Being put to the ultimate test, Campbell's car held up to the abuse and leads him to what is sure to be another series championship.
As the days and weeks leading up to the final installment of the XRRA’s Western Series quickly came and went, so did the opportunity to lay down the ground work for the few teams in a position to claw their way to the top of the final standings. Without a catastrophic failure on the part of the Monster-sponsored team of Shannon Campbell, only a few drivers were in a position to topple the series leader.
The driver who was best positioned to take out the formidable leader was Brian Shirley of Lucky Dog Racing. Shirley, father of Levi Shirley who was also high up in the standings, proved to be a worthy opponent after finishing second and third in Colorado Springs back in June.
Round four started out on a high note for Shirley when he laid down a time 12 seconds faster than his nearest competitor, but controversy was waiting for him in the second heat. Shirley, who had already negotiated the first lap of the two-lap courses, was making his way into his second lap when he went out of bounds.
Brian Shirley negotiates one of the many difficult rock sections.
“I came around the turn and saw the marker barrel right in the middle of what I thought was my lane,” Shirley explained. “I didn’t want to go into Ray’s (Mandell) lane, so I stayed to the left.”
Quickly realizing his mistake, Shirley backed up and righted his wrong by getting back on course. Shirley was soon stopped for violating the 50 percent rule, where if you go more than 50 percent out of the banner, you are DQ’d for that heat.
Ben Swain proves you don't have to have the latest in suspension components to air it out.
It was determined by the XRRA crew that during a previous recovery, the outside banner in Shirley’s lane was not put back in its original place. Shirley was given the chance to rerun after the end of round one, where he made up valuable time and went on to win the day’s event by a sizable margin, putting the pressure on Campbell to do well in the following day’s round five event.
Once again, Rick Deremo was plagued with the nuances of a new car and was not in contention.
If the pressure was on for Campbell, you wouldn’t know it by his demeanor. Always the calm, cool and collected competitor, Campbell took it one heat at a time. The payoff was a top seed going into the final two rounds. Leading Brad Lovell of Torchmate Racing by a mere 22 seconds, Campbell knew one mistake could mean the difference between first and second place. Even with a sporadic locker, Campbell was able to take on the toughest rock sections and do it with ease, netting him his third first-place finish this season.
“I can’t believe this car held up,” Campbell said. “I have been beating on this thing for a long time now and it keeps taking the abuse.”
Roger Lovell makes a spectacular save and goes on to take a second-place finish on day one.
Unfortunately, at the time of this article the official results are not in for the series championship, but basic math says Campbell is the XRRA’s 2009 Western Series champion. We will update the results when they become available.
Just as quickly as the season began in Moab, Utah, it came to a finish in the Southwest Colorado town of Cortez. It is hard to believe XRRA’s Western division is now over and for the top 10 teams competing in the series, only the East vs. West Finals remain.
The XRRA staff and volunteer crew proved their worth by saving Levi Shirley's car from total disaster.
Results - Round 4
1. Brian Shirley
2. Roger Lovell
3. Shannon Campbell
4. Ray Mandell
5. Curtis Thayne
6. Matt Peterson
Results - Round 5
1. Shannon Campbell
2. Brad Lovell
3. Matt Peterson
4. Terril Johnston
5. Ralph Mills
6. Levi Shirley
Shannon Campbell soars over the table top jump and right into a first-place win on day two.