As the sun began to rise over the Indiana State Fairgrounds, fans of the 4-Wheel Jamboree knew the season was coming to a close. Friday’s action began the final weekend of the year for Family Events, and saw the two best teams lead the way.
Mark Hall powered his way to his first jamboree victory of the season, but Larry Swim in Bigfoot #18 finished in the runner-up spot, padding his lead over teammate Dan Runte.
The unique and quick “hitch and go” design track proved to be a challenge on the asphalt, but entering the Saturday afternoon program, everything was proving to be a challenge. Heavy overnight rain fell across Indiana, and it made the entire infield rather slick. Fans didn’t know how the conditions would be by the time the afternoon racing program would begin, and as the rain drops continued falling in the morning, everyone wondered if the day was a wash.
As the morning progressed, however, things started to ease up. By the time the 12:30 racing program had began, the only thing that remained was cloud cover, with possibly a very slight mist.
Finally, the crowd got to see the big boys with their big toys go into action, and things would get very interesting in the opening round. The Hall Brothers would fire two dead-on bullets in their rounds of racing. Hall would take down Josh Gibson in the Retro Bigfoot, but more importantly teammate Mat Dishman would defeat Swim in his bracket. That win held Swim to only 40 points for the race, opening the door for Runte to possibly close the gap.
He would work his way to the finals in his special “Charlie’s Angels” Summit Bigfoot after taking out Steve Koehler in the opening round, and then Hall in the semi-finals after the Raminator caught the second turning car, nearly putting the Ram Heavy Duty on it’s side.
The Hall Brothers vs. Foot battle would come down to the final jump, and it ultimately would stir up a bit of controversy.
Both Runte and Dishman launched hard, and took the first birm side-by-side. Each nailed the throttle to the final tabletop, and at the line it seemed as though it was a near dead heat. At first, officials thought Runte won it, while others on the opposite side said Dishman won it. Lead official Lee Collins had to rely on photographers to get a view of the finish line, and when they found the perfect shot, it was determined that the red Ram was victorious. Bigfoot crew members thought otherwise, but when they saw the photos as well, it was difficult to determine if they felt Runte was to the line first.
The victory for Dishman improved his position in the points, but for Runte all was not lost. His runner-up finish put him a single round back from Swim, with still one race to go.
Not only that, but when freestyle was run for the afternoon program, it was Runte that the fans felt put on the best run in the infield. Not a bad way for the Bigfoot team to end the second full program on the weekend.
- ROUND 1: Avenger def. XDP; Rammunition def. Lucas Oil Bigfoot; Raminator def. Retro Bigfoot; Summit Bigfoot def. The General
- SEMI-FINALS: Rammunition def. Avenger; Summit Bigfoot def. Raminator
- FINALS: Rammunition def. Summit Bigfoot
Teams had a lot of time to prepare for the evening show, as repairs were under way. The Avenger team worked to fix a broken axle, while the Bigfoot team worked to get steering fixed on Swim’s machine. The Ram teams both had to adjust suspension and level out the trucks thanks to some tweaked sway bars.
The Saturday evening program was strictly freestyle, and the names of the game on this night were breakage and big moments.
Both came courtesy right away thanks to Dave Radzierez in XDP, who on his initial hit skied the diesel-powered Ford to the sky, and on landing the left-rear tire broke away from the truck. The damage was extensive, all stemming from a broken champagne knuckle, which in turn tore off a steering ram, and snapped an axle. The yellow and black Ford was pulled from the track, knowing that the night would see a lot of hard work.
Runte’s run would end early as well, but it was because of the front end, as a hard nose-first landing snapped a tie-rod.
The other six drivers, they would go hard with their own unique style. Gibson showcased that a 10,000-pound, four-wheel drive beast is very capable of doing a four-wheel drift, and Swim showed that he could come back from breakage and drive with vengeance.
One driver not unfamiliar with big moments was Jim Koehler in Avenger, as both in the afternoon and evening he would show he wasn’t a two-time freestyle world champion for no reason.
What made the evening show rather interesting is that despite a strong run, some people felt that someone else deserved to win. That would be Hall in the Raminator. In what could be his best run in the all-new #12 chassis since it’s debut, the black Ram was spinning donuts, clearing the big center gap jump with ease, skying towards the stars with each hit, and still have power in reserve to run even more.
Officials determined that Koehler would be the one to win on this night, while many others felt it was Hall that should have taken the victory.
And now, we’re down to not only one final day of the weekend, but one final event of the season.
All eight teams will not hold back knowing that after Sunday’s show, the season is over. There’s no reason to hold back now, and each driver will be on full-tilt. Someone will walk away with the Monster Truck Thunder Drags championship. Will Swim lock it up? Can Runte sneak in and steal it away? Will the Halls shock everyone and grasp it from everyone?
The final program of the year begins at 3 p.m. Watch for updates from the jamboree on Facebook, along with TheMonsterBlog.com. Visit 4WheelJamboree.com to look back at the weekend of action, and begin preparing for next year’s season.