The Tank Trap
What it is: It's the stuff a 'wheeler's nightmares are made of. It follows the bottom of a natural gorge that's prime breeding ground for some of the most vicious poison oak on the planet. The Tank Trap is approximately a quarter mile of desolation and despair that sports an evil 195-foot climb in elevation. It's loaded with rock waterfalls, slippery dirt climbs, crazy off-camber sections and, of course, our legendary truck-swallowing water holes. The gnarly Canyon, super-deep Water Hole Six and the final hill are the biggest obstacles.
How it works: This event is very important strategically because it is worth double the points of the other six events. Competitors can redeem points lost by doing poorly in other events or they can extend their lead by doing well here. Each competitor is given 30 minutes to attack the Tank Trap. The only major rule is that competitors must travel through marker cones or they will be disqualified.
Finish Line Quotes
"It was fun. The Canyon was rough. I had heard that it's rough--now I believe it."--Sam Collins
"That's the most grueling thing I've ever done. It's insane. If anybody ever gets the chance to do it, they need to do it at least once so they can say they did it. It's bad to the bone."--Brad Pellett
"I drove too hard. I should've been calmer and drove a little more cautiously. We broke some Grade 9 hardware in the steering." --Dan Dibble
"We got pretty twisted up in the Canyon. We had to winch a lot more through the Canyon than we thought. It's slippery, it's wet, and that last hole is deep." --Brent Burton
Tank Trap Tally
Boggio's S-10: The only competitor to blow through the Canyon without winching. Made it to the V-notch in front of Water Hole Six in a blazing 3.5 minutes. Got stuck in the V-notch and the winch rope got detached from the winch drum by mistake. It took 13 minutes to get the winch rope to respool on the drum so they could make their recovery. Got stuck in Water Hole Six, lost engine power, tried a snatch-block pull, lost the front left tire, and chose to end their run.
Buck's Ranger: Easily traversed the first two water holes and winched through the Canyon, but missed marker cones along the way, resulting in a DQ at that point. Didn't hear the judges over the engine noise and continued on, rolling over in the V-notch before Water Hole Six. Quickly recovered and finished the course.
Burton's TJ: Entered the event using a custom transmission cooler designed to combat a slipping Second gear in the Turbo 400 transmission. Winched in the Canyon after tipping significantly. Took a couple of tries to get through the V-notch. Winched in Water Hole Six. Began winching up the final hill with 19:33 on the clock. Completed the course.
Collins' F-250: Lost a power-steering belt and had some problems keeping the engine running in the Canyon. The starter overheated and wouldn't turn, so they poured water on it to cool it down. Winch cable got tangled, and the front Air Locker solenoid failed. Climbed the final hill under its own power. Completed the course.
Dibble's ASM buggy: Blew through the first two water holes, but suffered steering problems in the Canyon, which eventually contributed to a light roll. This roll mangled the steering to a point where it was unrepairable on the trail. Timed out.
Gilpin's K3500: Crawled through the first two water holes, but then the left rear traction bar broke and punctured the fuel tank. Judges used our Blue Devil Products Trail Pail Emergency Spill Recovery Kit's fuel tank sealer to plug the leak. Driver chose to end the run.
Grothe's Bronco: Winched in the Canyon, V-notch, and Water Hole Six. Exhibited excellent driver/spotter communication. Entered the last water hole with 16:23 on the clock. Completed the course to earn the fastest time for '06.
Hanson's Toyota: Threw a yard sale in the Canyon when a weld broke on the rear custom portal axle, which allowed the driver-side tube to rotate. The result was catastrophic damage to the rear axle, steering, air shock, and numerous other components. As a bonus, the engine lost oil pressure. A 2 hour, 20 minute recovery ensued to drag the Toy out of the Canyon.
Pellett's Ram: Used the Warn 15000 winch in the Canyon, Water Hole Six, and on the final hill. The driver and spotter swapped positions regularly. Driver was shoulder-deep in Water Hole Six. No mechanical damage. Finished the course with the radio and air-conditioning still working.
Sheeley's TJ: First competitor. Blew through all the water holes without winching and without problems. Had to winch in the Canyon and on the final hill. Tipped precariously in the Canyon and had winch-cable tangling issues on the final hill. Completed the course.
RESULTS (points based on distance or time)
1 Grothe's Bronco 20
2 Burton's TJ 18
3 Collins' F-250 16
4 Sheeley's TJ 14
5 Pellet's Ram 12
6 Boggio's S-10 10/DNF
7 Buck's Ranger 8/DNF
8 Dibble's ASM buggy 6/DNF
9 Hanson's Toyota 4/DNF
10 Gilpin's K3500 2/DNF