It was long, tall, and utterly stunning. It seemed one of the least likely to win; yet this Rockwell-running, 53-inch Michelin-shod, stretched TJ was putty in Brent Burton's hands. Even though the team didn't do so well in the Obstacle Course, their overall score was bolstered by wins in the Frame Twister, Mud Pit, and Mini Rubicon. The double points earned from their Second Place finish in the Tank Trap certainly helped too. The height of the TJ seemed a primary factor for doing well in events like the Mini Rubicon and Mud Pit, and the bulletproof durability of the Rockwell axles aided in all of the events--especially the Tank Trap. On top of all this, the team demonstrated excellent driver/spotter communication and an obvious significant amount of off-highway experience.
Burton says; "It was a good time. It was pretty intense. We're just weekend 'wheelers and we've never done a competition before. I've been jeeping my whole life--always been around it. I think that helps out. My co-driver and I have spent the last eight months building on that thing, so it's good to see it come together. The most challenging event was the Tank Trap times ten. The rest of it was something we've seen on the trail--something we've run into before, but that water in there was out-of-control crazy. It was something we've never seen. No matter how you prepare, you can't be ready for 6 feet of water."
In addition to joining an elite club of Top Truck Challenge winners, Brent left Hollister (to go 'wheeling at the Rubicon!) with a slew of great prizes. Actually, everyone left with some great stuff, donated by some great sponsors, and you can see a tally of the booty beginning on page 62.
"I gotta thank you guys for putting on this event, and that I got here. I just can't thank you enough."--Addie Sheeley
"It was an expensive week for me, but it was fun. I'm glad to be here."--Cory Hanson"It was great. So much fun, and everyone was so friendly."--Wayne Sheeley
FINAL RESULTS (points)
1 Burton's TJ 66
2 Collins' F-250 61
3 Dibble's AMG buggy 47
4 Buck's Ranger 46
5 Grothe's Bronco 44
6 Pellett's Ram 43
7 Boggio's S-10 39
8 Sheeley's TJ 36
9 Hanson's Toyota 35
J Gilpin's K3500 23
Like the event itself, Top Truck Challenge is an extreme exercise in planning and logistics. It also requires a vast amount of plain 'ol hard work. In addition to the entire staff of Four Wheeler, Top Truck relies on dedicated enthusiasts to help get the job done. We don't have a Top Truck Challenge magic wand that we can wave around and instantly get everything done. The folks who help are dedicated 'wheeling and Top Truck fans just like you. Many wave goodbye to their families and real jobs at the beginning of the week and drag home 5 or 6 days later sunburned, poison-oak-riddled, and dog-tired. To these folks we take our muddy hats off.
Head judge Tim Hardy. Judges Dan Black, Toby Lavender, Jack Shelton, and Jay Albrecht. Extraction technicians Scott Shreve, Rodney Hill, Don Brown, Tom Kennedy, Joe Farley, Chris Finstad, Jason Finstad, and Noel Chadbourne.Friends of Four Wheeler Josh Cumby and Jerry Duffy.The Don Chapin Company for the use of the cement mixer for the Tow Test.Blue Devil Products for the Trail Pail Emergency Spill Recovery Kits.Silva Trucking and A&S Metals for the heavy equipment and operators.Emergency medical technician Mike Golub.Ned Bacon for designing and fabricating the winner's trophy.Mansmith's Barbeque for keeping the staff, judges, and competitors very well fed.All of the Rangers and staff of the Hollister Hills SVRA. FW