It was clear what every fan was waiting to see on the final day of the Indianapolis 4-Wheel Jamboree. There was no discussion of the weather, as all the rain that was in the area the previous two days had finally gone away. There was no talk of who would win the burnout contest.
There may be some talk among the guys as to who should win the Miss 4-Wheel Jamboree contest, but of all the topics, it was the final event that took the lead.
The Monster Truck Thunder Drags looked as though it was a lock for Team Bigfoot entering the weekend. However, the Hall Brothers were not going down without fighting for it. That is exactly what happened through the first two days of action.
Mat Dishman cut over half the lead that Larry Swim had built up through six events after his victory on Friday. Come Saturday, he went to victory lane again, pulling even with the team from Pacific, Missouri.
Sunday’s bracket would determine who would become the champion for the 2016 season, and things were made simple. The way to win the title for either team was to simply go farther than the other. It was made even simpler should the two meet up in the bracket. The one that wins, simply would be champion.
The sun had finally broke through for the last day of the weekend, and ultimately the season, and the seven-truck field was ready to attack the straight-line course one final time. Who would have thought that the drama already built up from the title picture would for a few moments be overshadowed.
In the semi-finals, it was Doug Noelke lined up against Dale Benear in the General Tire-sponsored Hall Brothers Racing truck. Off the line, both were even, but Benear had some troubles in the no-man’s land before the final jump. He tried to correct as best he could, but in the air the 11,000-pound beast took a twist, and when it landed spun hard right, rolling over and spinning on the roof. Gravity then worked as the truck came on the sidewalls, and slowly fell back onto the tires. The body was destroyed, but Benear himself was alright. The track crew would take some time to clean up the mess that remained, especially with what was coming.
Dishman drew the automatic bye from the first round. Meanwhile, Swim would end the day early for Mark Hall in the Raminator, denying Hall any victories on the Jamboree tour for 2016.
This was it. Some of the old-school fans were thinking back to the first world championship when it came down to one run between Bigfoot and USA-1, the original rivalry in the sport.
Swim was in the near lane. Dishman took to the far lane. Both drivers knew what was at stake; the crews were at the ready to watch. In the pits they would help one another whenever possible, but once the engines fired up, it was time to go.
Both trucks left the line hard, taking the roller with ease. Dishman had a slight edge, but took a slight bounce. Swim focused ahead, pouring on the power in the Lucas Oil Bigfoot #21. Dishman planted the HEMI to the floor, and both went to the final hill. Each truck went for it, and when the machines came to land, it was the defending champion that could say he is still the leader of the pack. When the first quarter of competition ended, Swim became the lead driver at Bigfoot due to Dan Runte deciding to walk away from a full-time schedule. He was given the duty of running the newest, and most radical, truck in the fleet, the truck that Runte piloted last season.
In just a few months, he became comfortable, and began winning. Now, he could head back to the shop knowing that he would take home the championship one more time.
And just to make sure that everyone would remember who the champion was, he would get a “glory run” as the term would be in the finals as despite Benear winning his race, he would clearly not make the call to the finals. Swim had the free pass to victory, closing out the racing season the same way he started it…victorious.
The final competition of the weekend let the drivers turn it loose on the track one final time in freestyle. All trucks wanted to make an impact, and did just that.
Vinny Venom, already having lost about 75 percent of his body, was once again putting Snake Bite through it’s paces. The final ride for the old chassis turned out to be a spectacular, wheelie filled, performance. The left bedside finally came loose but Venom still put his machine through it’s paces. However, it still wasn’t a winning run, despite Venom officially being the 2016 freestyle champion.
Hall would cut his usual donuts, but not enough for victory. Swim also had a strong run, as did Noelke, but all were for not.
Instead, it was the very first truck out the gate that would win, and it was a run that the team needed. The Vengeance Motorsports team, led by Denver Echternkamp, experienced all kinds of trouble at Indianapolis. Whether it was electrical, axles, or driveline, things just didn’t click. The truck, now seven months old, had some growing pains throughout the year, and anything that could happen at the final show in some way did.
Not when it came to Sunday’s performance.
Echternkamp would turn it loose, letting the Venom Chevrolet do a lot of talking, skying over the bus pyramid multiple times, clearing with the rear tires on each hit. The purple and white machine, with green accents, would continue to hit every obstacle, hill, and turn up dust in it’s path.
After a weekend of struggles, this event belonged to Vengeance Motorsports. It was the first big win for the team, and one that will surely be cherished as time passes.
- Round 1: Mat Dishman, Rammunition, BYE-RUN; Larry Swim, Lucas Oil Bigfoot, def. Mark Hall, Raminator; Doug Noelke, Tail Gator, def. Vinny Venom, Snake Bite; Dale Benear, General Tire, def. Denver Echternkamp, Venom.
- Semi-Finals: Dale Benear, General Tire, def. Doug Noelke, Tail Gator; Larry Swim, Lucas Oil Bigfoot, def. Mat Dishman, Rammunition.
- Finals: Larry Swim, Lucas Oil Bigfoot, BYE-RUN.
And so it ends. All the fans have since left to go to their homes, or if necessary their hotels to spend a final night away. The show trucks are loaded up and gone. Vendors have taken down their banners, displays, and parts. The swap meets have closed, and souvenir stands are torn down.
The monster teams, after signing hundreds of autographs, had to go into the process of tearing down the machines. For some, it meant many trucks, many filled haulers, and long rides back to the shop.
The 4-Wheel Jamboree season has concluded for this year, but Family Events still has one event remaining on the schedule. On October 22, the Monster Nationals tour will head to Wheatland, Missouri, to compete at the Lucas Oil Speedway. Last year this event saw a huge crowd to celebrate Bigfoot’s 40th anniversary, and also some carnage from the same team. Bigfoot, Snake Bite, and Raminator will all make the trip. But some fresh faces for this year will also be in attendance. Derick Anson will bring out his team trucks of Heavy Hitter and Dawg Pound, plus Devin Jones will load up the Barbarian Ford.
After that, it is a matter of waiting to find out how the indoor season will look for the folks at Family Events. Visit FamilyEvents.com to see all their listing of events, including their newest acquisition, the Sand Sports Super Show, and look for the reveal of the 2017 Monster Nationals indoor season very soon.
FINAL POINT STANDINGS
- Larry Swim-Lucas Oil Bigfoot, 1000 (points)
- Mat Dishman-Rammunition, 880
- Vinny Venom-Snake Bite, 760
- Mark Hall-Raminator, 720
- Dale Benear-The General, 600
- Doug Noelke-Tail Gator, 520
- Denver Echtenkamp-Venom, 440
- Dave Radzierez-XDP, 200
Special Thanks To (Entire 2016 Family Events Season):
Vengeance Motorsports-Denver & Angie Echternkamp
Big Dawg 4×4-Doug, Brenda & Pops Noelke
XDP-Michelle Simpson, Dave Radzierez
Bigfoot 4×4, Inc-Larry Swim, Dan Runte, Bob Trent
Snake Bite Racing-Vinny Venom, Colt Cobra
Hall Brothers Racing-Mat Dishman, Mike Miller, Dale Benear, Mark, Tim & June Hall
Safety & Track Coordination-Doc Riley, David Ante, Lee Collins, Paul Monroe
Marketing and Promotion-Jessica Kirchner, Leah Burdette, Emily Boden
Photography/Video-Katelin White, Jeff Luckey, Chris Parrish, Paul & Michael Harry