The Allen Report: Rocky Mountain Raceway Maverik Clash of the Titans 2017

(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

Weekend Recap

This time on “The Allen Report”, we hit the road back to Rocky Mountain Raceways in West Valley City, Utah, for the ninth consecutive year. Once again, we arrive to a stacked lineup of twelve well known monster trucks ready to do battle on the oval track’s figure-8 course, a track that has been equally tough on rising stars and experienced veterans alike.

Again this year all four members of 2Xtreme Racing came to take on each other, the competition and the track. Not surprisingly, Jimmy Creten took the controls of his trusty Bounty Hunter, complete with the original rendition of his popular and patriotic American Sniper Chris Kyle body. Dawn Creten was again at the helm of her trusty Scarlet Bandit. Mikeal Christensen came along to drive the prestigious Iron Outlaw truck. The fourth member of the equation, Knucklehead, had a different driver each of the two days, Austin Minton on Saturday and Christian Norman on Sunday.

Team Bigfoot returned to the Raceway after a year off with Larry Swim behind the wheel of Summit Bigfoot #21. But not far behind was the mysterious masked man Vinny Venom, recently crowned the 2017 Toughest Monster Truck Tour series champion, piloting Snake Bite. This version of the truck, hugely popular with the kids at the pre-show pit party, was a mixture of classic and current as the iconic “retro red” paint style remained from its 25th Anniversary tour one year ago, but the bedsides clearly showcased the sport’s recent trend of off road race truck bodies.

Back again was one of the father/daughter teams on the circuit as Darren Migues returned in his Nitro Menace truck with daughter Kaylyn in her usual Jailbird. The twins from Gig Harbor, Washington, were also back with Travis in his orange Trouble Maker and Tyler ready to put his Saturday championship from last year on the line in the sleek looking black Double Trouble. Making the trip up from Lake Havasu, AZ was past World Finals field reporter Mark Schroeder in driving Devastator. Finally, ready to defend his home state turf was Ron “the Dunk” Duncombe continuing his tenth year of driving the Maverik Monster Trakker. When a huge crowd came through the gates of the Raceway and into the pre-show pit party, it appeared that the stars had aligned for an intense, go-or-blow monster truck battle royale.

Qualifying set the pace for the rest of Saturday evening. The first three trucks in line went progressively faster than the monster that went before them until Larry Swim and Bigfoot threw down the challenge to his rivals with a time of 30.71 seconds. And Bigfoot’s old rival showed no fear when racing the clock, as Snake Bite bested Bigfoot by just a few tenths of a second. When qualifications were over, Snake Bite and Bigfoot has qualified first and second, sending them to opposite ends of the bracket.

But Vinny Venom didn’t slow down there. He had no trouble at all in the opening round and caught the Iron Outlaw in the first quarter final while Bigfoot beat Jailbird in the first round and defeated the former World Champion Bounty Hunter in the quarter finals. It wasn’t game over for the Tonganoxie, Kansas, team owner though, as Jimmy Creten had gone fast enough to return as the fastest loser. But from there, Creten’s racing luck ran out for the night as he just couldn’t catch Snake Bite in an incredibly close race. In the other semi, Bigfoot escaped the dark horse Devastator to set up another classic Bigfoot/Snake Bite championship round. But it wasn’t going to be easy as the final race was set for two laps, per tradition of the Raceway.

The final race was one to remember. Both trucks were dead even out of the gate, with Vinny Venom drifting around the turns but Larry Swim never let “the Snake” get too far ahead. In the second to last turn of the race, the masked Snake Bite driver finally pushed it too hard at the exit of the turn, the truck’s back end coming so far around the driver had to lay off the throttle. Larry’s took full advantage, slipping past his old rival in the final turn of the race and never looking back to take the Racing Championship to thunderous response from the spectators.

One year ago, RMR officials introduced the Donut Contest (billed as a “Twister” contest at the time), and its huge popularity with the crowd encourage officials to bring it back for 2017. Sadly, Bigfoot had encountered engine trouble so there would be no double win on Saturday. Additionally, Snake Bite wouldn’t get a chance to as transmission trouble kept him sidelined, too. Trouble Maker was the second truck out and went straight to an incredible height with a score of 9.6 with perfection being 10.

