2004 UROC Finals - St. George, UT
Brought to you by Superior Axle & Gear, R.P. Films, & Marlin Crawler
Story by Sam Silveira
Photos by Chris Geiger from Marlin Crawler & Sam Silveira

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

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Update 6:07 AM PST

We are starting a little earlier today and the officials have changed it from a 10 course day to an 8 course day. With 50 competitors to rifle through all these courses, this should help out to get the day finished on time and hopefully while the sun is still up.

We will see you in a bit when the action starts.

Update 8:39 AM PST

Good morning and welcome to the final Pro series event of the year. This is the deciding factor of it all. With nearly 50 rigs out here today, we will have a of action to bring. The action has just begun and it is already gearing up to be a good day. As you know, it was going to be a 10 course day, but with time constraints, they have opted to go for only 8. So the drivers are going to have to contend with not having a makeup course. If they fail, there is less of a chance to catch back up.

The courses are laid out pretty tough to. Some courses are the same as before and others drive them through some new lines that get really technical. Course #4 looks to be a long running course of the day. It starts with an undercut left tire climb which is right next to 2 side by side cones. They want the drivers to take the climb and not just take the cone so it's a double penalty for avoiding the obstacle. It's neat tricky sections like this that will really test driver and spotter today.

We have some quick updates. First on course#3 was team Shaffer with Mike driving and Lance spotting the #5 rig. They were competing yesterday in the West event, but their roles were reversed. This may be an advantage to them if you consider it practice. However, it may hurt them some as they are worked from a full day of running in the sun. Their first course today showed that it may have been more helpful. Their first course was the same run that was at the last St. George event where Adam "Skinny" Lunn had a really bad rollover. The objective of the course is to climb up a long wall which isn't to bad, just a little intimidating. Once at the top they then skirt over to the right to line up for a boulder that is 3 times the size of a rig. They need to get over the top of it in some way. The hard part about it is not just the big drop off behind them, but the undercut ledge they have to get the right side of the rig over. Big stacks of rocks fill in the space when the spotters have the strength to move them there. For team Shaffer, this was not a challenge. Mike made the first climb without much trouble. Lance proceeded to stack top rocks for a good few minutes until there were 5 minutes left on the clock. Lance then gave Mike the go ahead and in one shot, he tossed himself and the rig over the boulder to an easy -2 point finish. They wound up not using the strap on this course. Mike said, "That last rock is intimidating. It felt good to get the first one out of the way. Not only that, its a pretty gettin' it one on top of that."

Mike dropping in the backside of the boulder.

Moving over to course #4, Joel Randall was first up to tackle this challenge. This course is more technical climbs than anything else. As stated earlier, this course will be a challenge for the best drivers out there and Joel had to set the bar. He wound up taking a first cone in the undercut section. After that is a good climb with a short ledge so it will be prone to sticking vehicles. He was caught on that and had to saw his way off of it, but taking a cone before freeing himself up. After that little challenge, the course takes you over one more steep truck length ledge then over the top to a twisted finish. Joel, after several line up attempts, was able to get over the top, but once again, took a cone. He was able to finish the course, but grabbed 33 points with barely any time to spare. Mike the spotter is fighting his own battle as he is challenged with a 3 day old cold. He will have to pace himself if he wants to make it through the day.
Joel twisting his way through #4

Dean Bullock in the modifed class #9 buggy was also a first runner. Being first on course #2, he was able to make a good smooth run that shows why he is at the top of his field. Talking to Dean, he had this to say, "It was a pretty sweet course. It's always nice to get that first one done and the jitters out of the way. We have to be ready. We have a championship on the line."
Dean Bullock flexes his rig hard trying to avoid a cone

Back to course #4, Jeff Mello and his spotter Kevin were challenged with the same course that Joel had to face. Burning a lot of time on the first under cut ledge, really hurt them later in the run. They tried to get around the first cone, but the front of the rig kept falling off the stack of rocks. Eventually they took the cone and raced up the hill with only a few minutes left. The top shelf that stuck Joel was overtaken pretty easy with a wheel stand and a bump over. Positioning for the last climb, they were faced against a wall that proved to be too steep and tall. Only a minute on the clock, they made a few attempts, but the weight shift kept pushing them to the point of rollover. Finally on their last attempt, time was called and their run was over. 40 points for them will hurt their day's total. Jeff said that if they had a little more time to stack rocks, they should have been able to make that climb.
Jeff Mello getting some air at the top of #4

Update 9:48 AM PST

We have some results in. We will have some more pictures and content in just a moment.

