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Rock Crawling - Fourth Year RCAA, First Year Modified Stock

Posted in Events on November 1, 2003 Comment (0)
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Rock Crawling - Fourth Year RCAA, First Year Modified Stock

As rockcrawlers continue to fine-tune their vehicles for competition, the results look less like trail rigs and more like buggies. In fact, the vehicles in the Super Modified Class not only don't look like trail Jeeps, but to be competitive, a considerable amount of money and time must be invested in them. So, when the Goodyear/Skyjacker Rock Crawling Championship opened its 2003 series in Reno, Nevada, this year, a new vehicle class appeared. Dubbed the Stock Modified Class, this new, entry-level class attracted 13 competitors. The Stock Modified Class limits tire size to 35 inches, vehicles must have OE grilles, no changes in stock axle width are allowed, and the wheelbase can only be modified by a maximum of 3 inches, with no manual controls. Spectators are entertained by extreme machines, but they can more easily identify with the Stock Modified Class.

The Stock Modified Class has been running in regional events, but 2003 marks the first time it has been open at an RCAA National Event. Beginning in 2003, RCAA, CALROCS, RCRC, and NARRCA organizations began using the same vehicle class rules for all three classes of rockcrawling: Super Modified, Pro Stock, and Modified Stock. By standardizing the rules, competitors can build vehicles for a specific class and compete in events in more than one series. The Super Modified Class is the extreme class. It's considered to be the open class; no minimum cab width, single or dual seats are OK, rear steering is allowed, and fenders are not required. This is where tube frames and replaceable body panels are considered usual. The Super Modified Class does have one rule: maximum tire size is 40 inches tall. Between the Super Stock Class and the Modified Stock Class is the Pro Stock Class. In Pro Stock, the vehicles must be equipped with a two-seat cab, and that cab must be at least 48 inches wide, otherwise these two classes are similar in every respect.

At the Goodyear/Skyjacker Rock Crawling events, the Modified Stock Class is mixed in with the Super Modified vehicles, and they run the same obstacles. Occasionally, an alternate route is marked to bypass a risky body damage area or a severe undercut ledge where 35-inch tires are not tall enough to pull the vehicle over without serious damage. To minimize confusion, the extra-credit routes that existed last year for the Super Modified Class have been eliminated.

What does it take to build an entry-level vehicle for Modified Stock? Select a lightweight vehicle that would require the minimum amount of modification and has an abundance of aftermarket upgrades available. The early '80s CJ would be at the top of that list. Modify the suspension to support 35-inch tires, install lockers in both axles, modify the transfer case for a front-wheel-drive-only option, and install a lock-up mechanism for the rear brakes (cutting brake). With a twin-stick mounted on the factory Model 300 transfer case, a front-wheel-drive-only option can be achieved. Install a 4:1 kit in the transfer case to provide Low gears without the expense of changing differential gears. Install lockers and upgrade all the axles in the stock differentials. Although points are deducted for using a winch, one is required. These modifications can be done for less than $4,000 plus labor.

As with most 4x4 projects, options are endless, but consider that Jeff Mellow has won seven out of the last 15 events with a carbureted '79 CJ-7. He only recently installed a cutting brake to help navigate the tight corners, and he still uses leaf springs. Most competitors, even in the Stock Modified Class, have another 4x4 to run the trail riding events, leaving their competition vehicle for repairs and fine-tuning.

So how do you win? Over a two-day period, the driver and spotter work together to navigate 14 obstacles. Each obstacle is timed and marked with cones. Points are deducted for touching a cone, backing up, exceeding the allotted time, using a winch, and other similar actions. A maximum of 40 points can be deducted on each of the 14 obstacles. The competitor with the minimum number of deducted points wins. In addition to the 2003 Goodyear/Skyjacker Rock Crawling Series, there are numerous regional events for a competitor to fine-tune his or her skills. After the fourth and final event in Farmington, New Mexico, the series points will be totaled and the 2003 Goodyear/Skyjacker Rock Crawling Series winners will be announced.

2003 Goodyear/Skyjacker Rock Crawling SeriesReno, Nevada

Super Modified Class Modified Stock Class
1. John Gilleland -20 1. Jeff Mello 63
2. Jon Bundrant 5 2. Team Sisson/Sisson 109
3. Tracey Jordan 4 3. Bob Standage 130
4. Mitch Guthrie 17 4. Steve Hastings 148
5. Joel Randall 32 5. Becca Webster 163

Top 5 Modified Stock Teams Reno, Nevada
Driver: Jeff Mellow
Spotter: Jeremiah Curtis
Vehicle: '79 CJ-7
Engine: AMC 360 (carb)
Transmission: T-18
Transfer case: Model 300
Frontend: Dana 44
Rearend: Dana 44
Ratio: 4.56
Cutting Brake: Yes

Driver: Garrett Sissons
Spotter: Natt Sissons
Vehicle: '94 Jeep
Engine: Stock 4.0L
Transmission: Stock three-speed automatic
Transfer case: Atlas II 4.3
Frontend: Tera 60R,
DetroitRearend: Currie high-pinion 9-inch
Ratio: 4:11
Cutting Brake: Yes

Driver: Bob Standage
Spotter: Mark McGee
Vehicle: '84 CJ-7
Engine: 4.0L straight-six (XJ)
Transmission: Stock Cherokee Auto
Transfer case: Dana 300
Frontend: Tera 60
Rearend: Tera 60
Ratio: 4.88
Cutting Brake: Yes

Driver: Steve Hastings
Spotter: Cody Waggoner
Vehicle: '89 YJ
Engine: Four-cylinder
Transmission: Stock AX5
Transfer case: Atlas plus Klune V
Frontend: Dana 30
Rearend: Dana 44
Ratio: 5.56
Cutting Brake: Yes

Driver: Becca Webster
Spotter: Frank Johnson
Vehicle: '85 CJ-7
Engine: Six-cylinder with 4.0L head
Transmission: Torqflite
Transfer case: Atlas II 3.8
Frontend: Dana 44R
Rearend: AMC 20
Ratio: 4:56
Cutting Brake: Yes

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