The loyal readers of Four Wheeler were asked to send in their entries for the first ever competition of its kind; Real Truck Club Challenge. The editors then sifted through more than 150 entries representing 4x4 Clubs from all around the country and then they narrowed it down to 20 distinguished invitees. Those lucky 20 were invited to participate in and compete for cash prizes; $500-Third, $1,000-Second, $1,500-First. The event was held at the Badlands off-road park in Attica Indiana on August 14-15 2004. There were several events set up to test each of the teams four wheeling skill as well as each rig's capability in tough terrain.
RTI Ramp/Engineering - We knew this competition was off to a good start when Jon Pontious flopped his '97 TJ on its side while ramping our 30 degree ramp. We also measured Approach and departure angles, ground clearance, and break-over angle.
The Sand Hill Climb - This was a timed event composed of five separate loose sandy assents and dissents as well as a splash of muddy water between hills one and two. Most of the higher powered rigs had no trouble finishing the course in under the 10 minute time limit. A few rigs had difficulty on the final and most difficult climb, and five teams had mechanical problems that prevented them from finishing.
The Mud Bog- Unlike the Mud pit from this years TTC in Hollister, the RTCC bog was pre-run by staff officials to insure it wasn't too hard or too easy for our 20 teams. This strategy worked well as many of the teams were able to complete the obstacle under the 10 minute time limit. Again this event was timed and winching was allowed.
The Buzzard's Roost Trail - A spectator favorite, this event provided more action than a James Bond flick. The course was roughly an 1/8-mile long and contained several deep mud holes separated by twisted turns and rocky outcroppings that each driver had to negotiate while the clock was ticking. One section forced each competitor to drop down a 3-foot ledge that provided plenty of pucker factor. Some of the teams opted to winch their way down for insured safety. The best run of the day was made by Ron Totterdale in his '97 TJ. The time limit for the Buzzard's Roost was 13 minutes, Ron completed the Roost in a amazing 2 minutes 53 seconds. The judges gave penalty points for stopping, backing up, winching, and spotter exiting the vehicle.
The Rock Trail - Much like the Mini-Rubicon at Hollister Hills OHV park the Rock Trail course was a boulderous section of axle snapping rock strung over a slight incline. The difference was the placement of the finish line atop a 4 foot ledge which most of the competitors were forced to use heavy throttle application to even come close to cresting. With a set time limit of 10 minutes this obstacle really made things interesting.
The High Speed Obstacle Course - This one reminded us of Tough Truck competitions due to the vast area covered as well as two strategically placed jumps that had many competitors wishing they had long travel suspension. Each team was required to run two laps through the course. A few drivers decided to try it in two wheel drive however most of the rigs used the lead foot approach which unfortunatly led to excessive cone penalties. Each cone added 10 seconds to the final time score.
1st Place: Ron Totterdale, 1997 Jeep TJ Sahara
2nd Place: Steve Thorton, 2000 Jeep TJ
3rd Place: Blake Savage 1988 Suzuki Samurai
4th Place: Steve Crawford, 1981 Jeep CJ-8
5th Place: Travis Dickau, 1984 GMC Jimmy
6th Place: John Pontious, 1997 Jeep TJ
7th Place: Marc Rogers, 1979 Ford Bronco
8th Place: Shane Waigle, 1998 Jeep Wrangler
9th Place: Jason Wyglendowski, 1980 Jeep CJ-7
10th Place: Obie Corley, 1968 Toyota FJ40
11th Place: Louis Holzworth, 1987 Chevy Blazer
12th Place: Jack Brooks, 1983 Chevy Silverado
13th Place: Ken Menck, 1978 Ford Bronco
14th Place: Timothy Nuccio, 1984 Chevy K10
15th place: Gary Thompson, 1982 Ford F150/Bronco
16th Place: Roy Burger, 1987 Rodge Ramcharger
17th Place: Matt DiPiero, 1994 Ford F250
18th Place: Mark Cochram, 1998 Dodge Ram 1500
19th Place: Frank McConnel, 1967 Jeep M715
20th Place: Casey Thompson, 1985 Chevy K20