PLACERVILLE, CA: Wildfires sprung up on Tuesday of the Dirt Riot Mountain Series race week in the Northern Colorado Springs area, drawing a lot of media attention to the area. Although the race course at Ram Offroad Park was never in danger, there were a number of drivers and their families that were affected by the wildfires. Local racer, Matt Peterson, owner of Rockware was on the outside of the pre-evac area, several days were spent moving the shop out of harms’ way. Other racers pitched in to help including the Lovell’s who opened their homes and fields to evacuees. The decision to continue the competition in a community where so many were facing mass devastation was left up to the drivers, who in the end were happy for the distraction.
“We were never in any danger, but we needed to be respectful of the local racers,” said Rich Klein, President and founder of W.E. Rock Events. “As always; we Raced! And it was a great race. After seeing some of the pictures from the event, I wonder if any of the cars were ever on the ground! The jumps at the RAM Offroad Park are awesome!”
The Pro 4×4 4400 main race took the field at about 2 p.m. under clear skies, no wildfire smoke in the area. Thirteen cars took the green flag, including a good field of local racers. Drivers that have had great success in this years series began to see trouble and fell out early, Levi Shirley finished out with 10 laps; Brian Shirley with 12 laps; Andrew McLaughlin completed 13 laps. The clear race leader from early on through the finish was Colorado Springs local Roger Lovell, competing for Lovell Rock Racing. Brother Brad Lovell was competing in Bark River, Michigan at the TORC Racing Series and had received his first podium finish of the season on Friday night! Roger followed that up with one of his own on Saturday, making it two for the team that weekend. Colorado would sweep the podium with Hunter Sparrow from Arvada taking 2nd and Ben Swain from Denver taking 3rd. Dustin Isenhour took 4th, Damien Layer took 5th, Matt Lee finished 6th, Texas Tony Arledge finished 7th, Andrew McLaughin took 8th, Todd Seawell took 9th, Brian Shirley ended up 10th, Levi Shirley in 11th and John David took 12th.
The Pro 4500 and 4600 classes had 5 stock and modified jeeps between the classes giving them the opportunity to run their own 2 hour race. The course was fast and fun for these vehicles, although they didn’t jump quite as high as the 4400 class. Alan Johnson would take 1st in the 4500 class, with Shawn Rantz in second and Jesse Bayne on the podium in third. Fourth went to Mitch Funk and fifth went to Russ Rose. The 4600 class winner was Ferris McCollum with Jason Kaminsky taking second and Matt Salyers in third. Fourth went to Matt Peterson and Cody Folsom wasn’t able to complete a lap taking a DNF.
The Stock Trail, Mod Trail and UTV classes all had four participants, so they took the course together, almost. The line up was set to go and the race had begun when Mike VanZyl pulled up with his rig still on the trailer. Mike’s time had begun when he was supposed to leave the line, everyone hollered at him to hurry and he quickly unloaded and strapped himself in his stock Range Rover, leaving the start line several minutes behind everyone else. In the end, Mike took the first place checker for the stock class. Captain Rob Flandro took second, Keith Sach took third and Chris Kranwinkle didn’t finish a lap with a DNF. The Mod Trail Class rocked the laps with winner Ryan Miller completing 6 laps and second Rawlin McGhie and third Israel Estares completed 5 laps. Trevor Ritch did not start.
The UTV race brought out a great group of racers all completing seven laps and finishing within a minute of each other! Billy Briney would take the win with Justin Meador in second and Cottin Rodd in third. Chris Barnett wouldn’t be able to finish a lap taking a DNF.
The next Mountain Series race will be July 6th in Cortez, Colorado in combination with the Southwest Series. This will be the final 2013 race for both series. More information on that race is posted at http://www.werocklive.com/events/dirt-riot-mountain-round-3. Admission is $15 for adults, $5 for ages 8-15, children 7 and under free and Military with ID get $5 off. There are vendors, food and amenities on site, and we encourage you to bring chairs and shade structures.
All the results, pictures and stories are currently posted at http://www.werocklive.com/2013/dirt-riot-mountain-2-colorado-springs..
Photo by Rise Above Photography