Day 3 Final Event: The Tank Trap
Seventeen TTC champions came to TTCC, but only the top 10 points-earners from the previous six events qualified to run the final event of the week: the legendary Tank Trap. This event is the crown jewel of our repertoire of events and it takes place in a nasty, narrow, quarter-mile-long natural valley that climbs approximately 195 feet in elevation from beginning to end. It’s nasty in its natural form, but we alter it to make every inch of forward progress a challenge. This year we added a deep new water hole directly in front of the start line (we called it Water Hole Zero). Above that were two more deep water holes and then the trail gave way to the dreaded Canyon. The Canyon is approximately 100 yards of steep, slippery rock waterfalls and ledges bordered by sheer, rock-laden walls. Following the Canyon experience, competitors travel through five more deep water holes separated by steep, loose-dirt hills. Between Water Hole 5 and Water Hole 6 is the nasty, deep, off-camber Crevice that proved to be a nemesis to many this year. If competitors make it this far they come face-to-face with the final obstacle, which is a steep, slippery dirt hill climb out of Water Hole 7. Through the years the Tank Trap has humbled even the most well-prepared rigs driven by incredibly talented drivers. Competitors are given 30 minutes to complete the course and the only penalty is a DNF for a winch safety violation. In addition to the 10 qualifying rigs we also allowed our voted-in competitor, Ron George, to run Tank Trap (he had enough points to qualify anyway). This year, Tank Trap trapped more than half the field.
Burton: Added two batteries to the rig prior to the event, which brought the total to four. Winched
out of Water Hole 2 with 2:50 on the clock. Drove the Canyon with no stopping. Rolled onto the passenger- side in the Crevice below Water Hole 6 with 9:15 on the clock. Tried to winch the rig back on its wheels but the winch rope broke with 13:27 on the clock. Chose to end his run for a number of reasons including the fact that the snorkel was damaged and it probably would’ve allowed water to be ingested into the engine in the remaining two water holes
Campbell: Entered Water Hole 2 with 55 seconds on the clock. The rigs low bellypan was dragging as they entered Water Hole 2 and the raised exhaust was under water while crawling the hole. Winched out of Water Hole 2 with 2:35 on the clock, but was marked as a DNF at that point due to a winch safety violation.
George: The in-cab controller for the winch didn’t work while attempting to winch out of Water Hole 2 with 2:30 on the clock (turns out the power wasn’t turned on). A standard spare winch controller was used from that point. Entered Water Hole 3 with 5:23 on the clock and Water Hole 4 with 6:10 on the clock. Became stuck in the Crevice with 9:09 on the clock, but had winched out with 11:50 on the clock. Driver and spotter changed positions prior to Water Hole 6. Winched out of Water Hole 6 and began winching up the final hill with 13:44 on the clock.
Gray: Entered Water Hole 2 with 1:00 on the clock. After three failed attempts to climb out of Water Hole 2 he winched the rig out with 3:35 on the clock. Winched out of Water Hole 4 with 8:54 on the clock. Became stuck in the Crevice with 14:10 on the clock. Tried to winch, but the winch cable was bound up and only a small amount would unspool. Creative winching ensued and with 23:24 on the clock the vehicle was on two wheels up against the Crevice wall. At this point the winch controller cable became damaged so the winch couldn’t be used. Tried to power the rig out, but the driver didn’t know that the front line-lock had been inadvertently activated. Eventually the steering shaft pulled apart. Chose to end the run with 25:52 on the clock.
Green: Prior to the event the roll cage-mounted small “spare tire” was moved to a custom mount on the driver-side of the ‘cage. Green called this his “Canyon Killer” and it would serve as a “roller” in off-camber situations to protect the driver-side when the rig was tipped into the Canyon and Crevice wall. Winched out of Water Hole 2. Rolled onto the passenger-side at the entrance to Water Hole 3. Was back on its wheels and moving with 10:35 on the clock. Winched again near Water Hole 4 with 12:35 on the clock. Rolled onto the passenger side for a second time in the crevice below Water Hole 6. Began winching out of Water Hole 6 with 21:18 on the clock. Drove up the fnal hill after getting a winch pull out of Water Hole 7 with 24:51on the clock. Crossed the fnish line with the aroma of burning clutch and the driver-side front tire leaking from a gash sustained on the fnal hill.
