2004 UROC SuperCrawl III - Salt Lake City, UT
Brought to you by Superior Axle & Gear, HaulinOrCrawlin.com, & Marlin Crawler
Story by Sam Silveira
Photos by Lucie Silveira, Camo & Sam Silveira

[Tech Inspection] [Day 1 Action] [Day 2 Action] [Day 3 Action]

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Update 6:25 AM PST

This is it. This is the last day of competition and I am suprised we are already here. And what a crazier day could it be on than the 15th anniversary of the 1989 San Francisco earth quake. These are two historical days that are going to rock.

I just lugged myself out of bed and am completely sore from go kart racing last night with the Jason Bunch. We woke up early this morning because the competition starts at 9:00AM. However, I only found out about this last night at dinner when hanging out with the "Jason Bunch" and the crew from RockLogic4x4. Jason and his crew didn't realize that the start time changed from 11:00AM to 9:00AM on Sunday. I called a couple other drivers and they didn't realize either, so I am concerned about how many didn't know. I guess the time was in the driver's packet, but who knows who actually reads that. So it will be interesting to see what UROC will do if a big chunk of drivers don't show up on time. The reason for this earlier start time is because they will have a final showdown for the top drivers.

We will see you on course.

Update 9:46 AM PST

R.J. Brown and Joe Brown were just on course #3 which is one of the more difficult courses out here this weekend. After a rollover on the big climb took them out, we caught some words with them. “On our first run everything was going real well and when we came down real hard on the first climb and knocked the shifter linkage off of our tranny. So we went ahead and I was stuck in first gear, so when I went around to do the vertical, when it went to wheel stand up I had no way to get into reverse to try to back out of it to save it. So I decided to take the roll and crash. We didn’t damage too much, just a little paint. So we will keep on going."

R.J. twisted on course 3

Johnny G who is in a position to win this weekend was out on course #5 early on this morning. He was attempting to conquer the big climb when he lost control and it pitched over onto his side. A very tense moment was now upon them as they were sitting on their side. Johnny attempted to drive it out , but seemed to only make the situation worse. He hopped out and with spotter John Williams, they were actually able to muscle the beastly Karnivore back onto its rubbers. They raced around once again, lined up for the hill and had to take about 3 more tries till they got the climb. When setting up for one of the climbs though, he accidentally took out a cone. Racing through the rest of the course they ended up bound in the big hot tub. Unlocking the front end, he ground his rear tires around until he could crawl out of the sink hole. They crossed the line with only 34 seconds left on the clock with 1 cone and 7 backs. Johnny and John took home a 17 point score for the course.
Johnny G in the hot tub

Update 9:49 AM PST

Shannon Campbell just followed the likes of Walker Evans by being the only other person to take the #1 course hill climb both directions. Leave it up to Shannon to really lay down the hammer. If anyone was going to make it, Shannon is the one.

Update 10:30 AM PST

We mentioned earlier that Shannon made the wall both ways on course #1, being the only other person besides Walker to make it. We caught up with him right after and got these words from him, “It was the scariest thing I have done in my life I think. I don’t know what to say. I didn’t want to do it, but it was the only way were going to get back in the points.” We even got a few words out of his son who is only 9 years old. He was there cheering on his father as he took on the crazy climb. His son said,
It was pretty cool. I think I would like to do it too. Watch out Shannon, he is 6 years from his license and he sounds ready to go.

Shannon hammers the hill

Update 10:35 AM PST

Ok the wind has REALLY picked up here now. The clouds are now hiding any sign of heat and things are flying everywhere. I wound up moving the rental car on course so that we could transmit in style without the dust blasting us and our equipment. The wnd is blowing so hard that the little rental is shaking from it. The poor weather also looks to have hurt the turnout here today as well. We don’t even have the bikini girls next to us. But the action is still as wild as ever as we push towards the final shootout later today. Who will make it in? Who do you think will make it?

Update 11:24 AM PST

Dustin Webster, in the #747 buggy, is always a man of many words. We caught up to him on course after a good roll over which didn’t dampen his spirits. Dustin gave us a few words, “Day 2 started out really good for us. At the first obstacle we were really proud and took a 13 where a lot of people took 40s and it was on an obstacle where I thought we would have trouble because of the break over. Our car does not like break over angles. Unfotunately our second obstacle of the day was UROC obstacle 3 which has two killer break overs and my car just does not want to do them. We wound up rolling off of it with 10 seconds to go, but hey that’s ok because we are still in the game. No we are not going to be in the top 6, but you know what, I would be proud to get 26th.” Good luck to Dustin today and keep on having a fun time.

