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Rock Crawling Championships - Rock 'n' Roll In Cedar City

Posted in Events on December 1, 2001 Comment (0)
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Photographers: Russ Douglas

The toughest course yet!" is how most drivers described the Goodyear/Skyjacker Rock Crawling Championships in Cedar City, Utah. "Cruel and unusual punishment" is how we would describe the two-day, 14-obstacle event that took place in an off-road area called Three Peaks. This 115-acre off-road park is a maze of trails winding between natural rock formations. Local ATV riders and four-wheelers use the maze of roads in the area on a regular basis. During the rockcrawling competition, it's the natural rock piles that provide the stage for challenging men and their machines against other teams. And challenge it did.

The American Rock Crawling Association (ARCA) event began with registration and check-in on Thursday. As the drivers progress through the various stages of check-in, competitors casually peruse each other's vehicle for changes since the last event. Rockcrawling competitors are constantly pioneering new products. Funky shackles, coil links, goofy springs, and cutting brakes in various forms are being put to the test on these competitive rockcrawling vehicles. Competitors make seemingly minor improvements to their vehicles, improvements that might give their team the advantage they need.

The first day of competition ran slow; not all drivers were able to finish before dark. To put these drivers back on schedule, they were sent out early for the Saturday run and went ahead of the main group. After the first day, the drivers are familiar with the courses, and the whole event moves along much faster. Although there were afternoon summer showers for a week leading up to the event, the rain somehow managed to bypass Three Peaks on competition days. Can you imagine competitors trying to climb steep rocks in a rainstorm?

Cedar City was the third of four events in the 2001 ARCA Series. Each event follows the same format: registration on Thursday, followed by rockcrawling on Friday and Saturday. The winners are announced after the competition on Saturday. Cedar City offers a unique experience for spectators. The obstacles are close together, and the terrain is relatively flat around the natural rock piles. This allows spectators to stand in one spot and see vehicles being bent, broken, and battered at several obstacles. And for an even better view, a helicopter was available to take you above the action. The combination of vehicle action and easy access for spectators made the Cedar City ARCA Championship the best yet.

Out of the 70 registered vehicles, most vehicles broke at least once, there were at least 25 rollovers, and all vehicles sustained some type of body damage. A tough course, but most drivers agreed that it was just right for ranking the competitors. At the end of the third event in the 2001 ARCA Series, the top contenders are listed on the right.

The fourth and final event for the 2001 ARCA Series was held in Farmington, New Mexico, on September 27-29, 2001. Chokecherry Canyon provides the arena for this final event. The total points accumulated from all four events will determine the 2001 winner.

Note: As the ARCA Rock Crawling Series continues to grow in popularity, the people at ARCA are always looking for new areas to challenge the competitors. If you know of a suitable site for an ARCA event, contact the event organizers at (801) 446-5337 or e-mail beau@rockcrawling.org.

SeriesRanking Driver/Spotter Vehicle
1. John Currie/Jeff Waggoner '01 TJ
2. Shannon Campbell/Mike Florez '53 Willys {{{CJ}}}-2A
3. Don Robbins/Dave Gore '70 {{{Toyota}}} FJ40
4.(tie) Walker Evans/Randy Anderson 2000 Chevy S-10
4. Jason Paule/Travis Wadeson '84 CJ
5. Joel Randall/Mike Vokoun '73 CJ-5
6. Mike Shaffer/Dave Gibson '91 YJ
7. John Gilleland/Brian Hansen 2000 CJ-7
8. Rich Hudson/Steve Jones '83 CJ-7
9. Randy Ellis/Bob Bonney '86 {{{Samurai}}} {{{Suzuki}}}
10. Chris Durham/Moose '85 CJ-10
11. Matt Brukett/Jake Koetting '79 CJ-7
12.(tie) Ken Shupe/Bradon Gillen '86 {{{Scrambler}}}
12. Tracy Jordan/Jerry Watson '67 {{{Toyota Land Cruiser}}}
Competitor Spotlight
Driver: Ken Shupe (Travelers Rest, South Carolina)
Spotter: Brandon Gillen (Midvale, Utah)
* Ranked 12th in the 2001 ARCA Series after three events
* Ranked 31st in the 2000 ARCA Series
* First Place in the 2001 UROC (Vernal, Utah)
Vehicle: '86 {{{Jeep Scrambler}}} (heavily modified)
Engine: '98 Chevy 4.3L Vortec V-6
Transmission: 4L60E automatic
Front axle: High-pinion Dana 60
Rear axle: High-pinion Dana 60
Gear ratio: 4:10
Lockers: Detriot Lockers front/rear
Transfer case: Atlas 3.0:1
Suspension: Bilstein coilovers
Tires: Goodyear MT/R 37x12.50R15
Approximatevehicle weight: 2,800 lb

Driver's background: Ken Shupe, his wife Angela, and their son Jake live in Travelers Rest, South Carolina. Ken has been four-wheeling all of his adult life (we won't talk about what he might have been driving before he reached the appropriate driving age). Ken says that he enters the Rock Crawling Championships because he enjoys the competition and it's a whole lot of fun. Ken and his partner, Chris Sonen, own Foothills 4x4 in Traveler Rest. He often refers to his business as a wrecking yard/off-road store. They sell all types of new and used 4x4 parts. Ken's '86 Scrambler is the third vehicle Foothills 4x4 has built for Rock Crawling Competition. Ken rolled the first one during competition and declared it to be DOA (totaled). After buying a TJ from a seemingly honest guy, tricking it out for competition and running it in one event, it was determined that the vehicle title was not clear, and, in fact, it had been stolen. The third time's the charm. He's satisfied with the Scrambler.

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