United Rockcrawling and Off-Road Challenge 4x4 Event Information - Insane-O CrawlingPosted in Events on March 1, 2005
The time has finally come. Competition rockcrawling has entered a new arena, it's being run on man-made courses, and it is good. The United Rockcrawling and Off-Road Challenge (UROC) has taken the big step to bring the sport of rockcrawling out of the desert and under the big lights, and its 2004 Supercrawl III, with major sponsors Skyjacker suspension and Toyo tires, was quite possibly the best rockcrawling competition ever. With eight obstacles ranging from tiptoe technical to foot-to-the-floor throttle action, this event outside of Salt Lake City was a huge success.
UROC CEO Ranch Pratt explained that UROC had secured the Rocky Mountain Raceway just a month beforehand, and by the time construction started they were down to about 211/42 weeks. The plan that Pratt, UROC president Mark Patey, public relations manager Mike Patey, and course supervisor Daryl Motley came up with involved huge concrete culvert pipes, truckloads of dirt, rocks, concrete slabs, and general construction waste all piled into huge mounds, and then covered in a thick layer of spray-on concrete.
With years of four-wheeling experience and laying out competition courses, UROC could design this course to mimic some of the toughest obstacles found in nature. Best of all, it was built just yards from spectator seating. When rumors of this course started leaking to the competitors and fans, it was quickly greeted with doubt and reservation. How could a man-made course possibly compare to the gnarly rocks of Jellico, Cougar Buttes, Vernal, Farmington, and Cedar City? But when the gates opened and tires hit the terrain, everyone was silenced.
The 4x4 community should give big props to UROC for making both a great event for some 20,000 spectators, 37 vendors (you could even order beer and sit in the stands like a NASCAR race), and 100 competitors to attend, and for helping protect the environment from the sad, but true, abuse that can come from huge crowds attending a competition in the wild. We're not saying that all rockcrawling should move to the city, but for vendors, sponsors, fans, and teams this type of experience was a winner.
And when we speak of winners, it delights us to report that the team of Randy Torbett and Eric Nixon swooped in under the radar from Sale Creek, Tennessee, and came home with a giant cup declaring them the champs in the Super Modified class. It was cool to see a total underdog, in a pretty basic rock buggy, running unheard-of tractor axles, show up and lay a whooping on some of the big-money, experienced teams from across the country. Remember, kids, it's not what you drive, but how you drive it, and these guys with their cool, calm demeanor were real champs for the crowds (especially the East Coasters) to cheer on.
The competitors in the Modified class were no slouches either in their near-buggy rigs running stockish framerails and real steering boxes among other mods. These guys were competing on very similar courses as the Pro Mods, and it was Dean Bulloch and Karl Munsford who continued their season-winning success to come home as the Supercrawl champs in Modified.
So, what is next? This season ended with just shy of $350,000 paid out to winners, thanks to the support of sponsors like Skyjacker, Toyo, Warn, Goodyear, BFGoodrich, FabTech, TeraFlex, Maxxis, Edge Products, Eaton, Genuine Gear, Mepco 4x4, and BullySports.com, and there is already talk of three or more man-made courses being built at other raceways and venues around the country.
So if you want to show the neighborhood drag racers what 4x4s can do, go petition the owners of local tracks to check out these man-made courses, and keep an eye on ESPN, the Speed Channel, the Discovery Channel, and Spike TV to catch glimpses of this year's Supercrawl coverage. Otherwise, visit www.uroc.com to learn about the 2005 season.