The '08 XRRA Eastern Final
If you're not familiar with the Xtreme Rock Racing Association (XRRA), you may be looking at these photos thinking that this type of racing looks, well, extreme. You'd be correct. It's what you'd get if you could throw traditional rockcrawling, Tough Truck racing, and desert racing into a blender. The result would be bold, tangy, and refreshing. Stick a little umbrella in it and enjoy.
In the big scheme of things XRRA rock racing is a young pup. After all, it's only been around for about four years. Make no mistake though; this kid is wise beyond his years. XRRA was the first rock-racing sanctioning body and it sprung up from an event in 2003 at the Avalanche Ranch in Colorado. It quickly gained momentum and formally launched as the XRRA in 2004 at Area BFE in Utah. Within a year it had gone international. Today there is an Eastern and Western Division Series with a National Final. In addition, there are licensing agreements for XRRA races in Germany and Mexico. There is also a plan underway for a future race in Israel.
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The brain behind the organization is Mike Weaver. Weaver and his wife Jodi are the folks who actually took the leap and put up the cash to make XRRA happen. Mike has a history in rockcrawling and four-wheeling in general. His idea of melding many facets of wheeling into a timed competition came to him after a whirlwind trail thrash in Moab where he covered a number of trails in a very short amount of time. The result of his vision is this incredible off-highway competition. Weaver notes; "It [XRRA rock racing] is probably the most exciting short-course off-road racing that you're going to find out there. The action is 100 percent all the time."
We recently had the opportunity to travel to the Badlands Off Road Park in Attica, Indiana, for the Eastern Division Final. This was the last race of the four-race Eastern Division Series of '08. The top finishers from this race traveled to the National Final in Jellico, Tennessee, to meet the top finishers of the four-race Western Division Series. We arrived at the Badlands in early afternoon the day before the event to find only a handful of teams present but the entire course completely constructed, clearly marked, and ready to go. That's impressive planning. It became really clear really fast that the XRRA runs a tight ship. We soon learned that another interesting facet of the XRRA is that the whole vibe of the event is more like a family get-together than a hard-core competition event.
The XRRA goes out of its way to ensure that spectators have a great view of all the insane action while staying safe. Food and restroom facilities are always available. If you're interested in attending one of these races go to www.rockrace.com for more information. By the time you read this, the XRRA should have its 2009 schedule posted. If you want to race in this Series, the XRRA website contains all of the rules and regulations for competitors.