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November 2011 Drivelines Off-Road News

Posted in Features on November 1, 2011
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Tornado Tuff
“Dear Tuffy Products,” the letter from our reader begins, “I would like to congratulate you on your superior products and tell you a story of how they went above and beyond the call of duty. I purchased my Jeep Rubicon new in 2010, and among the first things I installed were your Security Deck enclosure, Security Console Insert, Security Glove Box, and Flip-n-Lock Stereo Cover & Tray. I used these products on my Jeep for about a year before they got a test they were never designed to survive.

“On May 22, 2011, my wife was on duty at St. John’s Regional Hospital in Joplin, Missouri, and she had parked our Jeep just outside the emergency room entrance. At about 5:40 p.m. an F-5 tornado struck Joplin and hit the hospital directly. Our Jeep was picked up and tossed about 100 feet, rolling at least once and impacting many surrounding vehicles.

“It was two days before we were able to get into the area and see the remains of our Jeep. The hard top was ripped away, all the glass was blown out, not one interior part was undamaged, the steering wheel was bent, the dashboard was riddled with holes, the seats were torn and ripped, everything was destroyed—except all my Tuffy Products!

“Not only did the Tuffy Products all survive intact with nothing more than surface scratches, but the only items we were able to salvage from our Jeep were items protected by our Tuffy Products. All our paperwork and a few items in the Security Glove Box were intact and dry, and all the items in our Security Console Insert were there and dry, including our digital camera, sunglasses, CDs, and our checkbook. The most impressive item was the Security Deck covering the cargo area. Not only did it hold together during an F-5 tornado and our Jeep’s complete rollover, but it held hundreds of potentially deadly projectiles and saved hundreds of dollars of tools, winch accessories, binoculars, a 12-inch subwoofer box, and various miscellaneous items. Every item was not only held there, not one was damaged!

“I cannot thank you enough for constructing such a quality product. Your products not only saved quite a few items I won’t have to replace, but it is quite possible that your products held in items that could have very easily become deadly flying debris. I just wished you made a Tuffy enclosure large enough to park my Jeep in!”
—Eric Kuhlman

Aussie Colorado Unveiled
This show truck, which was displayed at the Australian International Motorshow in Melbourne, “foreshadows the production version” of the next-generation Colorado pickup that will go on sale in Australia in 2012, said GM officials. “Although this is a show vehicle, the fundamental design and proportions are true to form for the production version of the Colorado hitting Holden showrooms next year,” said Holden’s Mike Devereux. The show Colorado is powered by a 2.8L turbodiesel engine and rides on Cooper Zeon LTZ 285/50R20 tires. The diesel is one of a number of engines that will be available in the truck when it launches.

GM is still mum about whether this Colorado will be sold Stateside.

ECORS Hits Alabama
More than 50 racers competed in the second race of the East Coast Off-Road Series (ECORS) at the Great American Park in Auburn, Alabama. Racers were separated into four classes, from UTVs to unlimited buggies, and each had two hours to complete 10 laps of the course. In Class A (for stock 4x4s) the win was a tie between Charles Robinson and Brad Carrier; the Class B (modified 4x4s) victor was Adam Macke; Class C (for unlimited buggies and 4x4s) was won by Adam Carter; and Class U (side-by-sides) was won by Brit Mansell. There are five races on the ECORS calendar, culminating in Oliver Springs, Tennessee, in November. For more info, visit

News From the Peak
The 89th running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb saw a major milestone passed when Nobuhiro “Monster” Tajima, driving his ’11 Monster Sport Suzuki SX4 Hill Climb Special, was the first to break the 10-minute barrier. Monster tackled the 12.42-mile course, which begins at 9,390 feet and finishes at the Peak’s 14,110-foot summit, in just 9:51:58. This run gives Monster his sixth consecutive overall win.

