The 2014 season for the Stadium Super Trucks saw many new faces try out the high-horsepower, high-riding off road vehicles for the first time, and would see many take to the trucks a lot better than anticipated.
Defending two-time champion, and series creator, Robby Gordon was already looking ahead to the 2015 campaign and wanted to start the year off with a huge show to bring in more fans and more exposure than ever. In order to pull that off, he didn’t just need the trucks and a strong field of drivers, but he also needed a couple ships, some containers, and also more than a few travel miles.
The reason for all the extra need: the 2015 season would start south of the equator, as the SST tour would head to Adelaide, Australia, for a three-race weekend that would bring new fans to see what this series is capable of. The venue, the Clipsail 500 road course, over two miles in length that would be set up with the signature metal ramps to let these trucks fly and flex. Gordon was there along with some of the regulars that were running the last two seasons, including Traxxas teammates Keegan Kincaid and Sheldon Creed. In addition, some Australian faithful were making their debuts in the series, as the 10-driver field welcomed four Aussie’s into the fold: Matty Mingay, Toby Price, Brad Gallard and Nathan Pretty.
For the first race, the starting line-up was inverted from how drivers finished the final practice of the afternoon, meaning Creed and Kincaid would be starting out back. But, everyone seemed to be keeping a close eye on another driver that had much success on the asphalt a year ago.
That driver would be EJ Viso, the driver who become the only one to sweep a three-race weekend in the series, doing so last year in Detroit. He would start in the middle of the pack in sixth, but seemed to methodically work his way through the field. Viso needed to do so because the race would be a quick five-lap sprint, so every lap and every position counted even more.
He would do so with ease, but would be challenged by Gordon, and the two began to break away from the field to engage in their own battle to decide the winner. Viso would hold on and take the first win of 2015. Gordon maintained second, while Mingay would finish in third.
One day later, the same 10-driver field would get a much longer race, but what they also got was one incredible atmosphere to race in front of. The 14-turn course would draw over 80,000 fans to see these drivers fly and flex the trucks.
To say the pressure was on to live up to expectations was a very mild understatement.
The field would again be inverted at the start of this race, as they used the finishing order from the previous day to set the field. This meant Charles Dorrance and Pretty would hold the front row, while Viso and Gordon would get the back of the pack. However it seemed to be a good thing to start mid-pack, because the eventual winner had to start this race in the same spot as Viso did the previous day, but also make up for some unfortunate circumstances the day prior.
It was the young, but very aggressive Creed that would race hard to the front of the field, looking for the victory, and was not going to be denied. Meanwhile, Gordon was charging through the field just as aggressively and wanted to beat the young kid extremely hard.
Still, Creed’s aggressive style was more than enough to hold off the veteran, as he would see the checkered flag first. The win was especially gratifying as the previous day, he and Kincaid got into one another late in the race, relegating them off the podium. Gordon would take second, and once again Mingay would arrive on the podium for the second time in as many days.
And yet all this action was still leading up to a third day of action in Adelaide.
That final day would trump everything that was seen the previous two events, and possibly every event that was held the previous two years this series was held. Fans were getting the word out to everyone that this series was something to watch and experience. The first day saw just over 67,000 people attend the show. A day later another 13,000 people came out. For the final race of the weekend, a record-setting attendance figure of 93,600 people would pack in to see the final race of these trucks for the weekend. Promoters at the Clipsal 500 made it clear that no crowd was bigger than that as the attendance from a year ago was beat by nearly 10,000 more fans.
After all the repairs, all the tight racing, and all the intense action, it was only fitting to see these trucks do battle one final time to the roar of the fans.
The final race of the weekend would see the more action, and even more carnage than the previous two races combined. The battle out front would see Kincaid make his way through the field, while Gordon would have to start shotgun on the afternoon to try and make his way to the front. Creed would see himself in an intense battle with Mingay as the laps clicked off the board, and he made sure the fans would remember his name.
Out front, Kincaid would extend his lead to over two truck-lengths, more than enough to keep Gordon from getting the big victory. The real battle was for third as Creed and Mingay battled right to the final jump. Creed would come across the line a bit crossed up, but finished in the final podium spot. He would suddenly lose control and would end up on his side in spectacular fashion. However, he would have his truck put back on the wheels and got to celebrate with his competitors.
Many fans were in awe of what they had witnessed all weekend, with many saying they came to the show not for the F1 Series or any other reason except for the SST races. The season has gotten off to a phenomenal start, and it’s only just begun because this action now heads back to the U.S.
Up next on the schedule is a two-race weekend on March 28-29 as the series heads back to St. Peterburg, Florida as the trucks return for a second consecutive year at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Last year saw Gordon take a win in a rain-soaked afternoon, while PJ Jones would take the second event in much different conditions. Tickets are available for both events, so visit StadiumSuperTrucks.com for all the info leading into the weekend, and follow on Twitter (@SSuperTrucks) for more insight.