(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)
This time on “The Allen Report”, we travel to West Valley City, Utah, just a stone’s throw from Salt Lake City, for the sixth year in a row. It’s a city known for snowy mountains and home of hockey’s Utah Grizzlies and basketball’s Utah Jazz. But on this day, ten huge names in monster trucks were going full bore outdoors in the nineteenth annual Maverik Clash of the Titans at the motor race facility Rocky Mountain Raceways. Jimmy Creten was back again, ready to defend the clean sweep he got a year ago in his sleek Bounty Hunter Black n’ Yellow. Wife Dawn Creten was ready to give it all in her usual Scarlet Bandit. Trent Montgomery was in the house in Knucklehead, the official monster vehicle of metal band Five Finger Death Punch. Newcomer Brian Maes rounded out Team 2Xtreme Racing in Iron Outlaw. Larry Swim was looking to take the title back to St. Louis as the pilot of Firestone Bigfoot #18, with rookie Josh Gibson right behind in the classic bodied Retro Bigfoot #14. It was sophomore season at RMR for Doug Charles and his radical looking Wild Thang, complete with an emotional tribute to original owner, Tony Farrell on the side. Travis Groth was gearing up for the show in his bright orange Trouble Maker while twin brother Tyler was doing the same in his green Double Trouble. Finally, hometown driver Ron Duncombe was ready to give the fans a show in his Maverik Monster Trakker.
RMR is the only monster truck venue where figure-8 racing is the course on hand and it proved difficult for Tyler Groth, Josh Gibson and Jimmy Creten, all penalizing themselves for knocking down cones at some point in their qualifying runs. Larry Swim and Firestone Bigfoot didn’t have that problem though, taking the number one qualifying spot and handily dispensing Wild Thang in the first race of the night. The second heat in the first round saw the Groth twins race each other. Trouble Maker had the lead for the first three of the four corners, but a complete one-eighty coming out of the last one gave the win to his brother and Double Trouble. Josh Gibson had been fastest loser in both the first two rounds, but his luck finally ran out in the first semi-final round against veteran teammate Larry Swim. Bounty Hunter’s chances of a second clean sweep in back to back years came to a grinding halt in the other semi-final when teammate and protégé Trent Montgomery upset the former World Champion to meet Firestone Bigfoot in the 2 lap super final. Trent held nothing back, but Larry was unstoppable, taking the racing victory on Saturday night.
The first night of competition was closed with a customary wheelie contest. Wild Thang kicked things off with two great efforts that were rewarded with a score of 4.5 out of 10.0. Truck after truck came after him only to fall short until Retro Bigfoot came in and rode a wheelie perfectly vertical the length of half the main straightaway to garner an excellent score of 8.5. But the very next truck was a master of wheelies. Jim Creten rode out two straight up and down wheelstands that went on and on to get the crowd on its feet. The judges were impressed too, as Bounty Hunter was the new leader with a score of 9.7. Despite the best efforts of Knucklehead and Firestone Bigfoot, Jimmy Creten walked away with yet another wheelie contest victory.
Sunday was even more competitive, with the top three qualifiers separated by less than a second. In the second race of the night, Maverik Monster Trakker just barely squeaked past Iron Outlaw in a photo finish. In a rematch from the night before, Dawn Creten raced her husband in the middle quarter final. Also like Saturday night, Dawn was coming on strong but she ran out of racetrack, giving Bounty Hunter the win. Scarlet Bandit would still advance to the semis, however, as the fastest loser. The second semi-final was practically a final in itself. In one lane was the former World Champion Bounty Hunter. In the other was perennial favorite Larry Swim and Firestone Bigfoot. Jimmy Creten pushed as hard as he could, but just fell short to the member of the original monster truck team by less than a truck length. Larry and Bigfoot advanced to the super final, where Trent Montgomery and Knucklehead were there waiting. Unfortunately, on the first jump of the first lap, the rising star for 2Xtreme Racing suffered a broken right front planetary, leaving the track and surrendering the win and racing clean sweep to Firestone Bigfoot. It was later announced to the fans that this was the first time in the history of the event that a breakdown after the first of the super finals’ five jumps had ever happened.
Freestyle got off to a strong start when Travis Groth and Trouble Maker had good speed, nice sky wheelies and good donuts just before time ran out for a score of 31.25 out of 40.0. Double Trouble raised the bar even higher with wheelies, donuts, and hitting the car pyramid at the back straightaway of the oval to receive a 34.0. Jim Creten was only a few trucks later, and was on a roll with long wheelies, huge air, and smoke blowing donuts when his RPM’s went too high and his transmission let go with time still on the clock. Still, his score was good enough to take the lead at 34.75, less than a one point ahead of Double Trouble. But the very next run was by Trent Montgomery. A tough loss in the final round had the Knucklehead driver on a mission. The young gun showed he’s learning from the best in the business, with high speed, continuously hitting every obstacle and riding the limit without going over it to finish his time. The crowd roared when his score of 37.25 came over the loudspeaker, taking the lead with only one truck left to go. Larry Swim gave an honorable effort, but it wasn’t good enough to overtake the three year newcomer. Trent Montgomery got his first career win at Rocky Mountain Raceways in freestyle, bringing the win back to Tonganoxie, Kansas.
Next for us at “The Allen Report”, we will be coming to you from the WGAS productions at the Southern California Fair in Perris, CA. Look for more monster truck action in October. On that note, thank you for reading, a sincere thanks to the Rocky Mountain Raceway staff for their superb hospitality, enjoy the photos and cheer on!