Longtime off-road racer Gavin Skilton also had a big day on the Peak, driving a one-off Honda Desert Pilot to the summit in 15:37—good for Eighth Place in the Open class. This marked the racing debut of the Desert Pilot, a single-seat, tube-framed racer powered by a mid-engine, production-based Honda V-6 and developed for off-road racing by Honda Performance Development and the California Race & Rally team. Speaking of milestones, this will be the last year the Pikes Peak course is run on any dirt. Next year the entire road will be paved, making this a very different race..

This Just In
• Men’s magazine Complex recently compiled the list “The 50 Best Car Commercials of All Time.” Take a look at and see if you don’t agree that the list has some big holes in it. Where’s Chevy’s “Like a Rock” campaign? Or Joe Isuzu?

• Ted Johnson, SCORE International’s longtime vice president for business affairs, recently passed away at the age of 92 from the effects of a stroke he had more than a year ago. “Ted was the financial administration backbone of SCORE International from the days Mickey Thompson founded the company in 1973 until the last few years when he stepped back from an active role in the company,” said Sal Fish, SCORE CEO and president. “He has been and will always be with us in spirit.”

• We were also saddened to learn of the passing of Todd Gartshore, cofounder and vice president of marketing for Baer Brakes. Gartshore was one of the true good guys in the aftermarket industry. Working with him on a brake story was always a pleasure; he was upbeat, helpful, and very insightful, not just about brakes but the entire automotive aftermarket. He will be missed.

• More SCORE news: About the time you read this, SCORE will have staged a new event, the Tecate SCORE San Felipe Challenge of Champions. The race, held September 9-11, replaces the Primm 300 race that was cancelled this year because of “insurmountable insurance issues,” said SCORE. The new race, open to Pro and Sportsman classes for cars and trucks, will run over the same course that was used for the MasterCraft Safety Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250 in March.

• GM will start to retool its assembly plants next year in preparation for a redesign of its fullsize pickups. According to Automotive News, GM plans a complete remake of the trucks, changes extensive enough to require major plant retooling that could last into 2013. Industry watchers believe the new trucks will begin production in 2013 as ’14 models.

Earth Watch
• SEMA reports that a House Natural Resources Subcommittee recently held the hearing “Opportunities for Outdoor Recreation on Public Lands.” The main topics of discussion were protecting recreational access to federal lands and recognizing the economic benefits derived from such activities. Witnesses included representatives from the BlueRibbon Coalition (BRC), National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council, Colorado Off-Highway Vehicle Coalition, and other OHV organizations. The hearing included testimony in support of multiuse federal lands and responsible OHV recreation. Don Amador, Western representative for the BRC, spoke on the need to reopen the Clear Creek Management Area (CCMA) in California. Currently closed due to an “emergency closure” in 2008, the CCMA contains more than 75,000 acres of land containing off-road trails. Amador testified that the decision was based on inaccurate data and false assumptions and that the land should be designated as a National Recreation Area with prescribed OHV uses.

• SEMA also tells us the U.S. Department of the Interior has withdrawn its controversial “wild lands” policy, which directed lands with potential wilderness qualities to be managed as wilderness. SEMA joined with a number of other organizations to oppose the program, implemented last December by the BLM, since it usurps the exclusive authority of Congress to designate “wilderness.” (We all know the issue there: No motorized activities are allowed on “wilderness” lands.) Under the wild lands program, the BLM was directed to review its inventory in search of more wild lands. Program opponents noted that it did not take into account input from local communities and elected officials on how the lands should be managed, such as permitting multiple uses that provide jobs and economic benefits.

• The BLM has also closed 37 miles of roads and trails in southwest Idaho to protect the Packard’s milkvetch. Last November the plant was listed as a candidate for protection under the Endangered Species Act. The BLM closure around Willow Creek will last at least two years as the issue is reviewed.

• A federal judge has rejected Utah’s lawsuit claiming state rights to a 101⁄2-mile road in Canyonlands National Park. The National Park Service closed the road in 1998, blocking motorized access to Angel Arch. The state of Utah and San Juan County had argued that the dried-up Salt Creek Canyon riverbed had a history of continuous use by vehicles, homesteaders, and cattle herders, which provided a right of way to the national park. Widely considered the most spectacular arch in the park, Angel Arch can now be reached only by a 12-mile hike.