Jeff Mello was forced back to the BFG pits for repairs after he broke on course #5. Jeff took a 40 after he broke the studs going into his Currie aluminum rear steer knuckle. They are trying to patch it back together and get it back in to hunt for the one of the final 9 positions. Jeff said, “Even if we don’t get it fixed, we are having a great time and are glad to be here.

A shot of Jeff’s sheered knuckle steering bolts

Mitch was running off to another course, but got a word in. When asked what his plan for the day was, he said, “We plan to stay consistent, play it safe, and make it to the finals.” At the start of the day, Mitch Guthrie in the #28 rig was in 5th place.

Update 11:43 AM PST

Charlie Melchner and Kyle Knosp from New York running the #101 buggy are really excited today running their new machine. They are running a moon buggy with rear steering. I just watched them on course #8 and I was impressed. Charlie still has a lot to learn with the vehicle as he will tell you, but he is so pumped right now and so impressed with how well it works over his last rig. His reactions were, “Woah. That was awesome. I thought for sure we were going to clean that course. We didn’t even use the spotter strap that one. We are the only team to not use the spotter strap but we didn’t finish. It sounded good anyway (laughing). I hit the first hill and I was in first gear and it didn’t make it because we didn’t have enough wheel speed. I tried it again it again and hit second at the top and pulled it over. I had my rear steer over though so we wound up hitting another cone.” Once at the top they did a VERY impressive rear burn where they spun the rig 270 degrees to line up. However they went to far thinking the course went another direction. Charlie said, “We wound up lining up for the wrong line because of some misinformation, but it was no big deal. We are learning the rig. I can’t believe how good it side hills. Moon buggies are the wave of the future. Its weird because you sit sideways. So now when I straighten out the rear steer it is way off from straight. Something I need to learn. We are going to put in an indicator to help us out.

I have to thank a lot of people for helping me get here this morning. Chris Durham and several other guys spent until 4 in the morning to help us pull the power glide out of the truck to fix it. Rusty Bray, Ken Shupe’s spotter, took my transmission out and rebuilt it with with another spare. My tranny cracked, so we took two transmissions to make one good one. There were hands everywhere under the rig. It was sick. You just don’t see this anywhere else in any other sports. I can’t say enough to thank those guys. At least we are putting on a show. We may not be in the running, but we are giving the crowd a good show.

Charlie loves his new low profile rear steer moon buggy

Update 12:01 PM PST

We are at a stand still right now. Pete Mazzoni rolled and his truck landed on top of his spotter Nick. Nick was still under the truck when we had to look away. The EMT is there and life flight is coming in. They have brought the event to a stop while they work stuff out. We are all praying right now for Nick. We will let you know more when we hear more.

Update 12:34 PM PST

Nick is off to the hospital on Life Flight. He was moving and talking. No more real details can be said at this point. However, he is in safe hands and they are working on him. Peter Mazzoni is devastated right now. Pete is one of the nicest guys you will ever meet and would feel awful about stepping on your toe. It wasn’t his fault, but an experience like this destroyed him. We are all in complete shock. It is one of the dangers that come with this sport, but you are never prepared to see it actually happen. Hopefully we will have more good news about Nick shortly.

Life Flight taking Nick away

Update 12:47 PM PST

Jason Paule has been in the lead all day. His excellent smooth driving style has made his scores reflect this. On course #3, he had a smooth run through the course that has stumped so many others. 40 points are common here, but Jason drove to a 12 point finish. He took 1 stop, 1 back, and 1 gate. His next course is #4 and he says, “I am going to play it safe and get in the finals. Our plan for course #1 is to spotter ride and go over the top. We want to protect the lead. They did an excellent job on these man made courses. They are a lot of fun.” Jason continues to hold onto his lead and was able to make a smooth run over course #1 with no problems. They looked at the bonus second line, but chose to not take the risk.

Jason clears course #1 to retain his lead

Update 1:30 PM PST

A roll on course #2 just put Jason Paule and Travis Wadeson on their side. They couldn’t get the vehicle over so they had to call over the crew to push him back over. This really hurts his score now. With bonus points, they finished the course with 38 points. We will see in moment where this puts him in the scores. Since the scores carry over to the finals, even if he gets in, he will have a lot to make up.

Update 1:47 PM PST

We have some news on Nick. Nick was transported to the hospital after being rolled on by the rig he was spotting. Nick suffered a broken left elbow and femur. He lost a lot of skin off his arm. He is breathing on his own which is a major deal. They are going to get him into a CT scan and surgery within the hour on his leg and elbow. He is listed in stable but critical condition. Pete walked into the hospital on his own and is doing ok.

