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Bigfoot Teammates Have Successful Second Week for Hot Wheels

A full field in Poland and in Texas welcomed huge crowds for Hot Wheels. FAN PHOTO-Edyta Janc

Having to handle one weekend of events on the Hot Wheels tour is hard enough, but last weekend was the first time the entire Hot Wheels Monster Trucks Live crew decided to take a gamble and do not just a tour on U.S. soil, but also in Europe.

The results:  packed grandstands on both sides of the ocean, fans begging to have more opportunities to see competition, and extremely happy teams for being able to provide excellent competition for those fans.

One week was fun, but that was only the beginning.  The second week of the 2020 tour meant another pair of weekend shows on both sides of the Atlantic.  Over in Europe, the six-truck field made a journey over to the Atlas Arena in Lodz, Poland, for a four-show stanza that would test the ability of all the trucks and drivers.  Meanwhile, on the homeland, the Hot Wheels tour had sort of a homecoming, coming back to the first arena they ever performed in.  It came full circle as the Bert Ogden Arena in Edinburg, Texas, welcomed another three-show weekend to mark the one-year anniversary of the tour officially hitting the road.

But, it was the European tour that got the opening act as all weekend, the large floor in the Atlas Arena gave each truck an opportunity to run hard, and also test out some new skills and equipment.  Josh Holman, the Bone Shaker on the Europe tour, was still dialing in his new chassis, but his teammate Rick Steffens was showing the Tiger Shark was taking a bite.

He had such a successful weekend that he swept the donut competitions, and also swept both of Saturday’s Titan Cups.

Meanwhile, the big story was the increased ability of the newest driver in the Bigfoot fleet, Rebecca Schnell.  Each event she has shown increased confidence as she was slinging the #15 chassis, carrying the namesake Hot Wheels Racing 1 colors, in donuts and skying the truck in both wheelies and freestyle.  Although she has yet to take home a Titan Cup, her time appears to be coming sooner than expected.

Her husband, Darron, has shown her some tips, but he also was showing why he loves driving the #19 chassis for Bigfoot, carrying the all-blue colors proudly.  His weekend meant a pair of Titan Cups to his name, and a couple freestyle victories.

It appears the tour in Europe is picking up a lot of momentum, as more fans are coming to the arenas and are enjoying the value that they are getting.

TITAN CUP CHAMPIONS:  Atlas Arena, Lodz, Poland

  • Friday:  Darron Schnell, Bigfoot
  • Saturday Afternoon:  Rick Steffens, Tiger Shark
  • Saturday Evening:  Rick Steffens, Tiger Shark
  • Sunday:  Darron Schnell, Bigfoot

 

Back on the home land, the six-truck field was ready for action beginning on Saturday afternoon, and things got started quickly in the wheelie competition.  Each truck hammered hard, but Derick Anson skied the Demo Derby Cadillac nearly across the entire car stack in both directions to pick up his first win of the day.

For fans thinking things may be different when the donut contest began, they instead got a familiar sight.  Despite some strong efforts by the Hot Wheels Racing 1 machine of Christian Norman and the retro Bigfoot of Rodney Tweedy, it was the V8 Bomber once again showing why it is the master of the cyclone, as Steven Snellen once again held the wheel out the window to take yet another donut contest on the year, keeping him undefeated in that category.

The long jump is where things got interesting as it was the old guard of Bobby Holman in the Tiger Shark that soared over and above the competition, meaning on the afternoon it was three different winners, and the Titan Cup was still up in the air.

When the racing portion of the event began, that clarity was still rather murky.

Snellen took his army green square body to the finals in racing, but ultimately wound up just short of victory.  Instead, Cody Holman made the Bone Shaker roar to life to take home the win, and with four different drivers now claiming victories, it was coming down to just freestyle to determine who was taking home the Cup.

This show belonged to the square body as Snellen brought the crowd to it’s feet with a great performance, hitting every obstacle on the track and also making sure every inch of the concrete was seeing some rubber laid down.  That performance gave him the freestyle victory, and in doing so brought home the Titan Cup to the V8 Bomber.

SATURDAY AFTERNOON-Edinburg, TX:

  • Wheelies:  Derick Anson, Demo Derby
  • Donuts:  Steven Snellen, V8 Bomber
  • Long Jump:  Bobby Holman, Tiger Shark
  • Racing Finals:  Cody Holman, Bone Shaker, def. Steven Snellen, V8 Bomber
  • Freestyle:  Steven Snellen, V8 Bomber
  • TITAN CUP CHAMPION:  Steven Snellen, V8 Bomber

 

During the time the drivers were signing autographs for the afternoon crowd, the track crews were getting ready to move the destroyed iron out of the arena, and bring in some fresh metal for the Saturday night performance.

All the trucks were ready to go for the second performance of the weekend.  But, the biggest stories that were to come were ones courtesy of a classic-looking truck, and also the afternoon racing champion.

