The Super Bowl Of Rock Crawling
One year ago, the off-road world was transformed by an event so large that the term rock racing was never the same. That event was the World Super Crawl. The brainchild of rock racing visionary Craig Stumph, founder of the United Rockcrawling and Off-Road Challenge, the World Super Crawl was the culmination of everything that rockcrawling and rock racing had become, and a glimpse of where it was going. It was a gathering of the leading rock racing competitors from across the country and around the globe; an international who's who in extreme off-road. 4 Wheel Drive & Sport Utility was on hand to bring you exclusive coverage of the inaugural event.
In 2003, the rolling-rock phenomenon continued to gain momentum. We brought you close-up coverage from CalROCS in California, RCAA in Utah, and EROCC and NEUROC on the East Coast. Each year, these competitions produce the country's top drivers. The Super Crawl has become the singular event to bring the nation's top rock-dogs together for tire-to-tire competition and the nation's top honors. As the 2003 season came to a close, we hit the dusty trail to St. George, Utah, for three days of rock racing action at the second annual World Super Crawl.
The event attracted more than 100 driver/spotter teams from Canada, Iceland, and the U.S. To qualify for a slot in the Super Crawl, drivers had to have claimed a Top 12 finish in one of the aforementioned qualifying events. Teams also had to be fully committed to a no-holds-barred assault on 10 of the toughest obstacles. When the green flag dropped, it was anyone's game.
With the evolution in technology and mental preparedness, teams have raised the rock racing bar to a level previously unknown. Today's rigs are sporting tube frames and high-tech four-link, coilover, and independent suspensions. Most rigs are running slush box trannies (automatics, for you non-gearheads), crawler gears, hybrid and portal axles, and four-wheel steering. They have not only pushed the envelope on off-road vehicle capabilities, but the drivers of these rigs have completely redefined the meaning of hard-core.
More than 15,000 spectators filed through the gates, packing the sidelines of 10 custom-designed courses. Each obstacle was designed to push the limits of vehicular travel. Drivers faced vertical sandstone ledges, insane side hills, and frame-twisting crevasses. The rules of engagement mirrored UROC regular season guidelines; however, a new competition class was added for Super Crawl 2003. In addition to the Unlimited and Legend classes, UROC added the Super Stock class for less-modified rigs.
Super Stock rules stipulate that a rig must have an OEM-type frame and body, stock-type steering, and a maximum tire size of 35 inches. The idea is that the average driver with a solid rig can compete without hocking his or her home. Now, because "carnage happens," we would not suggest borrowing your spouse's soccer SUV, or showing up in your pristine trail rig. However, the Super Stock class is for lightly modified full-bodied street rigs. The Legend class lets you expand your fabricating creativity, while the Unlimited class is where the vehicularly demented minds of rock racing can be found. Basically, almost anything goes.
On the first day of competition, teams were required to run five obstacles, completing the final five on Day Two. When the dust settled on the first 100-degree day, it was anyone's game in the Unlimited class as 12 teams were within 30 points of each other. Six points separated the top three in Super Stock, and Amy Bulloch had a strong position in the Legend class. The sound of failing axles, crumpling sheetmetal, and the whining of engines being pushed far beyond their design limits resonated through the canyon. Thousands of fans cheered as rigs cleared each obstacle or went belly up as they made their attempts.
Competition on Day Two was fierce. With 40 points possible on each obstacle, the Super Crawl title was up for grabs as Jon Bundrant nosed his VW-powered buggy on to the final course. A skinny-pedal-to-the-metal launch up a vertical ledge sealed the championship.
Randy's Ring & Pinion was on site with a full array of drivetrain products, and the BFGoodrich Baja Racing Support Team rolled in with a full machine shop to lend mechanical support to anyone who needed it. Red Bull Beverage Co. kept event staff, competitors, and the media energized with an endless supply of cold Red Bull. Other major sponsors of the 2003 World Super Crawl included Allied Wheel, CMT Racing Products, Extreme Tents, Factory Tubular, Howe Steering Products, Maxxis Tire, Quadratrac, Skyjacker Suspension, Tom Woods Custom Drivelines, Toyo Tire, Tuff Country, Yukon Gear & Axle, and 4 Wheel Drive & Sport Utility magazine.
As we roll into the 2004 season, the rockcrawling phenomena is gaining momentum. Competitive rockcrawling has made its mark in the world of extreme sports. Aftermarket manufacturers have stepped up to the plate with major sponsorships as spectator attendance continues to grow. This year's attendees were even treated to a half-time show, which included skydiving demonstrations and a two-aircraft precision aerobatic show.
Where is it going? It was unveiled that the two major influences in competitive rock racing, UROC and RCAA, will be joining forces in 2004 to create a single national sanctioning body. If you're an adrenaline junky and haven't had a chance to attend a major rockcrawling event, we suggest you plan a road trip. If not, we will continue to bring you close-up coverage.