W.E. Rock? Yes, it certainly does.
World Extreme Rock Crawling brought its precision driving show to the Broken Boulder Farm. Forty-five teams came to ply their rock crawling skills against the tight courses. This was the final western series round to determine who goes to the finals in September near Farmington, New Mexico.
Against the backdrop of the Columbia River Gorge teams gathered on the forested hillsides. The courses were strewn with boulders ranging in size from microwave ovens to a short school bus. And everything in between.
Two Days Of Traction, Articulation, And Teamwork At The Boulder Farms.
For those not familiar with the sport of rock crawling the teams are amazing to watch. A teams is made up of a driver and a spotter. Spotters direct the driver through gates (orange cones) with precision. Spotters do not ride in the vehicle. A spotter can, however, move rocks, logs, and branches within the course to aid traction.
Scoring is handled by judges who observe every run. Everything is judged and scored from each reverse movement to the nudge of a course cone. Points can be added or subtracted with each action. The lowest score wins.
After a drivers meeting teams reported to The Boulder Farm boulder fields. There, the A, B, and C courses were laid out. Different classes compete on courses with different degrees of difficulty. Sportsman classes have easier courses that the Unlimited and Pro Modified cars. Not that any of the courses are easy.
Broken Boulder Farm: Between a rock and a hard place.
Teams took time to walk (climb) the courses and strategize. And from this recon, they would learn how to best navigate the courses. Every team has a ten minute time limit.
Doug Frantum drove and Maverick Frantum spotted. Together they rocked the UTV class taking the win by a sizeable margin. Then they switched rolls and took second place as well. Brylee Mulrony/Jason Mulrony took the third spot.
Sportsman. And Sportswomen.
There are three levels of Sportsman classes. They break down like this according to the W.E. Rock rules.
- Sportsman A: is intended for unlimited buggies with any size tires, rear steer or drag axle, single or two seats, with any engine configuration.
- Sportsman B: is intended for limited trail buggies; no tire greater than 42” on a two seat vehicle, no tire greater than 40” on a single seat vehicle, NO rear steer allowed; any engine configuration.
- Sportsman C: is intended for vehicles with OEM style frames or unibodies, suspension design must mimic OEM (longer springs or link acceptable, +/- 4” from stock. OEM wheelbase, 37” maximum tire size, minimum two seat vehicles only, NO rear steer.
Youth is wonderful. It is a shame to waste it on the young. – Mark Twain
Sportsman C was a most interesting competition. Chris McKenzie/Josh Griffin were locked in a season championship battle with fourteen year old Katelynn Boren and her spotter Kevin Boren. All year, they have been swapping positions at the top of the points. Coming into the Goldendale event, McKenzie started well taking a 37 point lead in the first run.
In the next three runs, Boren edged closer a little at a time. At the halfway she was within fourteen points of McKenzie. It looked to be a battle for second as Karl Van Petten/Tom Baker looked to be on point for the win. Which they did easily on the last four runs.
Katelynn lost 40 points to McKenzie on the next run. But on the sixth run caught back up with a super clean drive. McKenzie and Griffin fought hard, but the Boren’s were dialed into the Goldendale boulder-field and nabbed the second spot, and the points lead.
First impressions are everything.
This was this author’s first exposure to the world of rock crawling. After watching just a few competitors work their way through the courses, you get an appreciation for the skill needed.
Age is no barrier. Seth Wolfe is eight years old; his father Donny spots for him. Seth maneuvers a complicated machine deftly through each course. Several teenagers compete as well. It was impressive to see the broad range of experience on the courses.
This will not be my last W.E. Rock event, and I hope if you have the urge that you will make one in your area. Here are the results from the event.