When we aren't immersing ourselves in the various facets of the wonderful sport of off-roading, we are absorbed in some other wholesome activity that involves wheels of some diameter, width, or tread pattern. Our lives resemble a Crusty Demons of Dirt video, and we have the scars to prove it. With that said, even with our constant diet of dirt, we are still amazed by the crazy action that we witnessed at the 6th Annual New England 4x4 Jamboree in Essex Junction, Vermont. It seemed that the Tough Trucks flew higher and farther, the burnout competition was smokier, the mud racing was faster, and the show 'n' shine was more intense than any show that we covered in 2000.
Infield InsanityThe thing that set Vermont Tough Truck racing apart from the other races in the seven-show 2000 Performance Series was the wide array of vehicles and the intensity with which they were driven. Not only did the racing include state-of-the-art, custom-built Modified Class trucks driven by guys such as Roy Burger, Mike Moreau, and Steve Bosco, but also an impressive number of high-flying stock trucks that let it all hang out in the bid for the best time. Fed by spectator cheering, the score of competitors attacked the S-shaped course with a vengeance, catching awesome air onnumerous dirt hills, speeding around curves, and mashing the throttle on straightaways. As the drivers thrashed their trucks in the race for the top slot, the tough course caused a fair amount of damage to the trucks in both classes, and the laundry list of damage included tires peeled from rims, rims peeled from trucks, scattered differentials, lost pickup truck beds, and launched axles.
As with all Jambos, there was a full schedule of other types of 4x4 racing, including the Burnout Competition (won by Winston Cup engine builder Randy Burrell in his evil 350 Chevy-powered Toyota), the Tug-A-Truck competition (won by Joe DeCampo from Arlington, Massachusetts, in his '98 Chevy), the Monster Truck Thunder Drags (Nitrofish won on Saturday, and Bigfoot won on Sunday), side-by-side mud racing (six classes), as well as the Monster Truck Wishbone, and the 25th anniversary celebration of the Bigfoot Racing Team.
Performance MarketplaceUnlike the stock market, the performance market was definitely alive and well in Vermont, and 24,791 spectators had scores of vendors to peruse for aftermarket 4x4 accessories. Brightly colored vendor tents extended throughout the middle of the Champlain Valley Exposition, and they housed national companies such as Rancho Suspension, Flowmaster, BDS, Warn, Low Glow, and Custom Truck. In addition, there were a number of regional vendors such as JD's Off Road, Bond Auto Parts, K&R's Auto, and Sterling Equipment to help quell your desire for truck stuff. If you wanted custom visual work done to your truck, Engraving By Schlos and Yipes Stripes were on hand to give your truck a custom look right on the spot. Located in the center of the Performance Marketplace was the main stage, where MC Joe "I Own This Stage" Pagano oversaw the kids' and adults' games, hourly super prize giveaway, participants' suggestions session, and an awards ceremony.
Acres of TrucksNew England has a number of excellent and challenging 4x4 trails, so it wasn't a surprise to see scores of functional trail rigs parked next to daily drivers and show trucks. Many of the 4x4 clubs were grouped together, and most folks even gave in and washed their trail trucks just for the occasion. All participants were invited to drive their trucks through the Pro Judging area to vie for some of the scores of trophies and plaques, and from them were chosen the Grand Champions of the show. Jimmy Carey from Hill, New Hampshire, won the Street Class award with his '89 Chevy pickup, and Mark Morawic from Lewiston, New York, won the Pro/Modified Class award with his '89 Ford pickup.
Even if you're a jaded motorsports fan, you'll most likely be awed by the action at the New England Jamboree like we were, and you don't want to miss the 2001 show, which will be August 4-5. For more information, contact: Special Events, Dept. OR, 804 N. Delaware, Indianapolis, IN 46204, (317) 236-6525, www.familyevents.com.