Step By Step
Superlift and the Badlands Team Up for a 4xAdventure.
Aurel Goglin, from Chicago, Illinois, successfully crossed some severely off-camber terrain in his heavily modified CJ-7. The list of functional mods includes a built 350 Chevy engine with loads of performance mods, locked-up Dana 60s front and rear, and a totally sick 7.17 diff gear ratio. The custom four-link rear suspension with quarter elliptical springs, coil-sprung three-link front suspension, and 36x12.5 TSL SXs help give the CJ its go-anywhere capability.
Visually, this American Expedition Vehicles modified TJ scored a 10, thanks in part to its eye-catching paint, color-keyed extended flares, and handsome wheels. American Expedition Vehicles is based in Missoula, Montana, and theyre the folks whose product line includes the super-cool long-wheelbase TJ conversion.
Terry Ulren, Superlifts director of marketing, noses one of Superlifts Jeeps into a deep ravine during Fridays trail run. The trail continued to Ulrens right, so a hard 90-degree turn was in order, which caused several vehicles (not his) to snap axle U-joints while crossed up, necessitating trail repairs.
Rocky trails like this are prevalent at the Badlands, and owner Troy Meyer is always devising new ones. This obstacle began in a creek, so aside from the rocks, challengers had to battle wet tires. It was so slippery at the onset that some vehicles actually slid backward until they climbed to more level ground.
The Badlands boasts numerous muddy areas, offering lots of good action and challenge. Some mud holes have a rock bottom, while some are bottomless pits that can even swallow 44s. This one had no bottom, and it was cause for celebration when competitors successfully navigated its depths.
After battling a steep incline, many participants thought this obstacle was over, but it wasnt. At the top was this mud hole, which in addition to being deep had various off-camber sections that added to the fun.
This is part of an advanced trail, but there are a number of trails that stockers can also enjoy. In most cases, there are bypasses around the really tough stuff, but not always. Maps and descriptions of these trails are available at the Badlands office.
The Rock Crawl Competition took place on Friday and Saturday and drew a number of competitors to its evil terrain. Each driver was allowed a spotter and standard judging rules applied. Under the stress of the clock, there were sporadic mishaps including a couple of light rollovers that were quickly righted so the competitor could continue.
In some of the quarries, there are rock walls that create a challenge whether youre ascending or descending. This steep wall had a ledge that stopped every participant who tried to climb it, so a few brave souls figured it would be easier to descend. They were quite surprised to learn that going down was easier but significantly scarier, as their rear wheels would lift skyward as the truck dropped off the ledge.
The Rock Crawling Competition offered the opportunity to challenge an honest-to-goodness hard-core trail that featured all the benefits of a rock trail out west. It featured uphill and downhill grades in a winding layout, with plenty of potential for body damage.
Troy Meyers devious mind concocted these trail obstacles, which provided some awesome wheelstands as participants negotiated the deep holes. There were numerous places like these along many of the trails, and they added even more adventure and challenge to already tough trails.
Are you familiar with the challenging Badlands Off Road Park in Attica, Indiana, that offers over 900 acres of gnarly terrain for four-wheeling? How about the exciting Superlift 4xAdventure Trail Ride Series held at great locations across the United States? Well, separately these two entities rock, so what if they were paired together for a stellar three-day event? How insane would that be? Well, they were, and insane it was.
The Badlands is a huge off-road park in Attica, which has almost every obstacle known and loved by Jeepers. In the past, the area generated gravel and sand for commercial use, but it was abandoned by its corporate owners and purchased by Troy and Lisa Meyer. They turned the old work area into a new play area, and its quickly becoming one of the hottest four-wheeling destinations in the Midwest. As a bonus, the Meyers are constantly modifying and improving the obstacles and trails, so you never know whats in store for you when you drive through the gate.
Superlift Suspension is based in Louisiana, but holds its signature events from Florida to Colorado. Each event follows the same basic formula, which includes a wide range of trails for every skill level, experienced trail guides, five meals, 4x4-oriented games, and product displays. Many members of the Superlift staff participate in the trail rides, usually bringing 4x4s of their own so they can wheel right along with the participants. Many of these vehicles are Jeep products (gotta like that), and occasionally some are seen sporting still-in-development suspension products brought along for a trail test.
When all is said and done, it was clear that Superlift Suspension and the Badlands had teamed up to create a highly successful, challenging event. Over 250 4x4s (well over half were Jeeps, did we mention that?) came to this stunning playground in western Indiana. Special thanks go out to the Wabash Valley Trailblazers for their help in leading the rides as well as for their general assistance throughout the event. For info on the 2001 Indiana Superlift 4xAdventure, or any other 4xAdventure, contact the event promoter Bob Hazel, Sports In The Rough, Dept. Jp, 284 14th Avenue NE, Ste. 5400, Hickory, NC 28601, 828/261-0221, www.sports-in-the-rough.com.