UROC Coverage on ESPN2Competition rockcrawling has come a long way from its early years of events sanctioned by grassroots organizations, where moderately extreme rigs would go head-to-head in front of a dedicated but sparse crowd. Since that time, the degree of competition has certainly intensified and the spectators have begun showing up in droves. You have to figure that it was inevitable. After all, for anyone who has witnessed competition rockcrawling firsthand, the overwhelming consensus is that the sport is one of the most awesome displays of man and machine functioning as one. While multiple events are available to spectators throughout the year, the United Rockcrawling & Off-Road Challenge (UROC) just sealed a deal with ESPN2 that'll make it even easier for the everyday couch potato to view rockcrawling action by bringing it to the confines of his or her own home.
To reach the attention of the popular sports network, UROC invested months of time and scads of money to create its own one-hour pilot TV show. Upon viewing the results, ESPN2 approved the program and will air the 2004 UROC Pro National Series as well as the SuperCrawl World Championship. "We couldn't adequately articulate the vision of a rockcrawling show, so we decided to take a risk and show them what we had in mind," stated UROC President Mark Patey. The risk paid off, and the UROC series will reach viewers in 87.1 million homes, in addition to countless bars, restaurants, hotels, casinos, and college dorms wherever ESPN2 is available. The new program will be hosted by a qualified team consisting of Danny Canada and former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader Bonnie-Jill Laflin. ESPN2 began airing the series in July, but you can still catch the remaining episodes through December.
GM to Produce Fullsize Hybrid PickupSlated to reach retail customers this fall, GM plans to offer hybrid Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups in 2005. The hybrid pickups will feature GM's 5300 Vortec V-8 and Hydramatic 4L60-E four-speed automatic transmission mated to a new hybrid technology that's said to deliver 10 to 12 percent improved fuel economy compared with GM 1/2-ton pickups. This will in effect give the two new GM offerings the best highway fuel economy of any fullsize truck on the market, without sacrificing any load-carrying, towing, or grade-climbing capability.
Adding to its improvements in fuel economy and emissions, the hybrid GM pickups will feature four 120-volt, 20-amp electrical auxiliary power outlets under the rear seat of the cab and in the pickup bed, which can accommodate as much as four accessories while driving or when parked. Using this auxiliary capability, the truck's generator can operate when the truck is parked without a key in the ignition and can be used to power virtually any electrical tool, appliance, or accessory. With the ability to offer as much as 32 hours of nonstop operation, the design shuts down the engine before the vehicle's fuel tank is emptied and leaves enough gas to drive to a station for refueling. The engine also features a Start/Stop function and regenerative braking, which turns the motor into a generator as the truck decelerates. Once the vehicle comes to a stop, the gasoline engine stops running, while the accessories continue to function normally on stored electrical power.
Rough Country Jeep TJ Suspension SystemsWe're not perfect. Sometimes we even make mistakes. Such was the case when we inadvertently left Rough Country out of the Jeep TJ Suspension Guide we printed in the May '04 issue. A division of Heckethorn Products, Inc., Rough Country offers 1-1/2- and 4-inch suspension systems for '97-and-newer Jeep TJ Wranglers. The 1-1/2-inch kit includes front and rear coil spacers and a set of Heckethorn Hydro shocks. The 4-inch kit is more extensive and is offered with new coil springs; front and rear track bar brackets; front and rear lower control arms; front and rear extended antisway bar links; brake-line extension brackets; a transfer-case lowering kit; and four Heckethorn Hydro shocks. For more information, contact: Rough Country, (800) 222-7023, www.roughcountry.com.
Jeep Jamboree 2004Designed to offer family fun for those seeking new adventures in their Jeep vehicles, the 2004 Jeep Jamboree festivities began in April and will continue through October. A new event was also added to the mix this year as the organization plans to introduce the Mark A. Smith Rubicon Trail Adventure, which will be held August 27-29. The new adventure will offer an exclusive crossing of the Rubicon Trail, beginning in Lake Tahoe and led by Four-Wheel Hall-of-Famer Mark A. Smith and his handpicked personal guides. Jeep Vice President Jeff Bell commented, "Jeep Jamborees are weekend adventures designed exclusively for Jeep owners and their families who wish to explore seldom-seen, hard-to-reach places that only Jeep vehicles can travel. Our trail instructors help owners learn how to maximize their Jeep vehicle's capabilities over challenging trails and more importantly, to do so in a safe and environmentally friendly manner." All Jeep Jamborees have a trail rating of 1 to 10, with 10 being the most difficult. Levels of difficulty will vary depending on trail conditions, but beginners and experts alike are welcome to participate. For more information, contact: (800) 925-5337, www.jeepjamboreeusa.com.
Based on an original story by Genesis Orlando, a digital-animation production company, Tugger, the Jeep 4x4 Who Wanted To Fly centers on an animated character modeled after a Jeep vehicle, who dreams of one day flying like an airplane. Why are we telling you this? Because the Jeep brand and Genesis Orlando recently came to an agreement that will launch the animated film property and release it in connection with the official launch of the '05 Jeep Grand Cherokee. Check your local Jeep dealer this fall for a chance to view the film and an opportunity to check out the newly redesigned Grand Cherokee.
Coverage Dates on ESPN2July 1July 8August 12September 16October 28November 4December 16