LeDuc Wins in Utah
Team Toyo’s Kyle LeDuc earned his second consecutive Pro 4 Unlimited class victory during Round 7 of the Lucas Oil Off-Road Series (LOORS) race at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah. That win came on Saturday, when he qualified Second and squeezed by Carl Renezeder with just a few laps left in the race to take the checkered flag. Kyle qualified in First position for Sunday’s race, but contact with a K-rail early on slowed his Rockstar Energy Drink/Makita Tools Ford F-150. Still, he was able to bring the truck in for a Second Place finish.

Another member of Team Toyo, Jeremy McGrath driving his Monster Energy/Ready Lift Ford truck, made it to the podium on race weekend by finishing Second in Saturday’s Pro 2 race.

New Ram News
There are no huge product announcements from the Ram truck brand for the ’12 model year, mostly just refinements. For example, the half-ton trucks now have six-speed automatic transmissions with Electronic Range Select, so drivers can manually shift through all six gears. The automatics are backed by more efficient torque converters to improve fuel economy. On the heavy-duty side, you’ll be glad to know that the Power Wagon remains. The HD trucks receive a new six-speed automatic, and a new Max Tow package brings the towing capacity for the 3500 trucks up to 22,750 (though that figure is likely for a 2WD truck). That Max Tow package is also available on the 4500/5500 chassis cabs, bringing their GCVW up from 26,000 to 30,000 pounds.

PhotosView Slideshow

Win This Bronco!
The Colorado Association of 4 Wheel Drive Clubs is raffling this ’73 Bronco and donating the proceeds to various good causes, including the association’s land use fund and a scholarship fund. The Rock Solid Offroad Club built the Bronc, fitting it with 51⁄2-inch coil springs, a cage and custom dash, Warn Lock-out hubs, KC lights, a Bestop soft top, 37-inch Xtreem Mud Terrain tires, and way more goodies than we can list here.

The drawing will be held December 3 at Southside Johnny’s in Colorado Springs, but you don’t have to be present to win. Tickets are $3 each, or you can buy a pack of 10 for $25. To find out more details about the Bronco and buy tickets, stop by and click on the Raffle Vehicle link.

Hall of Fame Inducts Off-Road Racers
Rob MacCachren and Ron Bishop, two longtime off-road racers, are the latest inductees into the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame. During a three-decade racing career, MacCachren has won in just about every off-road racing series there is, amassing a record of more than 175 event wins and 20 championships. He recently earned his first Trophy Truck victory in SCORE’s San Felipe 250, and he’s also currently competing in both the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing series and the Traxxas TORC racing series.

Rob MacCachren

Bishop is well known in the motorcycle racing community, both as a successful rider—he is the only motorcycle racer to have competed in every Baja 1000 since the first race in 1967—and as a pioneer in adapting halogen race lights to motorcycles back in the ’70s. His San Diego–area dealership, Ron Bishop Motorcycles, has been a mainstay of the sport since 1980.

Ron Bishop

MacCachren and Bishop will be inducted on October 8 in a special ceremony that takes place in conjunction with the Off-Road Expo in Pomona, California. A silent auction open to the public will also be held immediately after the event and will feature off-road memorabilia. More information about the ceremony can be found at

