Jeepspeeds Show At Expo And Shine At BlueWater Challenge
Judging by the constant flow of fans and interest of Jeepspeed vehicles on display in both General Tire booths at the Off-Road Expo in Pomona, Ca. the General Tire ATX Wheels
Jeepspeed series looks stronger than ever. In 2015, it will offer even more action when the Jeepspeed Wrangler Trophy Series debuts. The Wrangler Trophy series will be run at three stops of the existing 2015 six race Jeepspeed series.
The success of Jeepspeed is due to the initial concept envisioned 13 years ago that a cost effective series could exist in a racing environment that is usually out of reach for most. It offers fierce competition, generous sponsor support and the satisfaction one gets from designing and building their own race vehicle. No other series has the cost savings and parity that spec racing strives for with the freedom to design your own vehicle. Everyone has an equal shot to end up on the podium or take a win. Jeepspeed proves you don’t have to spend a million bucks to have fun racing.
The diversity of Jeepspeed race vehicles was on display at the Best in the Desert BlueWater Challenge in Parker, Az. In the Jeepspeed Challenge Class, (1700), ten Cherokees and three Grand Cherokees all with 4.0 liter 6 cylinder motors lined up to race over two days of competition. The Jeepspeed Cup Class, (3700), had one Cherokee with a Chevy V8, one Comanche with a turbocharged 6 cylinder, a Jeep Wrangler with an LS motor, one 4 door wrangler with a 6.4 liter SRT V8 hemi, and the ex Roger Mears Honcho with a 401 cu. In. AMC V8. The Jeepspeed contingency row display in Parker showcased the strong sponsor support from General Tire, ATX Wheels, Currie Enterprises, King Shocks, Howe Performance Steering, T&J Performance, Baja Designs Lights, Rubicon Express Suspensions, Smittybilt Off Road products, G2 Axles & Gears and PAC Racing Springs as well as even more additions in store for 2015. The new for 2015, Class 3750 Dodge Ram 1500, sponsored by Synergy Mfg, Deaver, Currie and King Shocks was also on display. With so much going on, there was a lot of buzz going on about the Jeepspeed series.
The BlueWater Challenge has a two-day heat race format. Each heat is three laps of the 26 mile course. Combined times from both days determine an overall winner. The Jeepspeed Cup was won by Bob Mamer in his turbocharged Comanche pickup. Bob broke the 4 hour mark with a combined time of 03:55:43. He set a blistering pace on Saturday with a time of 01:51:25.
Mike McCombs was a close second at 01:53:08. Billy Bunch was third with a time of 02:04:16. Sunday saw Billy Bunch win the heat with Mamer in second and Brian Davidson with the third fastest time. Despite the win by Bunch, he was unable to make up the time to Mamer and had to settle for second overall.
Mike McCombs got third place overall followed by Rob White in fourth overall. Brian Davidson was third fastest on Sunday but a DNF on Saturday would give him a DNF for the weekend. Brian and his crew were able to come back from a disappointing finish on Saturday and show the rest of the field they had enough speed to end up on the podium on Sunday.
The Jeepspeed Challenge race was even crazier than the Cup race. All the “stay smart and just finish” strategy went right out the window as soon as the Jeeps lined up side by side at the start. Rick Randall did a good job sticking to his race plan. He started up front on Saturday and took advantage of some clean air and a strong pace to take the win. He looked to repeat on Sunday when his Jeep developed a vibration. He made another lap and overtook everyone ahead of him to take the lead when disaster struck. “During the 2nd lap we passed 2 cars that were pulled over then passed the last car that was also pulled over as we entered the Python,” said Rick, “All we had to do was finish and hope that whatever was causing the vibration would hold up. At mm 18 the transfer case blew up and destroyed the case. I tried to get it into 2wd but everything was too beat up; our race was over. While we waited for a tow, we cheered the finishers on as they passed us.”
Skyler Gambrell was another who suffered woes on the brutal Parker course. “The race began with just enough light to drive by braille,” says Skyler, “1724 pulled me off the start but the Grand fought and clawed up the hill past the start and I made the pass in the corner just before the new silt section that paralleled Shea RD. We passed 1721 by RM2 and were charging to the front when the water pump decided it would much rather exit the vehicle. The Decision was made that we should find the replacement parts and put on a show on Sunday. With Clive running parts and help from Jack Webber and Matt Vogler turning wrenches we patched it back up and were ready for Sunday.
The course on Sunday was super soft and super squared off, but I pushed as hard as the old grand would go. 1st lap I was 6th or 7th; I kept my head down and set off just hoping to get to a podium spot. Headed out for lap 3 and saw Biehl with his hood open; I was now in 2nd. I fought an ill running car all around the last lap and sputtered across the finish line, chuckling to myself that we had actually done it.” Skyler took the heat win on Sunday.