Tweedy got the responsibility of representing the Bigfoot team with his classic 1979 body on the Hot Wheels tour, but last weekend his experience came to a quick halt.  During the evening performance on Saturday, he shut his truck down during donuts and slowly made his way to the pits.  It ended up that the Ford engine in the #14 chassis was on the brink of failure, and he shut it down to hopefully not cause major damage.  Since the show wasn’t far from the Bigfoot shop, the team brought in the #21 chassis with A.J. Straatmann at the wheel, while they loaded Tweedy’s truck onto the hauler.

Back at the shop, the damage done was worse than expected, and Tweedy showed on his Instagram and Facebook one of the pistons that came out of the engine, completely destroyed.  So, prior to the trip to Texas, his truck got a newer engine installed, and also had a backup just in case.

After shaking it down in the afternoon, Tweedy started things off right in the evening performance, launching the old-school body to a wheelie contest victory.

Snellen decided to double up on the night as he again took the donut contest, but then followed it up with a long jump victory to get a leading edge on the Titan Cup standings.  At the same time, during the donut contest, the Bone Shaker did not perform as well as it could have, and soon enough, it was made aware that they too were not going to make it back.

Father and son went to work, along with the rest of the crews, to diagnose the issue.  Turns out, the issue was a lot worse than anticipated.

The Bone Shaker was officially sidelined for not just the night, but the remainder of the weekend, as a cracked crankshaft in the block meant a long trip back to Ohio for a new power plant to be installed.

Meanwhile, hoping to make up for not being able to perform for the home-state fans a week ago, Tweedy was finding his groove in what is the oldest competing Bigfoot truck in the fleet.  The #14 chassis debuted back in 1994, meaning for 26 years it has been running hard and taking wins.  On this night, Tweedy was adding his name to the list of victors as he would make it to the finals, taking down Anson, and then followed it up with a very solid, and very fast, freestyle performance.

His three wins on the night meant he was the class of the field, and for the first time this season, the Titan Cup officially belonged to the “Original Monster Truck.”

SATURDAY NIGHT-Edinburg, TX:

  • Wheelies:  Rodney Tweedy, Bigfoot
  • Donuts:  Steven Snellen, V8 Bomber
  • Long Jump:  Steven Snellen, V8 Bomber
  • Racing Finals:  Rodney Tweedy, Bigfoot, def. Derick Anson, Demo Derby
  • Freestyle:  Rodney Tweedy, Bigfoot
  • TITAN CUP CHAMPION:  Rodney Tweedy, Bigfoot

 

With so much time in between competitions heading into the final day, it gave every team a chance to get things tightened up and ready for action.  It also meant one truck wasn’t going to make it out of the pits.  The Bone Shaker was parked for the final Crash Zone at the entrance to the arena, just outside the hot pits, with caution tape to keep the crowd away as the flat black hot rod was not going to make the Sunday performance.  However, Cody still signed autographs for the fans, knowing that they are the reason he is a second-generation driver.

The remainder of the field was ready for action, and with this being the final show of the weekend, there was no holding back in this instance.  It was all or nothing for every team.

After not getting any wins through the first two events, Norman finally broke through in the wheelie competition as the Hot Wheels machine skied to the roof on both hits, something the #18 chassis has been able to do a lot, but on this day the crowd got on his side.

Both the donut and long jump competitions had familiar finishes, as both Snellen and Bobby Holman claimed another win in each category.  The Cup was still up in the air, but little did anyone know that the break for intermission would give a chance for one duo to ensure that trophy was returning.

In the racing finals, teammates Snellen and Anson squared off, but this time it was Snellen keeping the V8 Bomber low to the ground, and across the finish line to give him his first racing win on the weekend.  Meanwhile, Anson decided to make the Demo Derby scream as he drifted the red Cadillac across the floor and blasted every car stack that was left on the concrete.

That freestyle win also helped his teammate as Snellen, thanks to his pair of victories, would claim his second Titan Cup of the weekend, and finish off yet another successful round of competition for the Hot Wheels tour.

SUNDAY-Edinburg, TX:

  • Wheelies: Christian Norman, Hot Wheels Racing 1
  • Donuts:  Steven Snellen, V8 Bomber
  • Long Jump:  Bobby Holman, Tiger Shark
  • Racing Finals:  Steven Snellen, V8 Bomber, def. Derick Anson, Demo Derby
  • Freestyle:  Derick Anson, Demo Derby
  • TITAN CUP CHAMPION:  Steven Snellen, V8 Bomber

 

Another week is in the books, but another weekend awaits of competition, both here in the U.S. and abroad in Europe.  Across the Atlantic, the next stop for the European tour is going to be at the Royal Arena in Copenhagen, Denmark, for a three-show slate beginning on Friday.

At the same time, the U.S. tour heads north for it’s next stop, coming to the Wolstein Center in Cleveland, Ohio, for another three events.

This season is just beginning, but it is clear at this point Hot Wheels Monster Trucks Live has successfully drawn in the fans just as it did in its inaugural season.

About Dustin Parks

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