Months of careful preparation and planning by the hardworking staff at Crandon International Raceway are now coming down to the final hours as the iconic facility is set to host this weekend’s second annual celebration of speed, power and dirt better known as the Forest County Potawatomi “Super Challenge” Off-Road Weekend. The unique and interactive event kicks off today with practice sessions, driver meetings, technical inspections and the excitement of mud bog racing open to the public before two big days of competition Saturday and Sunday, August 9 and 10.
In contrast to the more traditional short-course off-road race format Crandon is famous for (including the TORC series World Championships held Labor Day weekend), the Super Challenge event brings together three separate racing organizations and over 200 competitors from around the nation for one action-packed gathering of the off-road faithful — all contained within the 400 acre grounds located just outside of downtown Crandon.
Event organizers expect to attract a crowd of up to 5,000 enthusiasts over the course of the next three days, with gates opening early on Thursday for weekend camping. In addition, the track is utilizing Polaris Ranger 900s to pull Crandon’s “people movers” (open trailers with bench seating) around the facility to the designated viewing areas for W.E. ROCK racing, short course competition from MORR and mud bog/fast track racing sponsored by RacingInTheDirt.com.
Another popular attraction will no doubt be a special fan shopping area anchored by the impressive Polaris Performance Gear &Accessories Mobile Merchandising unit that “empowers riders to take ownership of their rides” via specially created parts, accessories and apparel. There will also be displays from Antigo Yamaha|Polaris|Can-Am, AutoGear Custom Truck Accessories Outfitter, Racin’ Dirty Official Event and Raceway Apparel as well as Toys for Trucks.
The newly completed 70-acre Crandon “Playground 4×4” off-road terrain park will be a highlight location this weekend as the stars of W.E. ROCK’s (World Extreme Rock Crawling Championship) Dirt Riot Series take on massive climbs and crawling obstacles in a variety of gravity-defying vehicles comprised of four classes (Unlimited Buggies, Modified Trail Rigs, Stock Trail Rigs and the hugely popular UTV class).
Leading that list of competitors will be Colorado’s Brad Lovell and JT Taylor. Lovell, a familiar competitor at Crandon thanks to his TORC PRO-Light appearances driving his Amsoil/BFGoodrich Ford Ranger, has been a successful rock racer for years as has Taylor, one of the original competitors in the now legendary “King of the Hammer’s” event in California. While they will be going head-to-head this weekend, Taylor also serves as valued crew member for Lovell in the TORC series.
The Crandon event, which will have the Dirt Riot vehicles running on the short course track as well as in the Playground, is the final event of a three-race W.E. ROCK Mid-States Series that includes similar events in Pennsylvania and Kentucky. There will also be a de-tuned course where the amateur weekend warriors can give the sport of rock crawling a try.
The best short course drivers in the Midwest Off-Road Racers (MORR/TORC Series Sportsman Truck and Buggy Divisions) will be bringing their “A” game to Crandon for the season’s semi-final weekend with championship points to be awarded in all 11 MORR race categories via two rounds of TORC-sanctioned competition. These are the same Midwest competitors that share the track with TORC Series PRO division at Crandon’s spring Brush Run 101, the upcoming World Championships and two Bark River events.
Race fans will enjoy seeing MORR’s unique and diverse machinery doing battle on the facility’s high-speed dirt course. There will be intense racing for top honors in many classes, including the emerging talent in the Short Course Kart category, several truck-based groups including Super Truck, Super Stock Trucks and Stock Trucks (for production-based pick-ups) as well as the high-speed action found in the Super Buggy class.
Sunday’s action will conclude with a climactic finish thanks to an all-out battle for supremacy in the unique Limited Buggy Cup Challenge that places two of the series’ open- wheel cars on the track at the same time via a handicapped start.
Adding to the noise and dirt-filled mayhem will be the side-by-side high horsepower blown and injected dirt drag racers that will blast down Crandon’s famed Forest County Potawatomi Land Rush Start. These incredible machines, including the potent vehicle of 2013 winner Dan Richter, will return on Saturday for drag race style elimination fast track racing.
Friday night will spotlight some the America’s best mud bog racers who can blaze through 200 feet of track and four feet of soggy dirt in less than three seconds.
“We are excited to boost Crandon’s reputation as off-road racing’s ‘Big House’ by bringing fans non-stop action at the Super Challenge weekend,” explained race track President Cliff Flannery. “There has been incredible support from both the racing and business communities for this concept, and this year is an important step in securing a third big summer date at Crandon International Raceway.”
With racers and trucks/buggies, crews and off-road fans converging from all points on the U.S. map, the small logging town of Crandon, Wisc., (population: 1,920), is awash in activity. And since 1970 the off-road phenomenon has played out in Crandon, celebrating 45 years and making it the nation’s longest-running short course off-road competition.