PLACERVILLE, CA: The Cedar City W.E. Rock was the second ever two-day event comprised of the Trail Gear Western Series Professional Rock Crawling on Saturday, May 11th and the National Dirt Riot 4×4 Endurance Racing Southwest Regional race on Mother’s Day Sunday, May 12th. The events took place at Three Peaks Recreation area, just outside of Cedar City, Utah. “We had a lot of families here celebrating Mother’s Day and I am thankful for all the drivers that put on an awesome show for them both Saturday at the Rock Crawl and Sunday at the Dirt Riot race!” said Rich Klein, President and founder of W.E. Rock Events. “This is the first time in several years that we have used BLM property. It was with great pleasure that we can say how successful it was. Being able to work successfully with our friends at BLM was awesome. Special thanks to the Cedar City Field Office, Mitch Owens and others for their help in making this a successful event.”
The Trail Gear Western National Pro Series Rock Crawling second event of the season was similar to the first in the nature of a one-day event with six courses during the day and a final shootout at the end. Professional Rock Crawling is one of the most intricate sports in the motorsports arena. It is technical, mechanical and filled with action. This event proved all of them including a 20 foot drop during the shootout.
In the Unlimited Class, Justin Hall would take his second win of the season with dad Mark Hall spotting. Trail Gear’s Matt Messer was strong competition until he took an unfortunate roll leaving him with a high score he could never recover from finishing the day in fourth place. Second place went to Todd Young and Tate Elquist, with third place going to Brandy Southall in her first ever driving appearance with husband Randy Southall spotting for her.
The ProModified class was packed with talent. An amazing group of competitors to watch. Jared Neff with spotter Brian Hicks, in his first year with W.E. Rock, led most of the day and it was only towards the end that Jesse Haines and Ryan Miller pushed their way to the top. Jesse was competing in his first ever rock crawling Willy’s rig that he had bought back just Monday of that week! With a quick once over, he loaded it into the trailer and made the drive from Reno, NV to Cedar City, UT to accomplish his first win since 2010.
All within points of each other, Todd Stephensen and Devon Jones used Buzz Bronsema’s comp rig to take a 3rd place podium finish. Aaron Sykes and Ken Rose battled car problems all day and finished 4th. Fifth place Jason Feuilly and Cody Folsom gave the crowd a lot to cheer about as they rolled over on a course and with some finesse and a lot of gas, Jason managed to upright the car and finish the course. Sixth place Mike Stokes and Dan Kovarik never gave up, and then suited up on Sunday for the Dirt Riot race in the same vehicle!
The Sportsman A class put Dean Bulloch on the first place podium even with car problems after the morning session. Paul Tyler and Robert Woodard took second and then ran the Dirt Riot race on Sunday.
Victor Buness and John Jacobs took his second win of the season in the Sportsman B class. Giving him some competition was Rob Flandro and Oliver Bradstreet in the green and black zebra striped Toyota truck. 71 year old Charlie Vacha spotted by Airen Patrick took third and Harold Lisonbee and Victor Buness took fourth.
The Dirt Riot race on Sunday started early with a final parade lap around the spectacular Three Peaks Recreation area and attached BLM land. The six-mile course twisted through technical tree sections, moderate to easy rock sections, some high speed straight a ways and a spectacular road crossing jump that spectators could stand and watch!
The first race of the morning had 15 vehicles on course between four classes, all racing for a full hour. Like all Dirt Riot races, it was a race of attrition; tires, overheating, loose steering bolts were just some of the problems. When it came time for the checker flag to drop, it was UTV class Dean Bulloch from local Arctic Cat dealership D&P Performance who took first. Frank Minice from the Arizona Undertakers, also in an Arctic Cat, took second and Cedar City local Buzz Bronsema took 3rd in his Polaris RZR. Following in the UTV class, Jeff Rector took fourth, Bebe Thiesen took fifth and Todd Stephensen took sixth.
In the Mod Trail Class, the top three were all within a couple minutes of each other. Ryan Miller from Arizona would take first with Rawlin McGhie in second. Mike Stokes would take third and Paul Tyler would take fourth, both had competed in the Rock Crawling event the day before. Carlos and Amanda Gonzales took fifth. Also on course was Stock Trail Rob Flandro winner in his Green and Black Zebra striped Toyota truck and second place Victor Buness in a stock Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Pro 4600 Class had Cody Folsom and Jason Kaminsky out on course battling each other for a win, both having minor issues that they were able to fix, it was Cody Folsom that would come out with the win at the end of the hour.
After qualifying times that determined the starting order for the afternoon Pro 4400 4×4 Race, the drivers lined up with anticipation of a fun course and lots of laps. The winner, Brian Shirley, and second place Andrew McLaughlin would both complete 13 laps. But the numbers don’t give the full story. While Brian ran a clean and consistent race, Andrew had a fuel problem on the very first lap putting him at the back of the pack and he had to use the full three hours to get back into the top three. Troy Dagen and Jeremy Hammer were right in the top four also. On the 11th lap the Desert Fab / ADS Shocks car driven by Troy Dagen had fuel pickup problems, within sight of the pits. With no outside assistance allowed in Dirt Riot, they worked at figuring out the problem and then decided to call the race. His hope of a second place finish dwindled as time continued for other competitors to complete laps. As Andrew made one lap on Troy, he gained one position and then Jeremy Hammer gained a position. By the time the clock stopped Brian Shirley had maintained his first place, Andrew McLaughlin had climbed all the way to second place and Jeremy Hammer had maintained his consistency to take a third place podium. Troy Dagen would take fourth, Todd Seawell with a consistent race took fifth, Airen Patrick took sixth. Jeff Rector, who was at one point in first place on corrected time, took seventh in the 4400 class after a flat tire and Jeremy Ford took eighth with car problems early on in the race.
And 9th Place has its own special story! Levi Shirley celebrated his 21st birthday on Saturday night working on his car trying to get a water bubble bled out of the cooling system that was making his car overheat. He was still working on the car up to an hour before the race when he decided to take a ride to St. George, UT, over an hour away, to buy a new water pump. His race time started even though he wasn’t even in the county. An hour into the race, he returned with the part, got it put into his car, suited up and took the green flag with a little over an hour left to race. He took off with diligence, but then he never came back around and in the Dirt Riot series you must complete at least one lap to not be considered a DNF, and to gain points towards the national series. With literally seconds to spare, with the checker flag already waving for drivers, here came the green 81 car. Levi had blown the rod out of the brand new water pump but had been able to reassemble it to finish the one lap that was critical for the national points chase!
On course at the same time was the two hour 4500 Pro 4×4 race. Jeff Rector was running in both classes and took first in the 4500 class. Second went to Shawn Rantz and third to LetzRoll team member Alan Johnson.
The event results, pictures and stories have been posted at http://www.werocklive.com/2013/dirt-riot-southwest-2-cedar-city for the Dirt Riot Race and http://www.werocklive.com/2013/w-e-rock-western-series-2-cedar-city for the W.E. Rock Rock Crawl.