Shannon Campbell competed in a buggy featuring independent front suspension at the season opener.
This past weekend, the Xtreme Rock Racing Association (XRRA) held its first race of the 2009 season in beautiful Moab, Utah. Like last year, the event was held at Red Rock Raceway, where the courses incorporated some use of the already established motocross track.
Hoping to draw crowds from the Easter Jeep Safari held annually in Moab, the XRRA has kicked off every season in the town known as the mecca of four-wheeling. Unfortunately, since moving the event from Area BFE, a privately owned four-wheeling area known for its numerous challenges and insane obstacles, the crowd draw has been short of ideal. The idea of watching an event where you could challenge yourself on the same obstacles as the competing drivers seemed to be more pleasing to the larger crowds of yesteryear.
The Way of the Future?
The weekend’s race saw two independent front suspension (IFS) racers make their debut in the XRRA. The teams of Xtreme Motorsports’ Rick Deremo (above) and Monster Energy’s Shannon Campbell put their cars to the test on the fast courses laid out by the XRRA. It didn’t take long to see these innovative cars were a force to be reckoned with.
“The car feels a lot more stable,” Deremo explained. “It feels like it hooks up the whole time. We’ll have to wait and see what it does when we take it to Colorado Springs and Cortez,” which features large rock obstacles and steep climbs to contend with.
The worry was in the rock sections where IFS cars are not known for great performance due to lack of articulation. However, both Deremo and Campbell were able to get through the scattered rocks without any more, if not less, trouble than the live-axle racers. Time will only tell if the new-to-the-sport design will catch on.
Jason Feuilly steps on the gas at the season opener.
Back in Victory Circle
It has been a long time since Rick Deremo has been in the winner’s circle. Plagued by bad luck and inopportune mishaps in the ’08 season, Deremo was unable to pilot his racer to the top of the podium.
The start of the 2009 season seemed to be going better than the previous year for the Precision Heavy Hauler-sponsored driver. Deremo’s first two heats were blistering fast, and he was able to take an early lead. Unfortunately for Deremo, adversity reared its ugly head in the way of a busted airline used to actuate his lockers. With no time between heats to fully fix the problem, Deremo’s team was able to get the rear locker to engage and was forced to finish the day with an open front end.
“I just tried to keep it clean and keep it moving,” Deremo said. “I knew Brad (Lovell) was ‘getting it’ all day and I needed to stay consistent.”
The effort paid off for Deremo, who took home the first place trophy and prize money.
Levi Shirley took third place at the XRRA in Moab, Utah.
More to Come
The rest of the Western Series will be run under XRRA’s new format. Colorado Springs and Cortez will be two individual one-day events. Racers will have to keep their minds sharp and their cars fast if they expect to take home top honors. The back to back events should entail a little more strategy and a lot more luck.
1. Rick Deremo
2. Brad Lovell
3. Levi Shirley
4. Dana Verdorn
5. Joachim Schweisow
6. Mark Munson