Day 2, Event 1: The Obstacle Course
What it is: This course begins with a long, steep, slippery hill descent that is designed to get everyone's undivided attention right from the get-go. After that, the course only gets worse. We pack this quarter mile of insanity with a variety of obstacles (some wet and some dry), and we purposely make the course twisty and confusing. The course consists of an upper and lower section. Highlights include a cluster of four water holes at the bottom of the hill descent in the lower section, a deep water hole in the upper section, and a tight 90-degree dogleg turn a short distance from the finish line in the lower section. Yep, it's a great way to start Day Two of Top Truck Challenge.
How it works: There's a 20-minute time limit, so speed is critical. But so is accuracy. Hitting any of the cones that mark the course earns a 5-second penalty (each). A DNF looms if all four tires of a vehicle travel off course. Ranking is by the fastest overall elapsed time for those who finish or overall distance traveled if they do not.
Finish Line Quotes
"It was pretty scary at the top. Because where you're staged, you're looking over the hill and you can't even see the dirt, so you're dropping into a blind hill." -Mike Karwath
"It was controlled chaos, I can guarantee you." -P.J. Hale
"Great course, guys. Really challenging. A lot of fun." -Leo Kuether
"At the top we looked at each other and said 'Do you really want to do this?'" -Kevin Simmons
Barker's Ranger: Good start to the run, but the damaged C6 transmission gave out with approximately 4:25 on the clock.
Gray's Blazer: Incredibly fast run that included a unique backwards front burn in the 90-degree dogleg. Hit only three cones for a 15-second penalty.
Hale's Willys buggy: Even with steering issues that hindered a full range of motion, their run was quick. They did hit six cones, resulting in a 30-second penalty.
Karwath's YJ buggy: First competitor. Utilized the rear steering throughout the course. Was in the 90-degree dogleg doing a front burn with 4:20 on the clock. Hit four cones, which added 20 seconds to his time.
King's Power Wagon: The rig broke the front passenger-side knuckle in the upper part of the course, resulting in no steering control of the passenger-side tire. The driver chose to continue on the course backwards using the rear steering to aim the truck. They came close to rolling in the 90-degree dogleg and almost made it to the finish line, but timed out.
Knoche's Samurai buggy: Got a little crossed up coming down the steep hill descent. With 1:45 on the clock, they were driving the upper part of the course and the front driveshaft was broken and whipping wildly. With 3:45 on the clock, they were nose down in the 90-degree dogleg preparing to winch. With 7:40 on the clock, they were backwards on the course in the final trench. Somewhere along the line, a front four-link bar broke, which was the beginning of an incredible amount of damage to the frontend. Even so, the team backed through the rest of the course and across the finish line.
Kuether's "Fat Girl" buggy: Accelerated down the steep hill descent and then flew through the course to earn the fastest time. Co-driver was operating the rear steering by the halfway point. Hit five cones for a 25-second penalty.
Quichocho's CJ-7 buggy: Didn't even try to miss the cones at the 90-degree dogleg, figuring it was better to take the penalty than lose time trying to thread the wide rig through the turn. Penalized 25 seconds for hitting cones.
Simmons' Ford: Slow, careful run. Executed a dramatic rear wheelstand. Easily crawled the 90-degree dogleg. Only gathered 15 seconds in penalties.
Sinkey's Bronco: Broke a tie rod in the upper water hole with about 3:00 on the clock. Driver chose to end his run shortly thereafter.
|(OVERALL TIME INCLUDING PENALTIES OR RANKING IF DNF)
| Kuether's "Fat Girl" buggy
||2 min. 28 sec.
||3 min. 09 sec.
| Quichocho's CJ-7 buggy
||3 min. 47 sec.
| Hale's Willys buggy
||4 min. 11 sec.
| Karwath's YJ buggy
||5 min. 52 sec.
| Simmons' Ford pickup
||8 min. 34 sec.
|Knoche's Samurai buggy
||9 min. 09 sec.
| King's Power Wagon