Posts Tagged ‘ground pounder’
Monster Spectacular Penticton May 8 2010 Update
By Doug de Nance
They say that history repeats itself. That old saying was certainly true on Saturday night in Penticton, British Columbia, when talking about Canadian monster truck drivers. The match up was Canada versus the USA in truck teams that night. But it could have been billed as old school versus new school and still had the same trucks on each team.
The Sudden Impact team boasted rookie sensation Ben “BoBo” Winslow in Ground Pounder, along with 7 year veteran Sean Duhon in Cult. But eight years total team driving experience was just a drop in the bucket when compared to the Maniac Racing team.
Don Frankish has been driving monster trucks for 22 years, most of it behind the wheel of the giant Ford Maniac. Frankish is renowned as a groomer of monster drivers, offering training and seat time to develop such stars as Linsey Weenk and Kristie Edge. Most of them have had the honor of driving one of the most recognizable trucks in the world – inside the teal blue colored Triceratops styled 3D body of Jurassic Attack.
But Don had a very special surprise in store for the fans in Penticton. In the same way Jurassic Attack has a million years of history in the inspiration for the look of the truck, Don took a page out of the history books and brought it back to life by coaxing out of retirement the man who was the very first driver of Jurassic Attack, none other than Kevin Weenk.
As the oldest of the famous Weenk brothers, Kevin was the inspiration for the youngest sibling Linsey, now the driver of Blue Thunder and the middle brother Nathan, a Cascar racing champion and freelance monster driver, most recently piloting El Toro Loco. Both brothers had their time behind the wheel of Jurassic Attack. But Kevin started it all back in the early 90’s – first driving an old steel body truck named Young Gun. His rise to fame came when he climbed inside Canada’s first 3D designed truck, Jurassic Attack, in 1995.
While this history was mesmerizing for the true fans of Canadian monster trucks that populated the stands in Penticton, the Sudden Impact team was not impressed. They had done their research, at least according to the “Rajun’ Cajun” Sean Duhon. He made mention of the fact that Frankish was now 42, and while the Maniac driver was a four time former Canadian Monster Truck Champion, there was little respect being shown by Duhon – at least as far as Don’s age was concerned. He also pointed out that Weenk had been retired for a decade to raise his family with the same rural farm values as Weenk had been privileged to receive from his parents. Duhon made sure to remind the fans that history would be written on the track that very night when the monster competitions began.
Duhon seemed intent on writing himself into the history books right away, as Cult aggressively took to the floor during the introductions. He slammed the front tires down on the car stack as if to make the statement that the “Cajun Kid” was here and to be reckoned with right now.
The first competition was the Wheelie Contest and Duhon could have filed a protest as he was forced to use the same lane of crush cars for both his wheelie passes. On the other hand, maybe he felt he had it easy in Wheelie competition.
First up was Maniac. Maybe Frankish had taken Duhon’s comments a bit too emotionally as he slammed into the cars for his first pass perhaps a bit too aggressively. Crush cars on cement are like hitting a moving target as they can slip and slide under 10,000 pounds of monster truck. As Frankish stepped into the throttle to raise Maniac to vertical, the cars shifted sending the big Ford sideways. He got the back end of Maniac so deep into the cars that he pulled out his “kill cable” on the back of the truck and had to have a track official reset it for his second pass.
Winslow was not willing to sit back and show respect to the history behind the Canadian team either. Bobo blasted Ground Pounder into massive wheelies that set the crowd to howling for the wild man from Plymouth, North Carolina. The highly educated driver (he holds two degrees in agriculture science from two different universities), knew he’d have to be great as Jurassic Attack was up next.
While Kevin Weenk is known for his calm and cool demeanor, sometimes even the most collected and controlled individual has circumstances get the better of him. Weenk seemed completely revved up and ready to go as Jurassic roared out to the car stack and pulled into position. The track officials tested the remote ignition interrupter and then… nothing. Jurassic failed to start again. Weenk calmness was out the window and he could be heard cursing and howling at Frankish as they looked over the truck for the source of the problem – including the kill cable that Frankish had pulled on his truck earlier. The clock counted down and it was no points for Jurassic.
Would racing be the same outcome? The Maniac team worked feverishly replacing what turned out to be a faulty starter on Jurassic as the Sudden Impact team faced off in the first bracket. But now Duhon’s desire to win got the better of him and he jumped the green light. Duhon protested to the track officials, but the video replay on the big screen clearly showed him jumping the light. However, Winslow – ever the country gentleman – offered to re-run the race. Perhaps it wasn’t the wisest choice for Winslow, as Cult beat Ground Pounder fair and square. And it may not have been the best choice for the Sudden Impact team, as it gave just the extra time the Maniac team needed to be sure both their trucks were ready to go.
The Monster Racing Final paired up just what the history books ordered as Duhon sat across from Maniac. The announcer had to run for his life as both drivers were too anxious to race to wait for him to set up the final after the RRI test. Both trucks loaded up on the throttle as they waited for the light to go green. Like a burst of dirty thunder, both truck exploded off the line. By the thinnest of margins, Cult took the checkered flag and had a double down winning streak for the night.
As always, Monster Freestyle was for the fans. Chris Arel’s unique format kept the points secret going into the event as he would do for the entire tour. The variable clock was in play as well, with the trucks having to aggressively hit the car stacks, van stack and use the entire arena floor as quickly and aggressively as possible as the driver did not know how much time he would have on the clock. Winslow seemed momentarily surprised that time remained during his run, but used it to his advantage with a smoking cyclone donut to finish his run.
Maniac and Jurassic put in solid runs but both had a shorter clock. Cult had the best of both worlds with a longer clock that he filled with huge air, sky wheelies and donuts, while burning the brake rotors to glowing red with flat track style slide turns in between.
Fans were also treated to Freestyle Motocross, where the demonstration became a “Bigger or Better” competition for their applause. As well, what was to be a demonstration with ATV’s turned into a “Battle of the Brands” with Yamaha and Honda each fielding a team in a best two out of three match up.
The tour moves east this coming weekend with a two city weekend in Alberta. Medicine Hat meets Monster Spectacular on Friday night and then the tour roars across half the province for a matinee show in Red Deer on Sunday afternoon. Why not grab a ticket for both cities and follow the caravan across Alberta as the Monster Spectacular Canadian tour continues for 2010.
Monster Spectacular 2010 Tour – Regina
By Doug de Nance
As a freak spring snow storm blasted across the soon-to-be wheat fields of Saskatchewan, Monster Spectacular stormed into the provincial capital for the second stop of the 2010 Canadian tour. While the cold winds blew outside Regina’s Brandt Centre, the competition heated up inside with teammate rivalries.
It is no secret that Jimmy Creten demands his drivers be at the top of their game every night. Jimmy always wants to face the very best competition each time he fires up Bounty Hunter. If that competition is a member of the 2 Extreme Racing Team then all the better as far as Creten is concerned. But this time the competition almost got out of hand with Darren Migues driving Iron Outlaw – so much so that it almost turned Jimmy Creten upside down before the second show even began. (more…)