Scarlet Bandit stepped up to challenge the good old boys but missed the lead by a fraction of a point. But there were still several more opportunities for 2Xtreme Racing to take the Donut win. Iron Outlaw and Knucklehead both gave admirable efforts, but the team’s big boss was locked and loaded and Bounty Hunter’s lightning fast rotations, smoke rising from the tires and long spinning duration had the crowd roaring and the judges most impressed with a score of 9.85, taking the Donut Contest win.

As the second and final day of monster competition went on, it wasn’t long before the Racing comp got turned on its ear. Fastest qualifier Bigfoot easily won his first race against rising star Kaylyn Migues and Jailbird, but more mechanical gremlins kicked in and sadly kept him out for the remainder of the night. Despite being a first-timer on this track, Christian Norman quickly proved the doubters and skeptics wrong by marching straight to the finals. Scarlet Bandit showed consistency round after round, the driver’s superb efforts paying off when Dawn Creten found herself across the starting line from Knucklehead, the females in the crowd were firmly in Dawn Creten’s corner. And it must have worked because Dawn Creten took the lead early in the first of the two laps and never looked back, claiming the Racing Championship.

With a triple car stack, a large distance jump and a wheelie bump to play with and two long minutes on the clock, freestyle was certain to be a seriously competitive affair. Motivated by his early racing loss, Jimmy Creten and Bounty Hunter got huge air, put down dizzying donuts, executed several vertical wheelies and several cross threads to shoot into the lead with a score of 36.5. Truck after truck came after him, only to fall short. Only his own wife and the Racing Champion, the last driver in the order, came close at a score of 33.5, but Creten again won the freestyle competition to close the Maverik Clash of the Titans for another year.

We at “The Allen Report” are going to take some time off for now. But when we return, we will do so from Watsonville, California, the hometown of our friends at Living the Dream Racing, home of the popular Time Flys and Wild Flower monster trucks. With that, we send a huge and sincere “Thank you” to Mike Eames, Dan Breach, Ron Craft and all of the Rocky Mountain Raceways staff for giving us such great hospitality and support, thank you for reading, enjoy the photos and cheer on!

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The Allen Report: San Diego County Fair Monster Trucks – Del Mar, CA 2017

(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

Weekend Recap

This time on “The Allen Report”, we head to the annual San Diego County Fair in the picturesque town of Del Mar, CA. Our friends at WGAS Motorsports have been entertaining fans at the annual fair for 22 straight years with a vast variety of motorsports entertainment, from tuff truck racing, to UTV racing, to freestyle motocross, and much more. But on the closing days of the fair, the shows held at the Del Mar Arena were headlined by six dirt slinging, high flying, bumper dragging monster trucks in freestyle action.

From just up the road in Menifee, CA were the father and son team of Rick and Eric Swanson. Twenty year old Eric continued to run his 1968 Ford F-100 body on Obsessed while Rick carried on with his Top Notch Tee’s sponsored yellow body. For the first time ever, Jim Creten had all four of his trucks in the house. 2Xtreme drivers Mikeal Christensen, Christian Norman, Austin Minton and Sinjan Gergick all took turns driving Knucklehead and Iron Outlaw. Once more, Dawn Creten took the helm of her usual Scarlet Bandit and Jim Creten lead the charge in his traditional Bounty Hunter, complete with the updated version of his American Sniper Chris Kyle Foundation body.

As with years past, the afternoon shows were exhibition only while the evening shows would utilize the sport’s traditional freestyle scoring system to crown an Overall Day Champion. A tabletop jump, two wheelie bumps, a small roller with a kicker and the customary Del Mar huge hill were all in play. This meant that winning the Overall Day Championship would not come easy for any of the participants.

The first day of monster truck action got things off to a roaring start. Rick Swanson made several admirable attempts at slap wheelies while Mikeal Christensen made some massive leaps off the tabletop. Eric Swanson turned in a high speed, high energy run from start to finish with huge air and Dawn Creten combined consistent huge air and dirt churning cyclones to stay in the hunt for the Overall Day Championship.

