The morning of the event was much like the 2 weeks prior… rain, rain, and more rain. Everyone knew from the get go it was going to be a sloppy day on the hillside watching UTVs and Bouncers battle it out for their piece of $20k in prize money. With 47 UTV racers signed up and 35 Bouncers there was a lot of action going to take place.
The UTV class started the day off and right out of the gate people were having a hard time with the hill. The mixture of rocks, mud, and literally water running down the hill made it the sloppiest, nastiest, most difficult race hill we had ever seen. The drivers were trying everything to hold and pick a line sliding from bank to bank and slipping into holes and ruts they were trying to avoid.
The first person to make the climb was Wesley Gatlin, and due to the weather a timing issue occurred and he was forced to rerun the hill. Fortunately for him that was no problem as he made short work of the hill and completed the task at hand again, and this time with a recorded time! All other UTV drivers attempted the hill and at the end of Run 1 only 5 people had climbed the hill. (Wesley Gatlin, Gilbert Hollingsworth, Chris West, Jimmy Elam, and Cash Lecroy in that exact order)
Hill 2 was basically the same climb with only a change at where the hill ended. The new exit route had a few different ledges and was fresh ground. This proved really tough for the drivers again, and many drivers barely made it half way as hill and weather conditions worsened. A few drivers, Travis Skelton and Jeremy Gray, were able to make the second hill climb even though they could not defeat the first pass.
All of the UTV Drivers who did climb the first hill failed at a second attempt except for one. Wesley Gatlin would not be denied in his brand new untested, self built, custom chassis Polaris Turbo RZR Bouncer. He would end the day in the top spot receiving $2500 followed by Gilbert Hollingsworth in second and Travis Skelton in Third. Bothe 2nd and 3rd place drivers were driving brand new untested Gilbert’s Offroad Chassis that were completed just days before the event.
At this point in the event it had already been a long day with a lot of hard recovery, poor weather, and timing issues. The Pro Rock Team battled all day to get it all in. The Bouncer class did not start till after 4:00 P.M. The first few passes proved that the bouncers were not going to have a much easier time with the hill. Anthony Yount among others put an absolute beating on the machines and the hill with no success. A few drivers such as Todd Puckett and Justin Williams made short work of the nasty climb and recorded great times. There would be 2 others to make the climb Saturday evening leaving us with a total of 4 successful climbs.
Due to time restraints there would only be one hill and one pass, and as the day turned to night Race Management made the tough and unfortunate call to roll the remaining driver’s into Sunday morning. Some drivers chose to run at dusk and try to complete the hill, while others were simply forced to make a decision to stay and run Sunday or not run this event. With 4 completed climbs everyone who ran or not was given the choice to throw out their time and run Sunday, or keep their time. 15 drivers choose to either reattempt the hill or run for their first time on Sunday. Wild Bill in the No Name buggy and Jake Pike in the Ford powered bouncer decided to throw their times out and try again.
Sunday morning the conditions were exactly the same and the results were very similar. Out of the 15 attempts there were only 3 more drivers to complete the hill, although Danny Smith and Bubba Bacon were mere feet away from a completed pass. Todd Puckett and Justin Williams decision to not run again paid off as Todd would hold first, Justin in second, followed by Clayton Hollingsworth in Outlaw 2.0. Kenneth Cozine and Nick Cooper would be the only other 2 finishers in 4th and 5th place.
The event was a challenge for fans, racers, and Pro Rock alike with the weather conditions and short daylight this early in the year. Many people stayed to watch all day, and some returning on Sunday. All the racers that possibly could stayed and raced in the horrible conditions showing true grit and determination. Pro Rock Racing President took to Facebook to issue a statement and apology that the event was unable to finish on time due to the adverse conditions and he has taken all responsibility for that matter. The great Sponsors of this sport made this event possible, and we urge you to check them out on our sponsors page!
To everyone who came out and spent the day with the offroad family- YOU GUYS ROCK AND WE CAN NOT WAIT TO SEE YOU AT BUSTED KNUCKLE OFFROAD PARK MARCH 23RD-25TH 2018!