Currently Jen Little is leading the pack with the only negative score out there. She has only run one course at that time, so time will tell. Rob Bonney and Johnny G follow right up on her, but Johnny just suffered some major damage. Info to come. Ken Shupe and Tracy are running neck and neck both with 2 points. Jon Bundrant is much further back though holding onto his 19 points. So Tracy is looking good so far to take the series win.

On the Mods, Brien Errea and Joachim Schweisow are doing what they normally do and drive clean. They are holding steady with a -13 with Dean Bulloch right behind at -11. Mike Bailey starts the positive scores at 7 points with Becca "RockHer" Webster chugging in at 10 points.

Check out more scores here;
Super Mod Scores
Mod Scores

Update 10:43 AM PST

The day is going really smooth for the UROC staff, drivers, and spotters. The courses appear to be moving as clean as can be expected. The courses are challenging that rigs are flipping and breaking, but extraction teams come out quite fast to clear them off the course. It is definitely hotter out here today than yesterday. You can see it in the teams faces as buckets of sweat pours down their faces as they try to manage their efforts on the field.

First Garrett Sisson was out on course #2 where Dean Bulloch had a clean run. Garrett was attempting the same high line on the rock wall where the vehicle gets really twisted up, but now there was a difference. Millions of tiny marbles called sand. Sand was covering the faces of the rocks now and did not promote good traction. Where Dean dialed his tire into the rocks above, Garrett slipped off every attempt he made. He wound up using up a lot of time and had to take the cone to save the run. Several backups were also used on the course to hold him back on scoring well, but in the end he did finish clean and with 17 points. Talking with Garrett, he had this to say. "It's a little harder than I expected. The hill was very sandy and slick, so it was hard to get the vehicle to climb. Garrett was smiling and having a good time out here today.

Sisson dancing through the last part of #2

Charlie Melchner in the #101 narrow buggy was out trying to make a good showing on the money pit, course #8. With plenty of time, the team stacked rocks to make the climb easier. This is the standard troublesome course that always gives drivers a hard time. It's a wall that is fairly steep and marked with good holes to get the vehicle bouncing. Clever stacking and proper wheel speed and tire placement are key to making this obstacle. Charlie lined up several times, but only took mellow runs at the hill. Most of which bounced him sideways forcing him to make a reversal save. One such save not only backed him up, but also spun him around in a crowd cheering wheel stand. Almost as to take a bow, the rig finally came down on all fours instead of it's top hat. The crowd cheered with amazement of such a save. In the process of these attempts, they managed to take out a couple cones which gave them free reign on the choice of the climb up. The eventually made it up and finished with 26 points. A little hard to accept since they got a -10 on their first run. Charlie had this to say with all smiles, "That was th longest reverse I had to do to get out of a roll. I guess if I couldn't make it, I might as well put on a show. My spotter built me a road, but I couldn't drive it. I don't have water in the front tires, and I probably needed it there."
Charlie Melchner giving a sweet wheelstand

Shannon Campbell is really trying to make up some grounds in the series. He showed us the extents of what he will do to get some extra points out of it. While on course #7, you have to drop off a wall and get up the other side. The other side isn't as simple as you think. Basically, there is a huge steep wall to go up as a bonus, or go around either the left or right sides for a standard line. We are talking a huge wall and steep. Much steeper than I have ever seen anyone attempt and make. Shannon however, was determined to get it done. So he dropped into the course and turned it to the left to drive around and get a good angle at the wall. In the meantime, his spotter Mike was stacking rocks to make the initial touch into the wall a little less aggressive. Several minutes went by as the set up was taking place. Once he was happy with it, he called Shannon over to line up and take the wall. Shannon pulled his tires up the wall partial way and Mike climbed up and pulled on the strap. With a call out to go, Shannon unleashed the power from his LS1 buggy and launched up the wall. He took a really bad hit and it sent the buggy bouncing to the left side. Immediately it came crashing down to the earth where he tried to recover it with throttle and steering. It didn't work though and they were forced to get out and push it over. It wasn't enough and the team had to call it quits and have a group help to get it on all fours. Their brilliant attempt ended in a 40 score and a painful margin to make up today. They put on a great show though and made the crowd watching really pumped for the attempt. I hope Shannon doesn't switch to a 4 cylinder next year since it is awesome to watch him with horse power.
Shannon and Mike trying to get the rig back over

Check out this AVI file of Shannon trying to make the wall. It is sideways until we can flip it, so hold your monitors on their side.
Shannon Campbell Wall Attempt on #7

