It aint NASCAR, but its getting close. Back in the good ol days when old farts used to walk to school uphill, both ways, in the snow, you could take a car off the showroom floor, hop it up, and actually be competitive at Talladega. Not so today. The same is quickly holding true in the land of competitive rockcrawling.
We went to Johnson Valley to check out this seasons inaugural Goodyear/Skyjacker Extreme Rock Crawling Nationals sanctioned by ARCA (the American Rock Crawlers Association), held February 16-17. There were cool rigs and tons of tech to drool over, thousands, of spectators, and action that made a James Bond movie seem like a quilting seminar. But there were also lots of indications that things are now on a different level. Everything about this latest event was on a larger scale. Whether it was the dollars and/or ingenuity needed to stay competitive, driving style, course layout, or crowd size and enthusiasm, everything was muy wacko. Both the obstacles and vehicles were so far beyond what was normal just two years ago that its like comparing an ox cart to an ox cart with a really bitchin drivetrain and suspension. As for action, the courses were designed with such malevolence that we actually stopped popping photos of the rollovers. It was sick and twisted entertainment at its best.