With Randall and Gambrell out of contention for the overall win, it came down to three contenders; Dustin Hoffman, Rob Seubert and Joey Miller. Hoffman had returned to the series after missing a couple of races due to his work. He is a commercial fisherman and the fishing was just too hot in Alaska this summer for him to break away. Hoffman took the overall win but it wasn’t easy. “The Jeep was running rough on lap three on Saturday,” said Dustin, “The deep sand and silt really took a toll on our fuel mileage. We coasted into the finish on fumes. On Sunday, we got stuck in the sand and had more rough running issues until we changed the fuel filter. After that the Jeep was running real strong.” Dustin’s 04:37:56.921 combined time gave him the overall victory.
Second overall went to Rob Seubert. With the championship on the line, he had a lot to lose. “Pretty boring report from our camp, which is a good thing,” says Rob, “The season championship points situation dictated our race strategy for this race. Knowing that we just needed to just finish the last two races to ensure the season title, we took a very conservative approach. Starting next to Skyler was a little too much instigation and I hit the first jump after the merge a little fast and got crossed up. I ran a little too hard to beat him to the merge and nearly blew it right there. Skyler passed us back we were back on the conservative program. Cliff and I did this race all by ourselves, no one even in the pits for us. Luckily, we had virtually no issues. We had a minor engine stumble in the big rough stuff, and it died on us but it always re-fired. Big thanks to my Dad (Cliff) for keeping me in check and getting the all-important finish. Big congrats to Hoffman on a nice win and Skyler for an impressive win on Sunday!”
Joey Miller strung together a pair of strong finishes to secure third place overall. “We started 11th on Saturday morning came out in front of the 1780 Jeep, (J. Henriquez) at the start,” said Joey, “I had a really good battle with Seubert and Maister on the last lap down on Riverside Drive. We ended up 4th physically but 3rd on corrected time. On day 2, we beat Seubert off the line but being in 2wd they quickly passed us in the sand. We got stuck just before the quarry and lost about 10 minutes. Then we hit a good mud puddle and were driving blind for a few miles until we could get our visors cleaned. The rest of the day we were in the "just finish" mindset and did our best to keep it in one piece. Didn't have any mechanical issues all weekend and ended up 3rd in class.”
Another incredible Jeepspeed race goes in the books. The next stop will be the final race of the season. The series heads to Henderson, Nevada December 5-7 for the BITD Henderson 250; a double points race. It will no doubt be another intense battle as every team attempts to finish the year strong. If you would like to find out how to compete in the Jeepspeed series go to www.jeepspeed.com. There you will find additional info, deals on some attractively priced race Jeeps, Jeepspeed news, rules, forums, race results, videos and much more.
Photography By: Bink Designs
The Jeepspeed series is a competitive, cost effective series that has pitted Jeep vehicles against each other on challenging desert courses since 2001. Unlike the more expensive spec racing classes, there is no obligation to purchase your race vehicle or parts from the series organizer. You build your own vehicle the way you like as long as it fits within the rules. Jeepspeed offers the most fun and closest racing in the desert today. Jeepspeed series is supported by General Tire, ATX Wheels, RDM Offroad, Howe Performance, Currie Enterprises, King Shocks, TJ Performance Center, Allpar.com, Sunoco Race Fuels, Baja Designs, Rubicon Express, G2 Axle & Gear, Smittybilt & PAC Racing Springs.
About General Tire
For 99 years General Tire has offered a complete quality line of ultra-high performance, passenger, light truck, off-road and commercial tires to meet all your needs. General Tire is a proud supporter of Lucas Oil Off-Road Racing Series, Best in the Desert Racing Series, Major League Fishing, Chili Bowl, Pro-Pulling, Late-Model Dirt Series, Drag Boat Series, American Sprint Car Series, FreestyleMx.com
Tour, Zero One Odyssey, and Spec Tire of Trophylite and JeepSpeed. Team GT supports off-road and short course teams including CJ Hutchins, Garrick Freitas, Harley Letner, Jerry Zaiden/Jason Campbell/Jerry Whelchel/ (Camburg), Jim Riley, Justin Lofton, Macrae Glass, Randy Merritt, Ray Griffith, Steve Alexander, Steve La Roza, Ryan Beat, Carl Renezeder, and Robby Woods.
About Continental AG
With provisional sales of around €33.3 billion in 2013, Continental is among the leading automotive suppliers worldwide. As a supplier of brake systems, systems and components for powertrains and chassis, instrumentation, infotainment solutions, vehicle electronics, tires, and technical elastomers, Continental contributes to enhanced driving safety and global climate protection. Continental is also an expert partner in networked automobile communication. Continental currently has more than 177,000 employees in 46 countries.