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One Tour Concludes, Another Rolls on for Hot Wheels

No truck had better luck this past weekend than Tiger Shark on the Hot Wheels tour. FAN PHOTO: Louise Young

The first full weekend of February for the Hot Wheels Live experience in a sense was a continuation, and a culmination, of so many strong efforts over the last several weeks.

Across the ocean in Europe, the culmination meant the final stop of the Hot Wheels Europe tour, making the finale stop for a long, four show slate in Glasgow, Scotland, at the SSE Hydro.  In every sense of the word, it was the go-home weekend for the competition, because once the final show was done, the hardest work of the entire season would take place.

Before that happened, every team and truck was put through its paces one final time to see who would officially take home a Titan Cup.

Although the weekend began with Darron Schnell putting the all-blue Bigfoot #19 atop the heap, Rick Steffans showed why he has been the class of the field in Europe, as he swept both Saturday events plus added a Sunday trophy to boot.  His three Titan Cup championships over the weekend meant that overall, he was the Titan of the European leg of Hot Wheels Monster Trucks Live.  No other team won more competitions, and Titan Cups, than Steffans.  The chassis the amphibious cat body was bolted onto is none other than Samson, a name in the monster truck industry that has lasted over three decades, and continues on with Steffans carrying the torch.

Now, he heads back home as the Titan, and many experiences to remember.

The teams have already began the difficult part of not only loading the haulers with all the trucks, parts, and made the drive to the shore in England.  The longest part, however, is not the flights back home, although having to deal with jet lag certainly won’t be fun for any of the drivers or crew members.  However, the haulers were loaded onto cargo ships, and they must cross the Atlantic Ocean before making their respective trips back to their home bases.

Until then, the teams certainly are bringing back a lot of great stories to tell their families.

TITAN CUP CHAMPIONS:  SSE Hydro-Glasgow, Scotland

  • Friday:  Darron Schnell, Bigfoot
  • Saturday Afternoon:  Rick Steffans, Tiger Shark
  • Saturday Night:  Rick Steffans, Tiger Shark
  • Sunday:  Rick Steffans, Tiger Shark

 

On the mainland, the U.S. Tour went from being in Texas to heading east, making a stop in the Peach State, for a two event day in Albany, GA, in the Albany Civic Center.

The week leading up to the show was not easy for any team, especially for the Bigfoot camp, who had to make the drive from Texas to home base in Missouri to fix some broken parts on Hot Wheels Racing 1 of Christian Norman.  From bent and broken shocks to driveline, the team had to somehow make a quick turnaround.  With a Saturday slate ahead, it seemed the team had a lot of time, but the reality was, the amount of work needing done literally could take an entire week, and the team would likely arrive late to get the truck ready.

That was not the case as the Hot Wheels Raptor was torn down, with the entire front end of the chassis tore away from the cradle forward missing as of Wednesday morning.  However, the entire team went hands-on, from former driver and current VP of Operations, Dan Runte, to Bob Trent, and even Dave Radzierez, who is driving Bigfoot #21 for the winter.

In just two days, the truck was repaired as if it was brand new, and the team made it in plenty of time to be ready for the first Crash Zone of the weekend.  With teammate Rodney Tweedy at his side in the Retro Bigfoot, the original team was hoping to get back on track after being shut out the prior weekend.

Both made a strong effort to start the afternoon show in the wheelie competition, but the resident hot rod of the Hot Wheels Tour, Cody Holman in Bone Shaker, soared so high and far the rear of the chassis landed over halfway into the car stack at each hit.  Needless to say, Holman opened the weekend with a victory.

The donut competition at this point in the year is more of a hope that something will go wrong with Steven Snellen’s truck, because the V8 Bomber is a cyclone psycho and he continued his undefeated streak on the year with yet another excellent set of smoky donuts.

Cody’s dad, Bobby, then decided to get in on the fun and not only took yet another long jump win, but then followed it after intermission with another racing win.  Freestyle still remained, and no team was wanting to leave anything to chance, so each let it all hang out.

But, the Bone Shaker made the biggest noise on the afternoon, taking home the freestyle championship.  With both father and son having a pair of wins, it came down to points to determine the afternoon Titan Cup champion, and this time it fell to the way of youth, and the Bone Shaker would take home the trophy to start the day’s festivities.

SATURDAY AFTERNOON:  Albany Civic Center-Albany, GA

  • Wheelies:  Cody Holman, Bone Shaker
  • Donuts:  Steven Snellen, V8 Bomber
  • Long Jump:  Bobby Holman, Tiger Shark
  • Racing Champion:  Bobby Holman, Tiger Shark
  • Freestyle:  Cody Holman, Bone Shaker
  • TITAN CUP CHAMPION:  Cody Holman, Bone Shaker

 

Teams had to do a fast turnaround because two shows in one day, much like the prior weekend, are never easy.  Trying to make needed repairs or adjustments to the trucks, along with the track crew having to move out all the flattened junk cars in order to make room for the fresh victims all is hard to accomplish in just a few hours.

How the crews do it behind the scenes is astonishing, because by the time the evening program came about, it was as though it was a new day and nothing was out of the ordinary.

For those in attendance, especially those that decided to double their experience and attend both events, the night started off eerily similar to the afternoon.

Through the first three competitions, the exact same results as the afternoon took place.  The Holmans took wheelies and long jump, Cody and Bobby, respectively.  Snellen locked down the donut competition, and it was almost as if the movie Groundhog Day was taking place once again, just with no Bill Murray nor a pesky critter trying to predict a long winter or an early spring.

But, after intermission, it was a different truck that began making noise, one that was shut out in the earlier show, but made a commitment to not leave Georgia empty handed.

In racing, Derick Anson finally broke his way to victory, making his way through the bracket and took home the first big win of the night in the Demo Derby Cadillac, leaving the Titan Cup truly up for grabs for everyone.  However, he was not satisfied with just one win; he wanted to double up and take the Cup home to Kentucky.

Anson would not let the fans down, because he used every ounce of concrete available, from the cars, the van, donuts and skying the truck across the floor.  Freestyle…was his, and at night’s end, so was the Titan Cup.

SATURDAY NIGHT:  Albany Civic Center-Albany, GA

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

 

With the trucks that competed in Europe already on the ship heading home, the U.S. Tour now is the main focus.  That also means a reunion with hosts Freddie Sheppard and Ken Navitsky.

That reunion will take place up north, as the tour now heads to Illinois.  In the shadow of the Windy City, it’s a two-day extravaganza at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates from February 15-16.  Tickets are still available, and based on the turnout from a year ago, it will be another packed weekend of competition.

Hot Wheels Monster Trucks Live continues on, so get those tickets and see the toys come to life.

About Dustin Parks

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