Tech Day: 2007 Skyjacker UROC RockCross Round #3

Nov. 30, 2007 By Katrina Ramser
RockCross Forecast Calls for Rain, Mud and Format Changes 

PHOENIX, ARIZONA -- The third and final event of the 2007 Skyjacker Pro RockCross season will be held at the Firebird Raceway December 1st and promises stormy weather and lots of muddy action.

Some adjustments are coming to the sport as well, and involve switching to a new triple elimination format with a maximum of five teams in each heat. This changes from three teams on the course at once and double elimination.

Perfecting this concept put UROC president Ranch Pratt in the position to make on-the-run changes, delivering just a week's notice about the decision to change the RockCross format. "I called the teams first to let them know of format changes," said Pratt in an interview this evening.

Benefits of the change are closer racing and more excitement to the sport, Pratt said. "People are catching the spirit of how it can look and feel and be," he said.

Pratt confirmed numbers for the competition: eight in Pro Modified class; eight in Super Modified. ORC can confirm rock racers Steve Bulloch, RJ Brown, Rich Deremo, Ben Hanks, Shannon Campbell and the BFGoodrich Roger Lovell will be competing tomorrow.

Unfortunately, because of weather, Pratt rightfully described the courses as "soup." At this same location, Pratt once canceled a UROC event, but he said there will be no cancellation this time. "It's going to be challenging. You're in a huge bowl. There is no protection for spectators. Even just the threat of rain can have a discouraging effect on attendance," he said.

Pratt seems to find himself in contreversy a lot lately. In early November, Pratt sent a press release announcing that the Area BFE management had approached him with the concept of holding the 2008 and 2009 RockCross season openers at the Moab recreation park; on the Saturday before the Easter Jeep Safari. This is the location and date normally held for the Maxxis XRRA season opener.

Pratt distributed a countering release a few days ago, saying that UROC made an adjustment - "in an effort to ensure that teams competing in various events do not have a conflict in their schedule" - to hold the RockCross opener on Friday instead, one day before Maxxis XRRA's rock race event on Saturday.  However, the Pure Adrenalin Cup, a concept Pratt developed and implemented for the first time at Event #2, will take place on Saturday.

"When we found out that XRRA had made the choice to stay in Moab, we immediately began to work on a solution," stated Pratt in the follow up press release. 

BFGoodrich driver and DIRTsports 2005 Driver of the Year Shannon Campbell, who has supported Pratt's RockCross format since the season's debut at Event #1 in Salt Lake City, had positive comments about the format change. "It's what racing is," Campbell said.  To many racers, Pratt has created a unique rock racing concept that combines the skill of rock crawling with the speed and action seen on dirt tracks.

Practice for the teams begin at 8am. Qualifying runs from 10am to noon with gates opening at 11am. Team introductions last fifteen minutes, with the RockCross Eliminations beginning at 12:15pm.  Pratt estimates and ending time between 2:30-3:30pm, with the Pure Adrenaline Cup following. Tickets are $10 for adults; $5 for 5-11; and free for 4 and under. Newsletter
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