With Eddie Casanueva Edited by Bill Johnston
Spidertrax does ARCA
Spidertrax Co-Founder Eddie Casanueva had a very busy September. Not only did he have new Spidertrax components ready for release, but he also had to make final preparations on his famous yellow zook to get ready to compete in Farmington, New Mexico. This American Rock Crawlers Association Event would be his first competitive rock crawling event since he started amazing the public with Spidertrax creations.
"The ARCA event was awesome. It was great to experience the intense feeling of competition when wheeling" said Eddie. "I got such a high from it. The obstacles were incredibly tuff which made you do things you normally wouldn't do".
"Normally when you come up to a tuff ledge you get excited thinking of all the different ways your going to attack it. It's all fun you know..." Eddie explained. "But when competing, you come around a bend in the stage and find a huge ledge in front of you. Now, it's a different story. You have to try to make that ledge in one shot. Your adrenalin starts to pump and you just do it. It's really wild!"
"My average RPM for the competition had to be somewhere around 3000. The truck took an amazing beating. I hope it was captured on Big Rock's Video. We were doing great. Everyone loved the samurai. We had the only rig with 33" tires. People we're very impressed.
Editors Note* The December 2000 issue of Petersen's 4Wheel & Off-Road magazine counted Eddies yellow wall crawler amongst the Top 10 in their list of the "coolest, gnarliest, and just plain best (rigs) from the past year...".
"The photo to the right shows one of the tall ledges on A6. The rig was worked wonders on this type of ledge, mainly due to the weight bias - front to back (about 60/40). The rear of my Samurai is extremely light. With some momentum and a bit of gas after the front end was up and over, the back end of the Samurai would launch up the ledge. People were amazed at how well the short Samurai was doing on these ledges. They were also saying I had the heaviest foot" Eddie grinned.
Eddie met Walker Evans during the competition. He was very impressed with Eddies rig. Eddie said "He wanted to have one built for his grandson, so he had his techs all over (and under) the truck checking things out."
"These two photos were both taken on the same ledge on A7. I don't have the exact count, but many trucks rolled backwards and to the left on the this ledge. A few positions in front of us was a stretched Flat fender with about a 100" wheel base. He rolled backwards on to his hood. This entire Stage had our hearts pumping. We rocked the stage and got up to this last ledge where many people were rolling. As we approached the ledge, the officials were moving people back saying that I was definitely going over" Eddie explained. "The bottom had a huge step that had been dug out by 40 inch tires. We got hung up on this step and took 2 points for backing up. A second attempt with more gas pedal got us up onto the rock. Staying hard on the gas got my front end off the rock and I sat vertical for a couple of seconds until the front end finally came back down. Everyone loved that! The photo above and to the left was taken after I came back down." "You can see the rig is a bit sideways. From this point we hammered on it again and she straightened out and wiggled her way on up. It was a great show. The motor was red lined and everyone was cheering for us, including the judge wearing the red shirt in the picture. This was a great stage for us as we put on a great show and made the stage with only 6 points. Many people were pointing out on A7(40 points)."
The winner of this type of competition is decided by a points system that adds points to your score as you make mistakes. Hit a flag, stop forward motion for too long, put the vehicle in reverse, or even taking too long to complete the stage will add to your score. The maximum score for each stage is 40 points. The team with the lowest score at the end of the competition wins.
"Stage A1 is where we broke our steering. The photo to the left shows us working the first ledge by the start gate. This stage had many people timing out (taking too long and receiving maximum points) because of this first ledge because of the difficulty. The ledge required you to stack rocks to form a ramp in order to make it up. As we entered this stage, Enelio ran over to the ledge to begin stacking the rocks. I rolled forward several inches and then stopped every four or five seconds to prevent us from getting penalized with stopping points (1 point of standing more than 6 seconds). Once Enelio gave me the Green light I approached the ledge with his guidance. It turned out we miscalculated the truck width and did not fill the hole properly. We took the points for backing up. This time I got out to help stack rocks. Our second attempt proved unsuccessful. At this point we used up about 4 minutes and we were both out of breath. Then I did what always worked. I got the front end up onto the ledge and then just hammered on it. The truck launched up into the air and landed right on top. The Official told us we had 1.5 minutes remaining to finish the rest (90%) of the stage. I took off in 2nd gear. Enelio could not keep up such an accelerated pace so I continued on my own, climbing several ledges at about 15mph and launching off of a couple too. As I was coming around at a good speed to line up with the last ledge (a drop off) I nailed a rock with the front left wheel and busted my steering system." "Had I waited for my spotter this probably would not have happened. I could not line up with the last ledge to make the descent and so we timed out on the stage."