Eastern Event #3 – Badlands UMC Event
W.E. Rock East Round 3 was at Badlands Off Road Park in Attica, Indiana over a hot and humid July weekend. The WERock event was part of the new Ultimate Motorsports Championship which added lots of new people to the crowds watching the rock crawlers of the East compete for cash prizes and season points.
Friday night kicked off the event in downtown Attica with live bands, fresh BBQ, kid games and lots of offroad vehicles getting ready to compete at WERock or race at the TREC race. Thousands of people came to town to gather and see the excitement and bear the hot sun and humidity. “This is the first time we have had an event like this Downtown,” said Kyle Knosp, UMC event promoter. “Everyone is really excited about how well it went, and are looking forward to doing it again next year.”
Festival in Downtown Attica
Saturday morning the sun rose and the humidity was thick. The largest group of competitors so far this year gathered around for the final word on the courses and sweat was already dripping. The courses were set, judges were ready, and the competition started without a hitch.
Eleven rigs entered into the Pro Modified class left a lot of opportunity for points to play a big role. Each course would have to be done perfectly. Kenny Blume started off the day with a hard roll on a vertical climb, which Shelby Gilstrap then made, but pointed out after having lots of mechanical problems all day. By the end of Saturday it was Derek West and Ritchie Keller taking the lead with -41 points. Not far behind was Danny Rohrer in the Wombat rig at -34 points, Mike Thompson was sitting in third with -11, and two points behind in fourth with a -9 was Rusty Bray.
The Unlimited Class was amazing. Bill and Chicky Barton got some competition when Jesse Haines made the trip out from the West Coast to compete in his Pro Mod car that had rear steer, and Mike Hullfish brought out his unlimited car for WERock and his JeepSpeed to race at night in the TREC Race. At the end of the night they were all within one point of each other, Jesse Haines leading the pack with Bill Barton and Mike Hullfish just behind.
Modified Stock class had five competitors with one of the courses seemingly impassible for four of the teams, the days leader Mike Smith took a zero on the course and a 40 for the day. In second was Duane Garretson and third Kelly Young.
The Stock Sportsman Class has been the biggest hit of the year allowing the local competitors to join in on all the action. Six rigs came out to give it their best shot and leaving Saturday night Daryl Mattingly and Jon Terhune were sitting pretty with a -1. Second place Steve Thornton was 41 points behind and Chris Smith had 74 points.
Sunday morning welcomed the addition of the SPEED Channel “Lucas Oil on the Edge” crew to the sidelines to video the excitement. With a scheduled later start, the teams had a little more time to gather and get ready for the days competition. What wasn’t in the plan was the big black clouds that hovered and dumped rain for over an hour at the quarry of the Badlands Offroad Park.
The rain added a level of difficulty to some of the obstacles that were doable dry, and absolutely difficult wet. But thankfully, it cooled off the scorching heat, and really didn’t add too much more humidity to the factor.
The hardest roll of the weekend award certainly goes to Josh Crowe in the Black Crowe Motorsports rig. Rolling at speed from the top to the bottom caused quite a bit of damage, and put him on the trailer immediately following. But he wasn’t the only one challenged with keeping the rubber side down; Kenny Blume rolled multiple times, and Rusty Bray and Derek West both showed their shiny sides.
With a consistent weekend and excellent show in the shootout Danny Rohrer and Chad Rolfert came out the winner in the Wombat rig. Rusty Bray took second, Mike Thompson third and Justin Lawson took fourth for the weekend. Kenny Blume rolled during the shootout, got back on all four wheels and continued the run for a -21 and a 5th place overall finish. Derek West rolled in the shootout, taking a 39 and falling to 6th place.
The Unlimited Class battle went all the way to the Shootout. Neck and neck on each course slowly put Bill and Chicky Barton ahead of Jesse Haines as they approached the final shootout. Each scoring the same points in the shootout put the final results with Bill and Chicky Barton on the podium with Jesse Haines in second and Mike Hullfish in third.
In a miracle comeback in the Modified Stock Class, Bryan Cooper and Scott Angell went from last place to first place! With some excellent runs and low scores, the team jumped ahead of the pack. Duane Garretson maintained his second position, and Mike Smith dropped to third.
With more fun and excitement in the rocks for the Sportsman class, Daryl Mattingly and Jon Terhune took the win, but not too far behind was Steve Thornton.
The weekend was an all around success with lots of new people introduced to the sport of competitive rock crawling in the Indiana area. “This was a great rock crawling site and we were really glad to be apart of the bigger event that was going on,” said WERock promoter Rich Klein. “We are looking forward to putting this date back on the calendar for next year!”