Troy Myers was next to follow Shannon on this course, but had no idea of following him on that route. They took a more conservative approach and drove the right side of the rock. In that area, the real challenge is clearing a big hole and getting your axle over a big lip at the top. The lip at the top spun Troy sideways, but they were able to stick to their game plan and have a good time up it setting themselves up with a -10 score. Troy said, "These courses are getting tighter and tighter. It was definitely fun."
Troy Myers running clean on course 7

Update 11:07 AM PST

Johnny G had some problems on the Money Pit, course #8. He was making an attempt at the wall and hit a few cones in the process. On another attempt, they went to go up the wall, but the front end literally drove out from under them. The suspension links wound up breaking off and the axle twisted out under the car. This also wound up breaking the air shocks in the process. They will try and recover from it to finish out the day.

The front end doesn't work so well when links break off

Lance and Mike appear to also be having a really good day. It seems as though yesterday's practice has really got them in the groove. They are really pumping out good scores thus far. They were even able to get an impressive 11 points on course #4 where others had timed out and nearly pointed out from cones.
Lance pulling hard to keep Mike from flipping at the finish gate

Update 11:35 AM PST

The heat is a big factor out here this weekend. We are guessing that it is above 100 and that it won't let off. People are squeezing into the shade to try and stay somewhat comfortable throughout the event. Everyone is out smiling and having a great time though regardless of the crazy heat we must endure. The action is more than enough to keep the minds off of the suffering.

Staying cool and looking good are many of the local ladies as they enjoy the action

The Nelson team has a new spotter out here this weekend. The #82 buggy (Scrapper) piloted by Jon Nelson is being helped out by spotterKelly Lee. Kelly said, " Jon's a great driver. All I have to do is show him the path, and get out of the way. Jon is running smooth right now and usually that can be difficult when you throw in a new spotter. It becomes a whole new groove that has be learned by both the spotter and driver. Thus far, they appear to be doing just fine.
Jon Nelson making a shot at the boulder with Kelly on line

We ran into Dustin Webster, Team Red Bull, over on course #5 and caught a glimpse of some of his technical techniques to better his chances for a low score. In an unplanned action, Dustin grabbed his mirror and held it in hand to see his front left wheel as it approached a cone. You might think that that's teh spotter's job, but in this case, they were doing a spotter ride and didn't have that luxury. The trick worked and they were able to save themselves from extra points.
Dustin using his mirror to see around the cones

Famed Walker Evans in his #20 tube moon buggy is out in force today and having fun. A run by his rig is just showing that these vehicles are getting so compact that the designers have to get creative with where they place things. Walker said, "These rigs are getting so small. It's getting hard to find room for the little things." Walker mounts his fire extinguisher, for example, under the motor in the back. It's all about space saving and keeping the weight low.
Now there's a spot for your extinguisher

Walker on course getting some nice travel out of his mini crawler

Update 12:02 PM PST

Some more results are back from the score trailer. The Pro side is a neck and neck battle between several drivers. With only single points separating drivers right now, it is a tough call to say who will be taking home the win today.

Currently, Mike Shaffer has pulled ahead of the pack with a 1 point lead over Jon Nelson and 2 points over Jason Paule. Word has it though that Jon Nelson got a 40 point score for one of the courses. We will try to get more details if that is true. The true wonder though is the difference between Jon Bundrant and and Tracy Jordan. Jon will need to finish better than 10 positions ahead of Tracy to take the season away. It doesn't appear to be happening though since Tracy is currently in 7th and Jon is in 5th. It looks like Tracy will be taking home the championship this year barring any further technical problems with Tracy's rig. And that doesn't appear to be an issue.

For the Mods, Dean Bulloch has reclaimed his top spot for the class with a -3 score. Once again though, only single digit scores separates him and the next driver. Brien Errea is only 1 point back from him and Becca Webster is at 10 points.

Check out more detailed scores here:
Super Mod Scores
Mod Scores

Update 1:10 PM PST

Tracy Jordan is our current series leader but he isn't leading the game today. A slow start gave him 21 points on his first course due to 2 cones that were hit. Yesterday, the West series leader, Pete Mazzoni, took the event nice and easy and wanted to just stay consistent to win the series. However, Tracy wants to win here today too, so he is trying. He was a little nervous though on his first couple of obstacles because of potential series win jitters. To win the overal series championship is a huge deal and with that resting on your shoulders, it is hard to get that out of your mind knowing that this event could make or break you. Tracy is really excited today though and "plans" to not make any more mistakes. They are confident and are going for it. So you can expect some great action coming out of him the rest of the day. Can he make up the points to win not only the series, but also today's event? We shall see.