But, the crowd favorite and former World Finals Champion was waiting in the wings. Jim Creten dug his truck’s wheelie bar into the dirt, shot for the sky multiple times and continued long after his two minute time expired. In the evening show with scores and a trophy on the line, the 2Xtreme Racing team owner and founder had just enough points altogether to take the Overall Day Championship on the first day of monster action.

As the next few days marched by, the action inside the arena only got progressively hotter. The second day of action saw each driver step up their game and great performances all around, but Jim Creten, even with the strong performances by all of those who went before him, was able to repeat as the Overall Day Champion.

The third day of action saw a special twist to the show format. Eric and Rick Swanson began the spectacular trend of team trucks performing freestyles at the same time. Their respective runs were topped off by Eric putting his truck’s tires on top of those of his father’s vehicle. In the evening show with judges watching, both trucks were scored together as a team and did very well. But Jim and Dawn Creten, ever the competitors, accepted the challenge. When they took to the track, the husband and wife team got frequent huge air and ended their runs with simultaneous, lightning fast cyclones. When the couple’s winning score was handed down by the judges, the capacity crowd roared with approval.

On the fourth and final day of the 102nd annual San Diego County Fair on Independence Day, WGAS officials had a surprise ready for the fans who showed up to the arena for the final time this year. From the opening freestyle onward, the action inside the arena only got more and more exciting. Each truck was almost done with their freestyle time when the next truck in line came roaring into the arena. This process continued on until the father and son Swanson were the only trucks still on the track. As one last thanks to the fans for coming, all the monsters did one noisy parade lap around the perimeter of the arena, bringing the curtain down on another successful year of WGAS monster truck action at the San Diego County Fair.

While the monsters were waiting their turn to take to the track, the crowds were entertained by several different kinds of scaled down race cars with young gals and guys at the wheel. Mini dwarf cars and junior outlaw sprint races showcased future race drivers in the kids behind the wheels. With many battles for position and several races ending in photo finishes, it was clear that these kids have just as big a will to win as the adult racers.

With Del Mar behind us for the year, we don’t get much time to rest as only two weeks later we take a familiar trip at a new time of year. We have followed monsters to the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds in Turlock, CA in both the spring and fall, but this is our first time seeing them during the fair itself in late July. Coverage from there will be coming soon. That said, thank you for reading, a huge, heartfelt thanks to John and Charlene Borba, Chelsea Kessler, Greg and Carol Atherton and all of the WGAS Motorsports family for their warm hospitality, enjoy the photos and cheer on!

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Monster Photos: Minnesota Monster Madness – Elk River, MN 2017

Event Information

Event: Minnesota Monster Madness
Venue: ERX Motor Park
Location: Elk River, Minnesota
Date: June 23rd, 2017
Photographer: Danny Maass (Check out Maass Media on Facebook)

Truck Lineup

Big Kahuna (Shane England), Black Stallion (Michael Vaters), Bounty Hunter (Christian Norman), Higher Education (Preston Perez), Incinerator (Ryan Rice), Iron Outlaw (Mikael Christensen), Iron Warrior (Matt Cody), Jailbird (Kaylyn Migues), Midnight Rider (Tom Herzog), Monster Patrol (Michael Phelps), Nitro Menace (Darren Migues), Overkill Evolution (Michael Vaters Jr.), Rat Nasty (James Trantina), Snake Bite (Vinny Venom), Summit Bigfoot #21 (Larry Swim), Twisted Addiction (Tim Jones) [Read more…]

Monster Photos: All Star Monster Truck Tour – Cresco, IA 2017

Event Information

Event: All Star Monster Truck Tour
Venue: Howard County Fairgrounds
Location: Cresco, Iowa
Date: June 21st, 2017
Photographer: Danny Maass (Check out Maass Media on Facebook)

Truck Lineup

Bounty Hunter (Christian Norman), Iron Outlaw (Mikael Christensen), Jailbird (Kaylyn Migues), Nitro Menace (Darren Migues) [Read more…]