Private wheeling parks are nothing new, but over the past decade they have increased tremendously across America. This trend is especially fast-growing in southeastern regions that have been affected by national park closures. One park that’s earned a great reputation for a fun place to wheel is the Hale Mountain OHV Park. Located in New Market, Alabama, the 400-acre park is a packed with trails ranging from easy to extreme, and has a host of elevated terrain to keep any wheeling enthusiast entertained.
We recently made it out to the park on a rainy winter weekend and set out to explore some of the tougher trails. With a handful of buggies and mildly built 4x4s in the group we knew that there would be a nice range of action and line choices. What we didn’t know is how much tire spinning, crazy carnage, and rain-soaked fun we were in for. Though the wet conditions greatly elevated the challenge on even the mild trails, we managed to get through most of our desired paths—not without a few trail mishaps, of course. To find out more about the park, give them a ring at 931.937.8772 or visit the website www.halemountainohvpark.com.
Mark Statum’s buggy was fitted with a Dana 60 front and a 14-bolt rear and was powered by a throaty LS2 engine. While we wouldn’t say his machine had many weak links, he did manage to blast apart the rear yoke on his Atlas transfer case. The explosion was so violent that it actually blew a hole through the buggy’s center console. Luckily, no one was injured and they were able to get the buggy off of the trail using one of the many access roads inside the park.
After working through the night to get his buggy ready for the weekend trail ride, Scott Lemon hoped that his wrenching was over for a while. Unfortunately this high-speed launch ended with more of a bang than he expected. Bang! That’s what Lemon heard and felt as the 21⁄2-ton Rockwell knuckle broke into pieces and his wheel and axle end assembly left the rig. Some clever rigging was required to drag the 502ci-powered Jimmy Smith chassis buggy out of the trail and back onto the trailer.