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Ramsey National Off Road Challenge - Pennsylvania Power Play

Posted in Events on April 1, 2002
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The brand-new, right-out-of-the-box 2001 Ramsey National Off Road Challenge continued its yearlong three-event schedule with a stop in Hazleton, Pennsylvania, for round two of the multifaceted event and for the brutal Pennsylvania terrain combined with an extreme and unrelenting schedule of events to create a weekend filled with awesome off-road challenge that pushed vehicles and teams to their absolute limit.

How It Works
The 2001 Ramsey National Off Road Challenge is an ongoing points series that began in Cass, Arkansas, continued in Hazleton, and concludes in Attica, Indiana. It's geared for the more advanced 'wheeler and requires a somewhat modified vehicle to be competitive. However, all types of vehicles are welcome, regardless of modification, so you can just come out and have fun if you want. Each vehicle is a team, while each team is comprised of a driver and co-driver, and they compete in various off-road competitions on a daily basis throughout each three-day event. Points are awarded to the teams for their finishing order in each challenge, and quite simply, the team that has accumulated the most points at the end of the weekend wins. It's pretty simple in concept, but, of course, vehicle breakdowns, a team's ability to function as a unit, and luck all come into play.

Fighting for Every Inch
This segment of the Challenge was held at the colossal 15,000-acre Paragon Adventure Park, which is just a stone's throw outside of Hazleton, which is referred to as the Gateway to the Poconos. The park is a natural for this type of event because it features a mind-boggling array of obstacles situated throughout the areas vast acreage of former strip-mining land. The event began on Friday with a drivers' meeting at the Red Ridge Lake Campground (event headquarters and location for the included four meals), before the group convoyed to Paragon for the Engineering and RTI ramp scoring. From this point forward, it was hammer down all weekend, as event promoter and operations coordinator Bob Hazel of Sports-In-The-Rough began throwing a barrage of challenges at the 14 competitors. First up was Rock Course 1, which idled all but four of the teams on the amazingly slick, very sharp Pennsylvania boulders. Who would've thought that rockcrawling in Pennsylvania would be that hard, or that there would even be any? From there, it was off to the Capture the Flag competition, which required teams to get their vehicles to within 10 feet of the flags to mark off their number (of course, the flags were placed in evil, off-camber locations, thereby requiring a hefty amount of four-wheeling in most cases). By the time these competitions were over, it was suppertime, and the entourage headed back to the campground to eat dinner, mingle, and have the opportunity to talk with Ramsey Winch representatives Ron Vanderslice (Marketing Manager), John Dominy (Regional Sales), and Bob Webb (Product Development).

Saturday's competition kicked off bright and early (a little too bright and early for some competitors who had to pull all-nighters to fix breakage from day one) with the Rock Course 2 competition. Competitors who believed this course would be easier were a bit surprised when it became difficult to even access the starting line, as boulders fought them every stretch of the way, making them fight for every inch of forward progress. When that competition wrapped up around noon, it was off to a high-speed lake-circling obstacle course with plenty of water crossings (to test their engines' water resistance qualities). Next up was the mud run (which was actually a mud bog; there is a difference), and the day wrapped up with the obstacle course that required teams to race through an obstacle-littered, lengthy, twisty course.

At dinner that evening, the Top 10 teams were announced, and they battled Sunday on a special rock course, obstacle course, and mud run. When it was all said and done, two teams from Oklahoma held the coveted top two places. Dan Gable and co-driver Chris Reeves took top honors with 2,466 points, followed closely by John Loyd and co-driver with 2,263 points. Finally, the team of Charlie Melchner and co-driver Jim Daley from the state of New York earned Third Place with 2,190 points. The winners were showered with cool stuff, and Gable/Reeves walked away with $1,000 cash, a Ramsey 9500 Platinum winch, a Detroit Locker, and gift certificates from Advance Adapters and Skyjacker Suspension.

Bottom Line
The Ramsey National Off Road Challenge is not only a test of your driving abilities, but it's a test of your machine, thought process, experience, and teamwork. It's no wonder that events such as this are getting more popular by the day because that's what most of the personalities drawn to our sport desire. By the time you read this, the season will have ended for 2001, but registration is being accepted for the 2002 series. For more information, contact: Sports-In-The-Rough, (866) EVENT-INFO (383-6846),

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