Ten years ago when competitive rockcrawling began to flourish, no one really knew where it would end up. Coupled with many different sanctioning bodies, the sport grew and changed over the years, as did the vehicles and drivers. But as with any twist and turn in our industry, another change has happened. The UROC organization has morphed from rockcrawling to Rock Cross, where three rigs abreast compete on a rockcrawling course as it thrills the audience and packs the stands. We enjoyed the first such spectacle at the Rocky Mountain Raceway in Salt Lake City last August.
Having a starting flag and a checkered flag means that there aren't any cones, points, or penalties to count or worry about in this competition. Now it's finesse, speed, and durability of the rig that matters and with a lot more action going on. The start line starts each heat off in the two classes-Modified and Stock. These purpose-built rock rigs aren't usually at home in the speed department, so drifting around a dirt turn and quick acceleration were not common to all the competitors. And having three 4x4s of any type scrambling up the same cliff for position is without a doubt an exciting sight.
This type of entertainment is not rockcrawling, and may not be for everyone in the sport. However, it is a new breed of competition we think will grow and spawn technological advances we can all use on the trail, as rockcrawling has done. And with the advent of these closed-course venues, the environmental danger of this type of sport is greatly minimized so as to protect our trails. We think this could be another great direction for 4x4 enthusiasts, and can't wait to see the next event and see what develops in terrain, vehicles, drivers, and tech. For more information go to www.uroc.com.