Harrell: Second competitor. Entered Water Hole 2 with 1:00 on the clock. Cleared the Canyon with approximately 2:10 on the clock. Rolled onto the passenger side at the entrance to Water Hole 3 with 2:38 on the clock. Vehicle had been winched back on its wheels and was moving with 5:25 on the clock. Breezed through the rest of the course and crossed the finish line a little over two minutes later.
Karwath: Entered Water Hole 2 with 1:10 on the clock. Had a little problem on the exit, which used up approximately 40 seconds. Entered the canyon with 2:04 on the clock and into Water Hole 3 with 2:55 on the clock. Made it to the exit of Water Hole 7 at the final hill with 4:50 on the clock, but the TH400 transmission was slipping due to fuid loss from a cracked tail-housing. Attempted to winch with 9:00 on the clock, but the winch rope broke at the drum. Karwath ran to his support vehicle at the top of the hill and procured fve quarts of transmission fluid. The fuid was added but it was leaking out of the tail housing too fast. Chose to end his run with 25:58 on the clock.
Montpas: Final competitor. Became stuck coming out of Water Hole 2 with 1:05 on the clock and winched out with 2:19 on the clock. Rolled onto its side near Water Hole 3 and was back on its wheels with 10:00 on the clock. Became stuck in the Crevice with 17:02 on the clock and dealt with an engine that wouldn’t run for a while due to oil pushed into the cylinders by the accumulator with 21:50 on the clock. Insane heavy-throttle action eventually forced the Willys out of the Crevice. Climbed out of Water Hole 6 after two tries with 26:15 on the clock. Rolled over in Water Hole 7 and timed out.
Naeger: Entered Water Hole 2 with 1:30 on the clock, but had to winch out and exited with 4:02 on the clock. In Water Hole 4 with 8:00 on the clock the NP205’s rear output shaft broke. From that point the buggy only had front-wheel drive and it was winched through the rest of the course. Winched through Water Hole 6 with 19:02 on the clock. After a couple of tries he managed to get close enough to the winch point on top of the fnal hill to connect the winch cable and drag the buggy to the top to complete the course.
Thorson: Winched out of Water Hole 2 with 2:15 on the clock. Drove through the canyon in less than one minute. Winched out of Water Hole 4 with 7:02 on the clock. The engine started to suck in water and began misfiring in Water Hole 5 (it began misfiring later in Water Hole 7, too). Delayed slightly in the Crevice before Water Hole 6 with 8:10 on the clock. Winched out of Water Hole 6. With 13:45 on the clock the winch cable was being tightened for the last tug up the final hill.
Waddell: First competitor. Tipped onto the driver-side coming out of Water Hole Zero, but drove out of it. Made it through the canyon with no winching in approximately 63 seconds. Tipped onto the passenger-side at the entrance to Water Hole 3 with 3:30 on the clock. A small fre, likely caused by leaking transmission fluid, was extinguished quickly. With 9:40 on the clock the rig was back on its wheels and the engine had been started. Became stuck in Water Hole 4 with 11:45 on the clock and began winching but broke the winch rope twice. Along the way one of the electric radiator fans had become damaged while submerged in water and before it blew its fuse it had broken two blades and damaged the radiator causing a small coolant leak. With no winch he forced the truck out of Water Hole 4 and rallied to make it to the fnal hill before timing out.
Finish Line Quotes
-“This one’s for Aaron, my oldest boy. He’s in the Navy somewhere.”
– Toby Harrell
-“I was disappointed with the Matt Thorson fnish too, because I really wanted to catch some air off the top of this hill.”
– Matt Thorson
-“Tank Trap was brutal this year. I didn’t expect it to be near that bad. We’re here. We fnished every event and that was my goal.”
– Ron George
-“We ended up in the last hole upside down, but we had a good time and we’ll never forget it.”
– Steven Montpas
(elapsed time or ranking if DNF)
1. Harrell ........................................ 7 min. 45 sec.
2. Thorson .................................... 14 min. 05 sec.
3. George...................................... 15 min. 35 sec.
4. Green ....................................... 25 min. 32 sec.
5. Naeger ..................................... 25 min. 56 sec.
6. Karwath .....................................................DNF
7. Waddell .....................................................DNF
8. Montpas ....................................................DNF
9. Gray ..........................................................DNF
10. Burton .......................................................DNF
11. Campbell ...................................................DNF