• Sept. 29–Oct. 1: Maine Mountains Jeep Jamboree, Bethel, ME. Info:
• Oct. 1: Customer Appreciation Day, Rocks and Valleys Off-Road Park, Harrison, MI. Info:
• Oct. 1: 4x4 Swap Meet by the Tri County Four Wheelers, Elkton, OH (near Lisbon). Info: 330.942.9376, 330.277.3851
• Oct. 1: Getting Started Off-Road 4x4 Skills Clinic, Hungry Valley SVRA, Gorman, CA, by Badlands Off-Road Adventures. Info: 310.374.8047,
• Oct. 1: ’11 Lucas Oil Regional Off Road Series, Glen Helen Regional Park, Devore, CA. Info:
• Oct. 1: Off-Road 101 Course, Kansas Rocks Recreation Park, Mapleton, KS. Info:
• Oct. 1: Night Run, Kansas Rocks Recreation Park, Mapleton, KS. Info:
• Oct. 1-2: JeepSkool, NE Ohio. Info:
• Oct 2: Basic & Advanced Winching Clinic, El Paso Mountains, Mojave, CA, by Badlands Off-Road Adventures. Info: 310.374.8047,
• Oct. 6-8: French Lick Jeep Jamboree, French Lick, IN. Info:
• Oct. 6-8: Expedition Moab, Moab, UT, by Jeep Jamboree USA. Info:
• Oct. 7: Death Valley Adventure, Death Valley, CA, by Badlands Off-Road Adventures. Info: 310.374.8047,
• Oct. 7-8: Bluff City Land Rovers Off-Road Adventure, Superlift ORV Park, Hot Springs, AR. Info: 501.625.3600,
• Oct. 8-9: Fall Swap Meet, at the Gravelrama site, Cleves, OH, by the IOK Four Wheelers. Info:
• Oct. 8-9: Iron Range Offroad driving school, Iron Range OHV Park north of Minneapolis– St. Paul, MN. Info:
• Oct. 13-15: Borrego Springs Jeep Jamboree, Borrego Springs, CA. Info:
• Oct. 13-16: Southern Cruiser Crawl, Superlift ORV Park, Hot Springs, AR. Info: 501.625.3600,
• Oct. 14-16: Bluewater Desert Challenge, Parker, AZ, by Best in the Desert. Info:
• Oct. 14-15: Operation Desert Fun, Ocotillo Wells SVRA, near Borrego Springs, CA, by the California Association of 4WD Clubs. Info:
• Oct. 15: Wheelin’ for St. Jude’s, Flat Nasty Off Road Park, Jadwin, MO, by Ozark Mountain Xtreme Rock Crawlers. Info: 417.293.5956, 417.469.5542,
• Oct. 15: Creepy Crawl Halloween Event, Kansas Rocks Recreation Park, Mapleton, KS. Info:
• Oct. 15: Mojave Road Adventure, near Needles, CA, by Badlands Off-Road Adventures. Info: 310.374.8047,
• Oct. 15-16: Sam’s Run, Clayton, OK, by Sam’s Offroad Equipment. Info: 918.446.5535, email
• Oct. 20-22: Gateway to the Cumberlands Jeep Jamboree, Williamsburg, KY. Info:
• Oct. 20-22: Moab Jeep Jamboree, Moab, UT. Info:
• Oct. 21-22: Ultra4 Grand Prix, Glen Helen Regional Park, Devore, CA. Info:, • Oct. 22: Rock Competition, at the Gravelrama site, Cleves, OH, by the IOK Four Wheelers. Info:
• Oct. 22-23: SNORE 250 desert race, Pahrump, NV. Info:
• Oct. 27-29: Ouachita Jeep Jamboree, Hot Springs, AR. Info:
• Oct. 27-29: Pine Barrens Jeep Jamboree, Hammonton, NJ. Info:
• Oct. 28: North Rim Grand Canyon, Parashant, NM (near St. George, UT), by Badlands Off-Road Adventures. Info: 310.374.8047,
• Oct. 28-30: Rocktoberfest, Cass, AR, by the RockCrawlers 4x4 Club. Info:
• Oct. 29: Halloween Party, Rocks and Valleys Off-Road Park, Harrison, MI. Info:

• Note: If you have a 4WD event you want us to publicize, please send the date, location, a description of the event, and contact info—phone numbers and/or email/website address—to Calendar, 4-Wheel & Off-Road magazine, 831 S. Douglas St., El Segundo, CA 90245; fax 310.531.9368; email 4wheeloff Please submit your info at least four months in advance of the event due to our press lead times.

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