Day 3 Final Event: The Tank Trap
What it is: We save the best for last. Often spoke of in hushed, reverent tones, Tank Trap is legendary, and for good reason. It takes place in a nasty, quarter-mile-long, deep, natural valley, which we modify in such a way as to make every inch of forward progress a battle. It’s a merciless course that can humble even the most well-built rig. The course begins with a pair of water holes that we reworked this year. From there, the course transitions into the Canyon, which is approximately 100 yards of steep, slippery rock waterfalls and ledges bordered by sheer, rock-laden walls. After the Canyon there are five more deep water holes separated by steep, loose-dirt hills. The course encore is a steep, rutted, slippery hill climb out of the last water hole. Tank Trap climbs approximately 195 feet in elevation from its starting point to the finish line and it’s lined by dense foliage that is either protruding thorns or covered in poisonous oil.
How it works: Tank Trap is strategically important because we make it worth double points. This means teams can gather much-needed points or extend a lead. Each team has 30 minutes to travel as far as they can and the only rule is that they must travel through marker cones when they appear. Rankings are by overall time or distance traveled if DNF. This year, the Buggy Class ran first.
Finish Line Quotes
“ It was actually easier than I expected. I had a blast man, it was great. It was awesome. I would almost want to do it again. I’m losing oil pressure, but it would be worth it to do it again.” –Alex Sanders
“It feels great to be at the top. After all the late nights changing axleshafts and running down to get spare parts here, there, and everywhere, it feels absolutely great to be at the top of the Tank Trap at the end of the week.” –Ron Adams
“It was perfect. Just like we like it. Soupy, deep, the canyon walls were fun. It was good. Fun time.” –Josh Hall
“Awesome. I love it.” –Tim Dallner
“It was wild. We expected it though. We knew every event you guys do is crazy, so Tank Trap was fun.” –Steven Montpas
“It’s every bit of hard.” –Tony Montalto
“Tank Trap. My demise.” –Shane Vizenor
“That was just a wicked trail.”—Corey Timson
Dallner’s S-10: Entered Water Hole 3 with only 2:50 on the clock and promptly dropped the driver-side tires into ruts and rolled. It took a little over 8 minutes to winch the rig back onto its wheels. Blew through Water Hole 5 with 22:05 on the clock and crossed the finish line a little over a minute later.
Hall’s Samurai: Ripped through the course and arrived at Water Hole 4 with only 4:38 on the clock. They drove/floated through the water and then got stuck. Due to some clevis issues the winch recovery took almost nine minutes to complete. Blazed through the rest of the course with no winching.
Keller’s F-350: Last competitor. Ran without his rigs front hood assembly, reversed his Mickey Thompson tires, and switched out his nylon winch rope for steel. Traversed the Canyon in a little over nine minutes and entered Water Hole 3 with 10:40 on the clock. Battled a wet distributor from Water Hole 4 to the finish line. Winched along the way.
Montalto’s Bronco: Ran without the windshield. With 5:55 on the clock the team was alternating between crawling and winching up the Canyon. The Bronco’s body was taking a beating as it was sometimes on its side. The cooling fan began contacting the radiator with 16:20 on the clock and the radiator began steaming with 17:45 on the clock. Timed out in the Canyon.
Montpas’ Willys: Impressive, fast run that only required one winch recovery out of Water Hole 4. Hardly slowed down for the Canyon. Fastest run of all competitors.
Sanders’ Chevy: First Buggy Class competitor. Steady progress through the Canyon and made it to the dirt hill before Water Hole 5 without winching with only 7:20 on the clock. The team completed a quick winch on the hill, and the rig completed the course under its own power less than two minutes later.
Seely’s Suburban: First Truck Class competitor. Had to drag the rigs body along the wall in the Canyon. Slow progress with regular winching. The ignition switch got moved to the “start” position with 8:20 on the clock, which threatened to burn up the starter before it was shut off. Timed out between Water Hole 3 and Water Hole 4.
Spencer’s FJ40: Made it to the Canyon with only 1:40 on the clock. Had to winch once in the Canyon and again coming out of Water Hole 4. A couple of winching issues slowed them down a bit. Once out of Hole 4 they never looked back and completed the course less than three minutes later. Somewhere along the line they broke the driver-side sway bar link.
Timson’s YJ: Came to the event with a new steering ram mount fabbed with the help of almost everyone in camp. Exited the Canyon with only 4:00 on the clock and entered Water Hole 5 with only 6:15 on the clock. Smooth and steady run with no winching to earn the fastest time in the Buggy Class.
Vizenor’s “Li’l Nasty”: A blazing run found the rig about ¾ of the way through the Canyon with only 40 seconds on the clock. The driver tried to ride high on the Canyon wall, but rolled the rig onto the passenger-side. Creative winching ensued in an attempt to get the vehicle back on its wheels in the narrow, uneven canyon. At one point, the rig was dangling on the Canyon wall by the front and rear winches. Timed out.
Results (overall time or ranking if DNF))
1. Montpas’ Willys 7 min. 40 sec.
2. Dallner’s S-10 23 min. 12 sec.
3. Keller’s F-350 28 min. 15 sec.
4. Seely’s Suburban DNF
5. Montalto’s Bronco DNF
1. Timson’s YJ 7 min. 48 sec.
2. Sanders’ Chevy 11 min. 07 sec.
3. Hall’s Samurai 15 min. 03 sec.
4. Spencer’s FJ40 16 min. 18 sec.
5. Vizenor’s “Li’l Nasty” DNF