Update 2:02 PM PST

Team Rock Equipment in the #835 rig just finished course #8. However, they didn’t technically finish the course because of mechanical failure on their right front hub. They were running really well and side hilled the course with ease. It wasn’t until they tried to make the big climb that they started to have problems. Here is what they said about the run, “That course was fun in the beginning. Ran the first section easy and made all the progression gates no problem. We took the cone that we were going to take on purpose to get up and then found out we had a broken right front hub. So you can’t climb that double step with three wheels."

Diagonally climbing a tough section on 8

Update 2:32 PM PST

We are getting close. The final combatants are looking to be decided now. With only a couple competitors in contention left, it looks like we have a solid group of wheelers. One of those is our home town boys of Mike and Lance in the #5 rig. They only have one course left, but they should be in for sure. We will see who the final teams are in a few moments though. Keep your eyes on the scorecard.

Larry McRae was in the challenge to get into the finals. They were on the brink of who would be in the group. They entered with 87 points and their next challenger, Nate Williams, was a little ways back, but he too had a couple courses also where he could make up points. Larry was on course 3 trying to battle his way in. Larry drove the course really well and was able to make good time. When he got to the wedge, his engine was having a little difficulty staying on, but he got it going again. He then made the climb fairly easy taking a cone in the process. At the end he took out another cone giving him 26 points. With that, Larry should be able to make the finals. Will he able to bring the cup home again?

Larry crossing the gap on 3

Update 3:18 PM PST

Johnny G just took his final course of the day and ran it well. He took 3 backs and a cone and had to race out of the course to make the time. You could tell that he was getting close because he went from a cool calm cautious driver to a man on a mission. So Johnny will be representing in the final in the Karnivore. Johnny had this to say, “This is our last course of the day and it’s been a long day. Everybody told me that we had to hurry through it and man we did cause I missed one move over there and it took us 60 seconds maybe to try and get up that (wall) and by the time we did, we had one minute to do more than half the course. So that is when you just have to say take a few cones and finish. A few cones are better than a 40. So we ended up having a couple points for backups and I hit two cones. We probably had 24 points on this one, but that is better than a 40. Also, you guys (Pirate4x4 coverage team) are doing an awesome job.

JG concentrating hard on avoiding the cones

John Williams tugging really hard trying to keep Johnny up

The A-List Bikini Team is back out here again, despite the poor weather, providing some dancing and modeling entertainment for the crowd at their booth. They signed a special calendar for Nick to help cheer him up through his recovery process. He is in surgery now to fix him up. We are all thinking about you man. Be safe and get well soon.
Two beautiful hotties wishing you the best Nick

Update 3:26 PM PST

The rain is now coming down. The courses are getting slick, but it doesn't appear to be hurting anyone's spirits except for guys looking at the bikini team since they have put on rain over. This should make for an interesting final if the courses get really slick.

The final courses are being laid out and the drivers are walking the courses to see where they are going. The action should start shortly. We'll see you soon at the finals for the Modifieds and Super Modifieds.

Update 4:28 PM PST

The finals have started. The first rig on course that we saw was Bob Standage in his wicked Jeep. They have the course go between the old course 4 and course 5. We came upon Bob as he was trying to make the big climb up the course 5 wall. Bob went up then came crashing down on his side. Laying on his side never stops Bob from driving. He slammed it into gear and tried to drive it out. He must have done 3 spins before he quit going around. His run was finished in a cloud of smoke and 10 seconds left on the clock. I believe this is a bonus gate anyway. No bonus finish, but he should be able to get some good points out of his run. He grabbed 29 points for that run, but it didn’t move him out of 6th place.

Bob just won’t give up even on his side

Mike Cole was next up and had a brutal run. The run on this course has the drivers straddle a crack first, then mid crack, they have to turn into it to avoid a cone. They turn and go up and over a tall shelf that catches low bellys. From there they drop over the wall and drop into the hot tub which is very deep and narrow. So this catches bumpers really easy. It also creates a painful wedge effect too when the rear tires try to drive in and the front tires are just trying to climb the wall. I could almost hear metal stretching when Mike went in. Mike made it to the tub in good fashion, but he took two cones in the process. Once in the tub, he had a hard time getting through. Burning a lot of time, he maneuvered quite a bit to get the front end out. No axles broke though I swear I thought they would. After the tub, they have to climb the crack climb then turn right out of it. This puts them in a steep side hill run. This is where Mike got into trouble. He flipped it good, then tried to get it back onto his wheels. Instead, he drove back into the tub and broke pretty good spitting fluid and smoke everywhere. Not making it as far as Bob, he ground himself into a 34 point total. He was still able to retain the 5th spot.

