The Allen Report: WGAS Monster Truck Tour – Del Mar/Pomona, CA 2011

(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

The 4th of July is always an important date on the modern calendar and monster trucks are about as American as they come. That is why six of the best monsters this side of the Mississippi River arrived for the annual show at the San Diego County Fair in Del Mar, California, followed by the KaBoom show at the Fairplex in Pomona, California. The six combatants are Jimmy Creten and Bounty Hunter, Darren Migues in Iron Outlaw and the father and son duo Rick and Eric Swanson in Obsession and Obsessed. Kelvin Ramer drove Time Flys while Hog Wild ride truck owner Bob Johnson and Chris Etchison shared driving duties in Fired Up.

For three days and two shows a day, the monsters made the Chevrolet Del Mar Arena their stomping grounds. The first day saw decent efforts, but Jimmy Creten had his cyclones down pat and took both shows that day. Business picked up tremendously on the second day when Darren announced through amazing runs that he would lay down to no one, his teammate included. With just a few points separating the two halves of 2Xtreme Racing, the final day saw sold out shows in both the afternoon and evening. In the end, the win was awarded to the Bounty Hunter, having a perfect six-for-six record to wrap up the Del Mar shows for another year.

Independence Day was celebrated with exactly those same monsters at the packed Fairplex in Pomona. The show opened with the high-flying, death-defying Freestyle Motocross riders, including Nikki Danielson and Jimmy Fitzpatrick of the famous Metal Mulisha doing what they do best, despite a close encounter with Mother Nature’s fury. Roundy-Round racing saw Eric Swanson in Obsessed take down Fired Up, but the end for him in racing came when Iron Outlaw, who had knocked off Time Flys, defeated him to take on Bounty Hunter in the finals. Jimmy Creten crossed the finish line first, but in the process, he hit a turning pole handing the win to Migues in Iron Outlaw. However, even that could not stop him from literally jumping over his own team truck to finish freestyle. As always, fireworks closed the incredible KaBoom event.

During the weekend, Kelvin Ramer said he is building a yet to be named third truck that, like Time Flys, will be a 1934 Ford Coupe. However, the body will be roofless and the nose will be slanted banana style. Until next time, thank you for reading, enjoy Jim Allen’s great photos, and a big thanks to John Borba and WGAS Motorsports for their hospitality. Cheer on!

All content copyright 2011.

TMB TV: Highlights – Monster X Tour – Chico, CA 2011

Event: Monster X Tour
Venue: Silver Dollar Speedway
Location: Chico, California
Date: April 8th-9th, 2011
Videographer: Colby Marshall

Lineup: California Kid (Garrett Ladelle), Fired Up (TJ Etchison), Rock Star (Bill Payne), Time Flys (Kelvin Ramer), Titan (Donald Epidendio) [Read more…]

TMB TV: Original Series Episode 4.5 – Chico, CA 2011

Event: Monster X Tour
Venue: Silver Dollar Speedway
Location: Chico, California
Date: April 8th-9th, 2011
Host: Ross Z. Bonar
Videographers: Colby Marshall, Kaedon Berry

Lineup: California Kid (Garrett Ladelle), Fired Up (TJ Etchison), Rock Star (Bill Payne), Time Flys (Kelvin Ramer), Titan (Donald Epidendio) [Read more…]

Monster Photos: Monster X Tour – Chico, CA 2011

Event: Monster X Tour
Venue: Silver Dollar Speedway
Location: Chico, California
Date: April 8th-9th, 2011
Photographer: Ross Z. Bonar

Lineup: California Kid (Garrett Ladelle), Fired Up (TJ Etchison), Rock Star (Bill Payne), Titan (Donald Epidendio), Time Flys (Kelvin Ramer) [Read more…]

Monster X Tour Rocks Chico’s Silver Dollar Speedway

The Monster X Tour invaded Chico, California this past weekend and was on hand for all the action, the tour’s and our first outdoor event of 2011. Some of the biggest names from the West Coast would battle it out in wheelie, racing, and freestyle competitions, including the Monster Truck Mafia’s Rock Star and California Kid, this year’s breakout star Donald Epidendio in Titan and California superstars Time Flys and Fired Up.