Tracy Jordan awaiting his turn at his next obstacle. Can he take the event and the series?

Terry Howe, in the #8 rig, is sporting his tiger stripes once again. We caught him after he rolled for a second time today. He was very disappointed at the time as things aren't going smooth. The courses definitely are steep and off camber. So much so that we have seen a lot of moon buggy rolls as well. Terry's rig sits a little higher than many, so keeping it upright is a tough challenge to overcome and he has to make the courses too. When we caught up to him, he had this to say, "All I can seem to do today is roll over. It's very frustrating." He will be trying to make up for a tough start, but rolls can mentally drain you for the rest of the event. We will have to check back in to see if he picks it up a notch.
Terry Howe sporting the tiger stripes on the rocks

Chris Durham is a true entertainer in this sport. I watched him and his spotter back in Tennessee roll their truck early on. They both muscled the vehicle back over, but the engine hydrolocked. Instead of giving up, Chris kept trying to get the motor started again and finally did. They were able to get the rig rolling again and finished the course with seconds on the clock. Trying not to repeat that one again, they nearly did today. Chris was on course and chose to take a different line than most. The benefit was a better line at the hill, but had a much steeper side hill. He did great up until the sidehill. Although he tried to hang it in there, the rig was just too tall to stay up on such an angle. So on over he went. At the bottom, he stopped on his lid and was forced to get out to try and push it back over. They didn't have the strength to do it, so he hopped back in again and tried to drive it out. He was able to spin it around and drag the truck on the roof for a little bit with no mercy, but eventually the motor stopped. It appears to have hydrolocked, but he may have just shut it down to save it. Chris wound up getting 40 points for the course because of it. It was a great attempt, but the payoff wasn't the same as it was in Tennessee.
Chris Durham losing against gravity

Jason Bunch is still trying to dial in his new tube moon buggy. Painted the traditional yellow and blue, Jason is out to get back in the winners podium again. He has the skills to do so, but it will take time to learn the vehicle to get it to go where they want it. They were successful on the Money Pit where there is a wall that is difficult to climb for most seasoned drivers. To make the ascent smoother and easier, Steve, the spotter, stuck out at the bottom stacking rocks for a bit of time to get it just right. Jason then went for the hill and struggled just a little bit, but was able to work it enough to get it up and over the crest of the hill. It's a story that not all driver's can tell. Last we checked, he was sitting in 12th place.
Jason Bunch running his new crawler out here in St. George

Jon Bundrant who is our second place series driver also took on the same line. Larry "Full Pull" McRae stacked up a few rocks pretty quick and had Jon on the wall in no time. Larry must have stacked just right because in one shot, Jon was motoring up to the top in his VW powered champion buggy to get a near perfect run on the course. Jon is really running his game today and driving well. It will take him to run his best show today and Tracy to make a few huge mistakes in order to take home the series victory.

You might remember Craig Stumph as a unique individual for running leaf springs on his truck with barely any changes to the setup in a long time. After a nasty roll at Farmington though, it appears that he had to cut all of that off and switch it up some. There is now a new 4 link out back with air shocks controlling the ride. He was driving the big boulder and was able to manage it with no problem. Clearly he has stepped beyond his old game and is already figuring out his new rear setup.
Craig Stumph lining up to take it over the top boulder

Update 2:19 PM PST

Some new scores were just brought in. Mike Shaffer appears to now be tied with Jon Nelson for first place on the SuperMod side of things. However, as I was grabbing the scores, Mike and Lance took a 23 pointer on the Money Pit. Just one run before that, they were able to get a -10 as well. Neither scores show on the current printout, but that would potentially push them back to 4th place. Jon on the other hand was able to make the bonus line that Shannon Campbell had crashed hard on which we got film footage of. I didn't think it was possible to make, but he made it giving him a 20 point bonus. That would really push him out in the lead, but I also heard that he 40d a course. That has yet to be proven though. We will have to catch up to him to find out. Jon Bundrant is currently in 5th with 33 points and Tracy in 11th with 51. It's still not enough of a lead for Jon to catch at this time. Tracy is going to have to really step it up too if he wants to ensure an easy victory.

On the Modified side, Dean and Brien scores are no different than before, so they are still leading the field. However, Becca Webster dropped back to fifth with Mike Bailey and Bob Standage stepping into position. Bob picked up 4 more points to push him from 50 to 46 points. Still a pretty far distance from the leaders.