Update 5:12 PM PST

Dean has taken the Modified championship!! He is on top of the hill now celebrating. It was a close battle between all runners, so it made for an awesome finish. Congrats to Dean and Karl on their win.

Update 5:27 PM PST

If you haven’t seen, Brian and Joachim had a great run on their master course with 20 points. That helps them to retain their spot though there isn’t the ability to move into the top spots. That is between Dean and Brad and Dean wound up coming out victorious. Both of these guys had an awesome run, but Dean just beat him out with -3 points to Brad’s 11 points. It was a close victory and an awesome show.

Brad Lovell getting twisted hard trying to chase Dean in the finals

On the Super Mod side, Don Robbins really worked his rear steer throughout the course. He even took the last hill climb easily where others throughout the day flipped hard. Well placed tires and a little shimmy got him up and over the wall. Johnny G also had a great run through there. It looked as though he wasn’t going to get up and over that last wall, but he pulled it off.
Don Robbins using the rear steer like mad to catch the leaders.

The big question right now is, can Uncle Jesse (Randy Torbett) in his tractor rig beat all these high dollar tech rigs to the win? The good old boy is in the lead by nearly 20 points, so it will take a bad situation to keep him from the win. Randy is a nice guy and his rig even shows it with smiley faces on the diffs. Mike Shaffer is on course now so we should have word from how well his run goes in a minute.

Update 5:35 PM PST

Mike just took a huge dramatic flip off the top of the course. He was having problems getting up and over because of his underbelly dragging. He took several power charges at the climb which were denied. He took one really long step back on his last attempt and opened up the ShortStar power. He flew up and over the top of the hill. More details in a moment. It’s a tense moment right now because Mike is still in the rig and they are trying to get him out.

Update 5:38 PM PST

He is now out of the car and Lance is giving the thumbs up. Mike is ok. It was a scary moment because it was a hard hard hit. He throttle hard off the top of that hill and the momentum carried him over onto his lead really hard. He was caught in the rig for a little bit and it was questionable how hurt he was, but he appears to be ok. Those Diablo chassis are built tuff and Mike built it to take abuse such as this.

Mike gets the Diablo wickedly twisted in the crack

Mike out of the rig a little dazed but ok

We still have 7 rigs to go. We will be starting up again in a moment.

Update 6:32 PM PST

Tracy Jordan gets on course and has problems immediately when he busted a bead and water came pouring out. That would be a problem to most rigs, but Tracy was able to limp it around and keep it going on the course. On his way up one of the walls, he also had another blown rear bead. So he was crawling the course with two flat tires, yet he was still able to make the final climb and finish the course. It was awesome to watch, but he wound up getting penalized in the end. The freshly painted Matrix wound up taking a fluid leak penalty which was protested by Tracy since he said it wasn’t called all weekend. It is in the rules though, so the ruling stood. Tracy took a 12 for the final run.

Mitch Guthrie in his moon buggy had a super clean run and was able to tie Jason Paule before Jason took his run. Mitch had some troubles squeezing through the pipe to get around a cone, but was able to get around. In the end he came through with a -6 score. Now being tied with 42 points with Jason, Jason is now under pressure. He is on course now and making his way through. Updates shortly.

A final comment on Mike Shaffer. He took a good hit and got a concussion. He is doing fine though and is back in the trailer relaxing. When asked what he was going to do now, he said, “ I am going to Disney Land.” Mike is in good spirits…. just a little loopy from it all. We are glad to see he is ok.

Update 6:42 PM PST

Jason Paule locks in second place with a -3 points on his final run. He may be able to get 1st, but that would require Randy Torbett to really make a mistake or break. It was tense to just watch Jason inch out a place over Mitch Guthrie by just 3 points.

Randy is the East Coast boy amongst the West coast buggies. Can his low CG smiley axled tractor take it? Can a John Deere pull a win? I only joke about the farm equipment notations because he is an awesome driver and the rig works really well. It is totally different than any other rig in the top runners. He is staging now and we should see what he will do. He only has 13 points to abuse, so lets get it on.

Update 7:00 PM PST

It's official. Randy Torbett is our 2004 Super Crawl Champion. Congratulations to him and his East coast team. They rocked the world today. Randy's closing quote, "You west coast guys are going to have to come out east to get the trophy back. We'll be waiting."

That's it for now. We will have all the pictures up in the next couple days. We have to rush off to catch our flight home. See you back on the boards.