Friday night’s action would begin with a with a 2 hit wheelie contest as each truck would hit a 6 car stack then swing around to a slap wheelie bump. It was Garrett Ladelle in California Kid setting the bar with a nice vertical wheelie and slap wheelie to start the competition. After efforts from rookie T.J. Etchison in Fired Up and Kelvin Ramer in Time Flys, Donald Epidendio would come out and raise the bar with a massive vertical sky wheelie on the car stack and though he missed a slap wheelie the first time, an impromptu hit on the van stack would provide the bounce needed for a huge slap wheelie. Finally, Bill Payne would bring his new Rock Star out for its first hit outdoors. Payne jammed the brakes before the car and matted Rock Star, ultimately sending the truck past vertical and onto its roof. Bill would wait for the truck to be flipped back over and deliver a quick freestyle to the fan’s delight, giving Rock Star the wheelie contest win.

Bill Payne in Rock Star wins the Friday wheelie contest with a wild past vertical effort and rollover.

Racing would be tricky as the Monster X Tour crew created a challenging over-under, figure 8 track. In past over-under tracks, the chances of one monster jumping over another were slim to none. This over-under was the exactly the opposite which created some exciting, but tense moments. Each truck would start at the base of each lane, putting one truck right above another much to the delight of the Chico fans. The final round would come down to teammates Garrett Ladelle in California Kid and Bill Payne in Rock Star. Payne would bobble in the final turn, handing the win to Garrett in the Kid who laid down a flawless pass. Garrett was particularly excited about the win as it came on the one year anniversary of the first time he ever drove a monster truck.

Garrett Ladelle celebrates his one year anniversary of his first time driving a monster truck by taking a big racing win.

The final competition of Friday’s show would be freestyle and all drivers let it hang out. Right out of the gate, it was California Kid getting wild and almost sending the truck end over end followed by Kelvin Ramer with some big air in Time Flys. Next out was Donald Epidendio in Titan in one of the best runs TMB has seen in quite some time. Donald launched Titan off of every obstacle, rocked some sick cyclones in the mud, and some great vertical wheelies to the roaring approval of the fans. Knowing he had to go big, Bill Payne only made it three hits into his run before a 3/8’’ bolt let go in the driveline, ending his run short and leaving the freestyle title to Epidendio in Titan.

Donald Epidendio lays down one of the better runs we've seen in a long time to give Titan the Friday night freestyle win.

The weekend finale on Saturday night started out with one of the best collective wheelie contests that TMB has seen in some time. It all came down once again to Titan and Rock Star, as Titan was again vaulted past-vertical into the 5th car of the 6 car set and drove the truck to an insane one wheeled slap wheelie. Payne once again rolled Rock Star over backward and followed up with a quick freestyle after being turned over. In a questionable call, it was Payne in Rock Star getting the win to sweep both wheelie contests on the weekend based on the rollovers and freestyles while Epidendio had the most impressive efforts.

Absolutely jaw-dropping effort from Titan as Epidendio puts it up in a one wheeled slap wheelie.

Racing would see the same two drivers continue to battle it out as Payne and Epidendio won their respective races to meet in the finals. After a close start, Epidendio would bobble in the turn and Payne would make a flawless run to take the victory.

Donald Epidendio had the edge at the start but it was Bill Payne taking the Saturday racing win.

The final competition of the weekend would be freestyle. Teammates TJ Etchison and Kelvin Ramer would both perform nice donuts and wheelies and Garrett Ladelle in California Kid would pose a formidable run before the transmission went out. Again, Donald Epidendio would pilot Titan to a high-energy and big air filled run to the roaring approval of the Chico fans, but it was Payne in Rock Star that would come out with an insane run, ultimately ending in a backwards rollover after pile driving the backside of the over-under jump.

Bill Payne in Rock Star putting together an incredible run Saturday night to win the last competition of the weekend.

