Taking place over the weekend of Aug 1-2 this is the 8th year that W.E.Rock has come to Broken Boulder Farm, just outside of Goldendale, Washington. Characterized by extremely high-traction lava rock and huge ponderosa pine trees surrounded with a dry dust that is affectionately known as "pouff". The pouff is such a light dust that you can be almost up to your knees in it and barely feel it. It hangs in the air and sticks to your sweaty skin creating tough conditions for drivers, spotters and spectators alike. Conditions were tough with heat in the 100*F+ range but the facility and course were top notch leading to lots of excitement from everyone involved.
The weekend kicks off with a registration and tech inspections taking place on Friday night in town at the local highschool, followed by a parade through the streets and even some wrecked cars on main-street to drive over for the crowd. Goldendale really appreciates the rock crawl and they really go all out and treat everyone great by setting up such a fun showcase for the crowds and the drivers. No show would be complete without some carnage and this year it was Justin Keilman in the Fly-N-Hi Unlimited class buggy getting his front tire jammed into the roof of one of the parked cars and blowing up an inner axle shaft in front of everyone, requiring some after hours wrenching in the parking lot to get his buggy ready for competing.
Saturday morning started off cool and shady under the pines and promised to be a great day on the rocks. After a short drivers meeting everyone headed the short walk or drive over to the comp site and got ready to run. W.E.Rock events are set up with 4-A courses and 4-C courses for the various classes of cars, each with 4 gates and bonus lines. Scoring is like golf with the lowest points taking home the trophy on Sunday. You get points for such things as hitting cones, not making it through gates, backing up, rolling over or running out of time. Clean technical driving while getting thru the stages in less than 10min is what's needed to win. Big drops, huge climbs and lots of dust was the theme of the day and everyone pushed it hard, struggling to keep their tires on the ground and their points as low as possible. At the end of the first day Todd Young stood alone out front in Unlimited Class with -69 points. Second through fourth were only 11points apart with Justin Hall, Jesse Haines and Mark Messer from -46 to -37 points. Sportsman A class, was being dominated by James Treacy in his V8 powered, 4wheel steer Jeep (4wheel steering means he has the ability to turn the rear axle as well as the front, allowing him to line up for the gates and make moves that are just not possible without), finishing the day with a -57. The only other 4 wheel steer rig in Sportsman A class, driven by NSOR Driver Rob Duf, was in second place with a +12 and third place was held by Cody Gabriel with +55 points.
Saturday night followed a time honored wheeling comp tradition of beers and B.S in camp until late into the night. Catching up with old friends and making new ones while meeting the drivers of your favourite rigs and talking about off-roading is just part of the experience. These events are more than just competing during the day and the camaraderie and friendship between teams after hours is really great to see. If you make it out to one of these events don't hesitate to go talk to your favourite driver, they are more than happy to meet new fans and talk about their race or their rigs!
Sunday started out with the same forecast, another hot day filled with awesome rock crawling. The running order gets flipped from Saturday, which mixes things up a bit for the competitors and ensures an even playing field for everyone. Sunday is also slightly different because the Top 4 drivers in the Unlimited class have to run a 4 stage Shootout course in addition to their regular 4 stages. The competition was really heating up as drivers and spotters pushed to get their rigs into the Top 4. Pushing hard meant there was some epic rollovers and some broken trucks, including Brandy Southall breaking the front links on her moon buggy and ripping the entire axle out of the rig. There was fuel pump issues for the two TrailGear buggies and a few exploding drive shafts. After the dust had settled on the courses the group was set for the Unlimited Class shootout, Todd Young went into the shootout in 1st place with a -100 forcing him to drive last. Also in the shootout was Justin Hall in his Campbell Car moon buggy with -85, Jesse Haines in the Superchips and JHF Fab buggy "Pokey" with -68 points and Justin Keilman in his 4wheel steer Fly-N-Hi buggy with -34. Taking place below the main course on some huge rocks that had never been ran before lead to comments of disbelief from some of the competitors. You know it's going to be good when they're not sure if they can drive it! All four of the Unlimited Cars had clean runs through the course and finished in the same order with Idaho-X-Rocks boss Todd Young taking home his first W.E.Rock win in his moonbuggy! Justin Hall in 2nd and Jesse Haines 3rd joined him on the podium. The Pro-Mod class was dominated all weekend by the Japanese team from Tsuda Racing and even after an epic rollover on A2 Masa Tsuda finished with a +4! Kevin Reimer finished in 2nd place with a +100 followed by Shawn McNearney in 3rd with +134. The Sportsman A class was won by James Treacy, leading all weekend and winning with an overall score of -56. Rob Duf held on to his 2nd place with a score of +96 and Cody Gabriel had a great day to pull within 10 points to finish with a +106. For full points and all the drivers scores please visit WERockLive.com.
Congratulations to all the winners and thank you Big Rich, Shelley and Josh for putting on another awesome event!