankful for my two good "Rich's". My tires and my spotter.

Team Schneider, in the #49 rig, are having a really good day today. They smoked their first course and did well with their spotter rides on their second two courses. They said this, "We are doing great today. Chasing some people and trying to have fun. I guess that is the secret

Ron Christensen had some difficulties on B3 as stated earlier. He wound up not completing the climb up the wall. Though he gave it some awesome attempts nearly getting it, there just wasn't enough out of the motor or traction to push him over. A 40 will be on his score card today for that one. We did catch up to him though to reflect on what happened. "I had problems with it unloading. I don't have a winch on the front to suck it down. So, we gave it a shot but we just broke the shifter handles on the Atlas, so we are trying to fix those real quick. The weekend was going real good until then."

Ron going for it on the wall

Update 15 May 2004 2:16 PM PST

Some new scores are up. Team Nelson are really doing a great job picking up as many bonus points as they can. They are currently running with a -30 points. Ken Shupe isn't far behind with a -24 for his two courses. On the other side, Dave Schneider is kicking butt and currently has -22. Several other teams are tied or near tied around the -15 to -18 range. The battle on the A side is tight.

For the Modifieds, Becca Webster is holding a -25 at last official check of these scores. Aaron is not far behind with his -20. Bob Standage and Dean Bulloch are still battling it out on the B side where they are only 1 point apart. Looks like this is going to be a great finish.

Check out the scores here:

Update 15 May 2004 2:41 PM PST

Aaron Clough was running great today. A -14 on A1 and a -6 on A5 really put him forward in the points. Unfortunately, he took a spill on A2. It didn't hurt his rig much and they are able to continue on. Aaron seemed really happy so far with the day. He finished yesterday a little high on points with a 67, but he as been driving well today.

Aaron awaiting to take on A3 after a roll on A2

Team Sisson had some bad luck on A4. They were leading the day with -41 points before entering A4. They pulled up to the course and made the first climb no problem. At the top, their is a sleeper rock that requires a little momentum to get over. If you don't, you wind up getting high centered. This has hurt several drivers, but all of them were able to work their way off of it. Sisson was the unfortunate one who got hung up and spun sideways. They tried their hardest to free the rig, but were in real trouble. They finally got it free, but the truck lurched and went rolling down the entrance hill climb. The spotter had to dive out of the way to keep out of harm. The driver was fine and not hurt after landing on its side at the bottom of the hill. Luckily this was their last course for the day. There was a little bit of damage sustained in that rollover.

Team Sisson flipped over falling off of course A4

Chris Holley, in the Maxxis Bronco, was on A3 when we caught up with him. Chris too had been doing good today in the Modified class trying to make up points and catch the pack. Chris had this to say, "We had a little trouble in the beginning. Coming up the wall, we got a little sideways. On the boulders we got stuck a little bit too and had to take a few backs. We fortied the last course, but did well on this one with a -6. The Maxxis tires only have 3 comps on them and are a harder compound. It takes a few runs to break them in, but they are really hooking up right now. We only have one more course to go today."
Chris coming down and finishing A3 with a -6

Well, its a painful end to Adrian and Dave's day in the #327 rig. They weren't doing to bad today getting some really low scores. Unfortunately, A1 would not let them through and ultimately damage the truck enough to not let it run the last two courses. They were doing well entering the course. The rolled around the tree and headed up the hill to the rock pile awaiting them at the top. As they crested over, the truck slipped off the rocks to the drivers side. They wound up getting caught up on something as simple as their manual tranny bolts. While trying to free the rig, the motor broke the motor mounts and pushed forward. This pushed the water pump pulley right into the electric fan shearing off multiple blades and frying the motor. With no parts to fix it, they are dead on the course and done for the day. Too bad, because this team is always fun to watch and in great spirits. Good luck to them on the next competition.
Adrian stuck on course after his motor pushed forward.

Update 15 May 2004 3:50 PM PST

The day is winding down. A lot of guys have finished their weekend. The day 2 B scores appear to be a lot better than what was put out on the first day. Many more negative scores on the B side today.

Check out the updated scores here:

More pictures have been added up to the Gallery. Check them out now.

Update 15 May 2004 4:27 PM PST

And your unofficial winners are:

Super Modified:
Tracy Jordan -55
Ken Blume -43
Jon Nelson -42
Ken Shupe -35
Mike Shaffer - 32

Bob Standage -72
Dean Bulloch -60
Errea/Schwiesow -35
Mike Bailey -12
Becca Webster 18

Update 15 May 2004 5:13 PM PST

Well the event is over and it looks like Tracy has done it once again in the Supermodified class. Some real technical driving pushed his score way lower than ever anticipated. A -55 for the weekend is an awesome showing. Bob Standage once again also puts down an amazing run this weekend. He barely edged out Dean Bulloch edging him out only by 12 points. Simply amazing driving from both teams this weekend.

The crowd was also pretty large this weekend. Enough spectators to really show the world that Rock Crawling is taking off in a big way. ESPN was out here of course getting action for future airing. And of course, what event would be complete without all the gorgeous women attending. There must be something about desert water because they were just amazing. If you didn't see for yourself, we have just a few of the many beautiful ones out here this weekend. Next time, you should see them for yourself.

Just one of the amazingly beautiful women out here today. You should have been here.

We still were able to catch up with a few drivers. Ken Shupe ended the weekend strong with a -35. On course B5 they really got it good. Here is what he had to say, "Today went great, we only had one back up that was on B5, so we smoked it. We are way in the negatives today." His red shorts were donned and sporting his smile as ever.

Matt Woolley in the #59 was out going crazy in his(borrowed from his spotter) Toyota powered tube buggy. They were a little down in the points and we always trying to squeek out a few more bonus points. Matt and his spotter ended the day with 69 ponts. We caught up with him on the B1 course earlier on. Here is what he had to say.
"We are kinda down in points and this is one of the easier ones to me. It's a gamble. We gotta stay focused to get it. We did good yesterday wound up with -5 for the day on the A side. B side is a little more rough. We are doing alright considering we only have two more obstacles left."
Matt coming down into the gulley on B1

Curt Hildebrand has a new buggy out this weekend. A sick little buggy it is. Making a very respectable 20 points out the door here at Cedar City will make his first run in the rig a nice start. We caught up with him earlier on B2. "We had a fair to decent weekend. Overly cautious yesterday, but decent scoring. We came out this morning knowing this is the harder side of the course, had an excellent two runs, had perfect start to the third course, then just tipped it up on its side. It was too hard to tip it back over, so we just ate a 40 for basically no reason. It's been a rough weekend, but we haven't had this vehicle. We DNF'd the first two events trying to get a brand new vehicle running. Now everything is starting to work and I just need to drive it."
Curt twisting up his new rig

Nate Williams in the #723 vehicle was up and down doing well yesterday with a -7, but could only pull out a 97 today. This hurt his overall score, but when we caught up with him, he was still smiling. He said this, "We had really good luck on Friday. Did really well. Today, we had a little bit of bad luck. We had a banner call that didn't go our way and we rolled over and broke an axle shaft. The last two courses we did very well and clean. We are running the same tube chassis from last year. It runs a Cadillac Northstar, 700R4, Tera 60 axles, Liberty hood with flames."
Nate once again showing how his buggy likes to climb

So as the sun starts to go down and the award ceremonies start, we would like to thank our sponsors this weekend. A big thanks goes out once again to Superior Axle, Drivetrain Direct, and of course RP Films. They helped make it all happen this weekend. Thanks again and we will see you at the next competition.

[Tech Inspection] [Day 1 Action] [Day 2 Action]