A big thanks goes out to Danny Torgerson and the Monster X Tour staff for their hospitality and having the TMB crew on hand for their first outdoor show of the season! Stay tuned for a full photo gallery from TMB’s Ross Z. Bonar this week and don’t miss all the action from the weekend on TMB TV’s Original Series featuring incredible footage from Colby Marshall and Kaedon Berry. Episode 4.5 from Chico will debut on Wednesday, April 27th at 8PM eastern time with all the weekend’s monster truck competitions as well as some extras you won’t want to miss!

Video of the Week – 03/26/11

Week Ending: March 26th, 2011
Truck(s) Featured: Kids Choice Awards 2011 Monster Truck (Kelvin Ramer)
Video Type: Fan Video

Description: In one of the coolest monster truck promotions in recent memory, Kelvin Ramer’s Fired Up monster truck has been turned into the Kids’ Choice Awards 2011 monster truck and will be performing stunts and be featured in the upcoming Nickelodeon event. Seen here is a promo for the event.

Jim & Christopher Allen’s Del Mar / Pomona Coverage

TMB is always proud to bring you great coverage from our friends out west, Jim and Christopher Allen, and this week that means lots of great photos and all the details from the 2010 Del Mar and Pomona, California events. Check the coverage out below and thanks to Jim and Chris for another job well done:

“Once again WGAS Motorsports invited teams of monster trucks to perform at Del Mar California’s San Diego County Fairgrounds and the fan favorite July 4th “KaBoom!” in Pomona. The teams were “Living the Dream Racing’s” own “Time Flys” and “Fired Up” driven by Kelvin Ramer and Justin Cluster, both “Obsession” and “Obsessed” with Rick Swanson and Eric Swanson behind the wheels and representatives of “2Xtreme Racing” in the form of Russell Steeley in “Iron Outlaw” and Jim Creten, as always, driving “Bounty Hunter”.

Shout-outs go to Ron Johnson in his old school monster truck, the T-C Pig Ranch sponsored “Hog Wild”, who had some t-shirts to give away and Jake Blackwell’s awesome ride truck, the Thrasher Racing owned “Extinguisher” , who gave rides to fans young and old all weekend long.

The first monster out was “Fired Up” and his freestyle performance set the stage as each driver tried to top the next. Rick Swanson showed why he was the Undisputed Champion from this event one year ago, doing very nice cyclones and rarely laying off the throttle; so much in fact, that steam was coming from the engine area as “Obsession” left the arena. Russell Steeley put Iron Outlaw through its paces, not stopping until everything on the track was hit. However, during the second show of the day he took the big mountain in the middle of the floor, hard broke the right front wheel off and rolled over slowly. Kelvin Ramer was up next and drove over every obstacle, finishing his final run in the evening show with a cyclone with his hands out the window. But the potential winner possibility goes to the former World Champion in Bounty Hunter, using tons of pure horsepower over every jump, getting great air and continuing long after the 90 second time period. It was a great first day in Del Mar.

For the final day of monster trucks in Del Mar, the first afternoon show was racing only and the second afternoon show was freestyle only. Since only five trucks were competing, this created an interesting race bracket. “Bounty Hunter” would automatically be seeded into the semi-finals. Two winners of the heats would join him along with the fastest loser. From there, two finalists would advance and a racing champion would be crowned succeeding that race.

WGAS officials created a Chicago style race course with the finish lines on top of each trucks’ respective starting jumps. In the opening round, fan favorite Kelvin Ramer in “Time Flys” took out his own teammate, “Fired Up” driven by Justin Cluster to advance to the semi-finals and a shot at Jim Creten and “Bounty Hunter”. In the other quarter-final race, 14 year old Eric Swanson with “Obsessed” was on his way to victory over his own father in the team truck when he aver drove the final turn. Rick swapped trucks and raced “Obsessed” for the remainder of the racing show.

The top half of the semis would see a close race between the former Monster Jam World Champion Jim Creten and the driver of the 1934 Ford, Kelvin Ramer. It was close, but the win goes to “Bounty Hunter” after Ramer spent too much time in the air over the second jump. Fastest loser “Fired Up” was denied a second shot at the championship round after following “Obsessed” across the finish line. The final race was dead even until the final turn when Jim Creten pulled away for the racing trophy.

