Day 2 Event 1: The Obstacle Course
What it is: Day two of competition kicks off with a visit to this ¼-mile-long course that’s filled with an eye-opening collection of obstructions. The low-speed course begins with a long, slippery hill descent that ends with competitors smack-dab in a deep water hole. From there, the course gets worse. It consists of a lower and upper section and highlights include the aforementioned deep water hole in the lower section, a pair of deep water holes in the upper section, and a gnarly 90-degree dogleg turn a short distance from the finish line. New this year, we added deeper holes, more water, and a new shelf drop-off in the upper section.
How it works:
Cones mark the course and hitting any of them earns a 10-second penalty each. If all four tires of a vehicle travel off course it’s a disqualification. There’s a 10-minute time limit. Ranking is by overall time for those who finish or overall distance traveled for those who don’t. This year, we ran the Buggy Class first.
Finish Line Quotes
“I didn’t really know what to expect, really. That sand is pretty loose and I was sliding. Brakes on or off, it didn’t matter, so I was trying to keep that thing down the hill forward.” –Josh Hall
“That hill is so steep, and you come down that hill with more speed than any human should have and you got no time to make that turn and then boom you’re up to your chest in water.” –Ron Adams
“I’m proud of my little cheapy buggy. It’s doing good for me.” –Alex Sanders
“It looks a lot easier on camera.” –Steven Montpas
“Funnest day of my life, actually. It was the funnest wheeling, funnest thing that’s ever happened to me.” –Jeff Seely
Dallner’s S-10: First Truck Class competitor. Got stuck in the lower water hole but winched out quickly. Steering problems in the upper section required driving a portion of the course backwards. Hit nine cones, which generated 90 seconds in penalties.
Hall’s Samurai: First Buggy Class competitor. Smooth, drama-free run. Utilized the rear steer and executed a couple of front “digs” in the tighter areas. Hit five cones for 50 seconds in penalties.
Keller’s F-350: Last competitor in the Truck Class. Got stuck in the large lower water hole, had winch problems, and spent approximately the next 8 minutes attempting to extract the rig before choosing to end their run with 9:05 on the clock.
Montalto’s Bronco: Did not run due to engine problems.
Montpas’ Willys: Came to the event with a new camp-fabbed four-link bar. Got stuck in the large lower water hole, but winched out quickly. Executed a front “dig” in the dogleg and chose to run over a cone instead of wasting time trying to avoid it. Only hit three cones for 30 seconds in penalties.
Sanders’ Chevy: Third Buggy Class competitor. Became stuck in the lower water hole, probably due in part to the ruts left by Spencer’s FJ40. Winched out with 3:39 on the clock. Slow, calculated run that only netted 30 seconds in penalties for hitting three cones. Distributor cap gasket and valve cover gasket leaked allowing sand and water to enter the engine.
Seely’s Suburban: Tried to hug the wall in the lower water hole and this caused the rig to slowly roll onto the driver-side. Run ended at that point.
Spencer’s FJ40: Second Buggy Class competitor. Became stuck in the lower water hole. Began to winch, but had problems with a wet engine and starter motor, which continued until 7:16 on the clock. Did a front wheelstand on the new shelf drop-off with 8:20 on the clock. Timed out near the dogleg.
Timson’s YJ: Did not run due to transfer case problems.
Vizenor’s “Li’l Nasty”: Blazing fast run with no winching and only 40 seconds in penalties for hitting four cones. Chose to run over the cones at the dogleg instead of losing time trying to maneuver around them. Broke the high-steer arm bolts while crossing the finish line.
Results (overall time including penalties or ranking if DNF)
1. Montpas’ Willys 5 min. 31 sec.
2. Dallner’s S-10 8 min. 55 sec.
3. Keller’s F-350 DNF
4. Seely’s Suburban DNF
5. Montalto’s Bronco DNS
1. Vizenor’s “Li’l Nasty” 3 min. 09 sec.
2. Hall’s Samurai 5 min. 57 sec.
3. Sanders’ Chevy 8 min. 39 sec.
4. Spencer’s FJ40 DNF
5. Timson’s YJ DNS