ZookiMelt '02 RockRage - The "Rock Nazi" strikes back!Story By: Bob Norman, Photos By: Jeff Pollock and Rae Champoux
Last year's (2001) annual ZookiMelt RockRage competition was a joke. Don't think so? Look at some of the pics.
We, the humble volunteers at iZook decided to handle it a little different this year, based on a few simple ideas.....
1. Spectators will not be endangered by high speed vehicles, therefore the course will not be easy.
2. Rules will be strictly enforced.
3. Use multiple judges and scorekeepers as a team.
A few of us headed out first thing in the morning to set the course by pre-running and recording actual running time for the first pass. The markers were placed while traversing the course, to ensure it was actually able to be completed (although I'm sure some folks will argue that...).
5 hours later, after the course was laid out spectators and competitors were allowed to walk the course. Then we were ready to start throwing sacrificial trucks to the "Rock God"...
And then it happened... One iZook volunteer judge transformed into the "Rock Nazi"... "You Vill Not Touch the Markers!" ... "You Vill be Penalized for Backing"... "You Vill not Hang on the Rig During Competition".....
The innocent beginnings... the future victims of the Rock Rage listening to the rules and preparing physically, mentally, and spiritually for the upcoming battle with the boulders. The course lay out is to the right. spectators were required to stay off the course at all times, but were allowed close since there was no way any speed would be built.
Early victim Mark Quisenberry flexing his extremely capable rig through the tough beginning section. Mark fell victim to the course when he exploded a front axleshaft and u-joint in his Dana-equipped rig.
Another one bites the dust. Tim Porter (Tiiimmmmaaaah) fought valiantly with an OX locker that wouldn't lock. Got the fork stuck in him when he got high centered on this rock. Tim took his revenge on the ramp... Fought hard, even with only 3 wheel drive.
Jayson Summers twisting himself through the tough middle section. Even though he didn't complete the course, he still made it farther than anybody else before hitting maximum points, and was therefore declared the winner of the "Trophy" class.
After the trophy class, we ran the vehicles that didn't fit into the rules due to tire size, quantity of tires, or whatever in a separate "Open" class. There was no trophy, but bragging rights were on the line.
You get a good view of the course here, see why nobody finished without pointing out?
Brent Bradshaw from Trail Tough did his own version of a run on the course... he didn't care about obstacles, just ran it as fast as possible. Needless to say, the Rock Nazi couldn't count points fast enough to keep up!
Mr. Parker made it the farthest in Open class. He pointed out a mere 10 feet from the end when he got a little throttle happy and nicked a cone. The Rock Nazi takes no prisoners.... another one falls, but Mr. Parker does have bragging rights until ZM '03.
Finally, Jeff Chester took his Porter-built rig up onto the course much to everyone's surprise. Got a bit of rock-rash and has the crowd cheering.
Rock Rage is scheduled to return again at ZookiMelt '03, as difficult as ever. Whether the iZook volunteers allow the Rock Nazi to return is another story...