The final show from Del Mar for the year would be the only time freestyles were scored. Eric Swanson, back in “Obsessed”, got some great air with a sky wheelie and was in the middle of his first donut when he hit one of the racing ramps, breaking the bead on the left rear tire, flattening it. The judges gave him a 14 out of a possible 40. The “Fired Up” driver continued to with the freestyle competition and took the lead with a 28 point score. Next came “Time Flys” and “Obsession”, both of which hit all of the obstacles and took the lead with a score of 38.5. But there was a former Freestyle champion in the house, and he hit everything the track threw at him and got the undisputed big air of the weekend. He missed the perfect score by just one point, but it was enough to get back on the winner’s stage at Del Mar.

What better way to celebrate Independence Day than with five of the top monster trucks in the world? But not just monster trucks, also on hand were four high-flying, death defying FMX riders including Jimmy Fitzpatrick as the sole representative of the infamous Metal Mulisha. Finally, the “KaBoom!” tradition continues with a fireworks display as the grand finale.

The five trucks competing in Chicago-style racing and freestyle on some of the biggest obstacles Pomona monster truck fans have ever seen include Kelvin Ramer with “Time Flys” and the teams of “Obsession Racing” with Eric Swanson behind the wheel of “Obsessed” along with his father Rick driving “Obsession” and the “2Xtreme Racing” trucks of Iron Outlaw driven by Nick Owens and Jim Creten, as always, behind the wheel of Bounty Hunter. Before the monsters hit the track, some of the FMX riders performed amazing airborne stunts including back flips.

As “Time Flys” got the bye in the racing bracket and would wait to race until the semi-finals and would take on the winner of the first heat in Round 1. A fast loser would also advance and face the winner of the second heat of Round 1, making a four truck competition in the semi finals. From there, a standard four truck bracket was in place. All hopes of Eric Swanson avenging his loss to his father in Del Mar were dashed as he took the last turn too wide and “Bounty Hunter” showed who was boss in the second heat against his team truck, “Iron Outlaw”. “Obsession” would move to the finals as Kelvin Ramer made the same mistake as Eric during the run of “Time Flys”. The next scheduled race was the rematch Nick Owens wanted with the Bounty Hunter, but it never happened as a problem with the RII prevented Iron Outlaw from making it to the starting line and forfeiting the race. WGAS officials went straight to the finals between “Bounty Hunter” and “Obsession”. “Bounty Hunter” was too fastest and crossed the finish line first and was the racing champion.

Freestyle featured both the small jumps from racing, two additional wheelie obstacles, two sets of motor homes, a large single jump and a HUGE double jump. There was also a “concession stand” on the dirt arena. That’s correct, a concession stand! Iron Outlaw put on an excellent opening freestyle. Eric Swanson emerged next, and got some huge air over the double jump. He earned a 35 out of a possible 40 for his efforts. Rick wanted to keep up the momentum but the transmission had other ideas, breaking an input shaft after just a single jump. “Time Flys” earned a perfect 40 from the judges, but Jim Creten had other ideas about who would be the victor. He hit every obstacle and did some great wheelies and donuts. He then hit the concession stand setting off the first fireworks of the evening. The crowd’s ovation left no doubt as to who was the winner. Scores were never given for “Bounty Hunter”, but Jim didn’t care. No fan was sitting down as Jim had done what he needed to do.

WGAS creator and primary promoter John Borba was on hand, and was told by an anonymous fan that this was the best freestyle motocross and monster truck show the fan had ever seen. Fans were then treated to a great 4th of July fireworks show. Thank you for reading, enjoy the photos, and cheer on.” – Christopher Allen



Monster Truck Show – Del Mar, CA – 07/02-03/10

Event:  Monster Truck Show
Venue:   San Diego County Fairgrounds
Location:  Del Mar, California
Date:  July 2nd-3rd, 2010
Photographer:  Jim Allen

Lineup:  Bounty Hunter (Jimmy Creten), Fired Up (Justin Cluster), Iron Outlaw (Russell Steeley), Obsession (Rick Swanson), Obsessed (Jeff Jones), Time Flys (Kelvin Ramer) [Read more…]