To see more scores check them out here:
Check out more detailed scores here:
Super Mod Scores
Mod Scores

Update 2:22 PM PST

A quick weather update. The sun has just finally ducked behind some clouds and the wind is picking up pretty good. Dust is flying everywhere outside and this is the first we have seen of this this weekend. It has been fairly hot the whole time, and now it looks like a rain cloud has formed over head. Off in the distance it was producing lightning. We wil make sure to stay away from rebar during it's passover.

Also, some new photos have been posted up in the Gallery for you to see. You can check them out here:
Pro SuperModified Series Photos

Update 4:00 PM PST

Dustin Webster was having problems with his rig today. They have been having engine power problems that have plagued them since Farmington. To get enough power to get up obstacles, they are forced to do neutral drops. Here is what Dustin had to say. "We just have no horse power today. We can not figure what's going on. It's a real intermittent problem to where we go down to about 60 percent horsepower." Out here in St. George the courses get real technical, but they get real steep too. Lack of power will really hurt your day when trying to get up the slippery slopes here.

The weather has gone from bad to worse. We have had to put our cameras away because the wind picked up so much dust. That was followed by rain showers that have been dropping intermittently turning the dust to mud. There are only a few courses left for the drivers and it appears that we know who will take it all, but scores haven't been updated with the officials yet.

It appears that Jon Nelson will be taking this event for sure with in the Super Modifieds. His buggy has been working well all day today and it was a battle between him and Mike Shaffer from the start. However, Mike fell off with a couple runs and Jon was able to capitalize with some impressive climbs. His last run was one of them. He took a high off camber line that only rear steer rigs have been able to make. It was all to avoid a cone at the bottom. He was able to side hill diagonally up the hill enough to get it around. So today's winner looks to be Jon Nelson. Congratulations go out to him.

Now the battle between Tiny and the Matrix has been a good one to watch. It is possible for someone to have a rough day and completely bomb an event. Well, Jon Bundrant gave it his all and did very well to keep up his end of the bargain. Tracy was the only question. Would he hold it together after a tough start? He appears to have maintained his 10 finishing places ahead of Jon. Jon will be in about 5th at the end and Tracy will be in around the 10th to 9th spot. So a big congratulations goes out to our series winners this year. Tracy and Jon make up the top two spots and have always been battling it out for the top seat. This turned out to be the year of the front engined 2 seater. So where was Shupe? We will have to wait and see. He is currently back in 15th and could be damaged by a poor finish.

The Modified class was a battle for first between Brien Errea and Dean Bulloch. Brien dropped back some and Mike has taken the top spot from Dean. Bob Standage follows right behind with a 13 point margin behind Dean. Dean is 10 behind Mike.

Speaking of Jon and Tiny, I got to speaking with him for a bit. He actually wasn't aware that Tracy had fallen back that far. It wouldn't change anything for him, but it just appeared that a 10 position difference would be too much to ever make up. Jon and Larry were on their last course when we got up to them. They were going to play it safe and use the strap to ensure a good score. Jon had this to say, "We are close to being done. We are just going to try and get it before the rain comes down. The only bummer is the dramatic weather changes. It goes from hot weather to a really nice temperature, but it kicks up 80mph winds. On one course, it go so windy and dusty that I couldn't even see the cones." I reminded him that neither could the judges... wink wink. Laughing about it all, he did like the day though. Jon likes the 1 day events. He really enjoyed the Tennessee event with how organized they were back there and how solid the judging was. The judges would stick their ground.

Tiny on course when the sun was actually shining

Ken Blume is also in the SuperMod class and wasn't having such a great day. He wound up breaking a front Detroit midway through the day. He raced back to fix it, but couldn't get it all right. He even wound up missing a course that wound up giving him 50 points for a no show. He finally got it back together, but their was still a broken piece inside that kept the front end to only 3 wheel drive. On another course he just didn't have enough motor either, so his day was filled with 40s and 50s. A disappointing day for one of the top contendors. He has a new powerful motor awaiting in the shadows and might just show up with that at Super Crawl.
Ken was having a rough day and climbs were his enemy

To see the current published scores check them out here:
Super Mod Scores
Mod Scores

Despite the weather that has been going on, Big Sarge is out here with his commanding voice giving play by play action out in the heat like all the faithful fans. He will peridically announce give aways throughout the event to hardcore fans. Giveaways range from parts, to stickers, to shirts, to the unmentionables. Sarge also wanted to say hi out to all his family from lovely (most of the time) Utah.
Big Sarge giving the thumbs up despite the lightning storms brewing behind him

Update 6:23 PM PST

The final scores and season standings are in. Check them out here:

St. George, Utah standings/scores
Super Mod Scores
Mod Scores

Season standings:
Pro Series Scores