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Rockcrawl Heroes on the Asylum

Posted in Events on May 1, 2002
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Mike Palmer bought a Campbell Enterprises tube-chassis rig and then went crazy with the drivetrain. It runs a Dynatrac reverse-rotation Dana 60 front with 4.10s and an ARB, and a Mark Williams Dana 60 rear with a Detroit. But the really good stuff is the 434-cube Donovan aluminum-block Chevy with Brodix 11X aluminum heads. A roller cam and geardrive put our horsepower guesstimate at more than 550. Mike Palmer bought a Campbell Enterprises tube-chassis rig and then went crazy with the drivetrain. It runs a Dynatrac reverse-rotation Dana 60 front with 4.10s and an ARB, and a Mark Williams Dana 60 rear with a Detroit. But the really good stuff is the 434-cube Donovan aluminum-block Chevy with Brodix 11X aluminum heads. A roller cam and geardrive put our horsepower guesstimate at more than 550.
We usually talk about Chris Durham’s balls-out driving style, so instead we’ll talk about his Jeep. The ’85 CJ-10 replica runs front and rear high-clearance Tera Dana 60s with 4.10 gears and Detroits, a stock 5.9L from a ’99 Grand Cherokee, a ’78 Dodge 727 tranny, and an Atlas II with 3.0:1 low. The coolest part, though, is that it runs off-the-shelf Superlift leaf springs at each corner. We usually talk about Chris Durham’s balls-out driving style, so instead we’ll talk about his Jeep. The ’85 CJ-10 replica runs front and rear high-clearance Tera Dana 60s with 4.10 gears and Detroits, a stock 5.9L from a ’99 Grand Cherokee, a ’78 Dodge 727 tranny, and an Atlas II with 3.0:1 low. The coolest part, though, is that it runs off-the-shelf Superlift leaf springs at each corner.
Neil Lillard picked a fight with this rock—and lost. The twin Dana 60’d rig features rear steering, 4.88 gears on Detroit cases, and Bilstein coilovers at all four corners. We doubt the 4.3L V-6 could bust the 1-ton axles, even with the TH400 and 4.3:1 Atlas, so Lillard has to get all of his damage in above the frame. Neil Lillard picked a fight with this rock—and lost. The twin Dana 60’d rig features rear steering, 4.88 gears on Detroit cases, and Bilstein coilovers at all four corners. We doubt the 4.3L V-6 could bust the 1-ton axles, even with the TH400 and 4.3:1 Atlas, so Lillard has to get all of his damage in above the frame.
Jodi Weaver got tired of husband Mike’s shenanigans and took control of their No. 005 Sniper through a particular gnarly section of the trail. The rig runs all the good stuff, like a 350 RamJet, TH400, Atlas III with 32-spline outputs, and reverse-rotation Dynatrac 60s with 5.13s and a Detroit front and a spooled rear. Jodi Weaver got tired of husband Mike’s shenanigans and took control of their No. 005 Sniper through a particular gnarly section of the trail. The rig runs all the good stuff, like a 350 RamJet, TH400, Atlas III with 32-spline outputs, and reverse-rotation Dynatrac 60s with 5.13s and a Detroit front and a spooled rear.
Jason Paule of Twisted Customs welded Chris Durham’s steering linkage solid. Durham was quoted as saying, “I know where he lives.” Jason Paule of Twisted Customs welded Chris Durham’s steering linkage solid. Durham was quoted as saying, “I know where he lives.”
Don Robbins not only joined the rear-steer crowd a while back, but his rig also employs four-wheel hydraulics. Robbins can raise or lower any corner of the ’Cruiser with the touch of a lever. Add the 44s to the equation and you’ve got one serious trail rig. Don Robbins not only joined the rear-steer crowd a while back, but his rig also employs four-wheel hydraulics. Robbins can raise or lower any corner of the ’Cruiser with the touch of a lever. Add the 44s to the equation and you’ve got one serious trail rig.
The grand finale of the Asylum trail is this nasty double waterfall climb. You can climb the lower, but it’s totally off-camber and super-steep. The upper is a 50-foot-tall winch-only affair that’s near vertical for 20 or 30 feet. The grand finale of the Asylum trail is this nasty double waterfall climb. You can climb the lower, but it’s totally off-camber and super-steep. The upper is a 50-foot-tall winch-only affair that’s near vertical for 20 or 30 feet.
No stranger to these pages, Shannon Campbell brought out one of his company’s rigs. Here, the ’47 Willys replica encounters one of the many off-camber climbs. The Asylum trail is nasty beyond belief. We’d almost be scared to take a short-wheelbase Jeep up it, but the competition rigs that sported wheelbases in the 100- to 120-inch range climb really nice. No stranger to these pages, Shannon Campbell brought out one of his company’s rigs. Here, the ’47 Willys replica encounters one of the many off-camber climbs. The Asylum trail is nasty beyond belief. We’d almost be scared to take a short-wheelbase Jeep up it, but the competition rigs that sported wheelbases in the 100- to 120-inch range climb really nice.
Our trail leader, Tracy Jordan, stood his ’Cruiser on its tail on a nasty climb. The rear-steered, hydraulic-suspensioned rig runs 7.17s in the Dana 60s and 42-inch rubber. Along with Don Robbins, Jordan runs coilovers in the rear and keeps the spring-under leaves up front. Our trail leader, Tracy Jordan, stood his ’Cruiser on its tail on a nasty climb. The rear-steered, hydraulic-suspensioned rig runs 7.17s in the Dana 60s and 42-inch rubber. Along with Don Robbins, Jordan runs coilovers in the rear and keeps the spring-under leaves up front.

We’ve brought you lots of cool rockcrawling competition action over the past few years. As that sport’s popularity has grown, so too has the popularity of those who compete. Certain heroes have emerged with their own followings. While it’s cool that these competitors are getting the recognition they deserve, it’s also cool that they still hold a passion for the sport in which they compete. In other words, it ain’t just about the money or the fame.

We heard that one of these competitors, Tracy Jordan, was leading a group down the Asylum trail just west of Phoenix. Jordan had recently broke this trail, so we jumped at the chance to go hang out with the heavy hitters as they wheeled for a good time and not for profit and prizes.

At the time we ran the trail, there was a significant amount of housing construction going on near its entrance. We’re not sure if you’ll still be able to get there by the time you read this, but if not, at least here’s some photographic proof that it all happened.

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