Monster Trucks are filled with tradition in almost every form. One of the biggest categories of tradition is the venues which the metal giants have called Home for years upon years and with just one word, a sprawling field and oval gravel horse track rings synonymous with monster truck fans everywhere: Lima. The Allen Country Fairgrounds in Lima, Ohio is a trademark summer monster truck stop and finally after 3 years I can be a part of tradition again.
But the tradition of Lima has been marred but yet another constant: Rain. Nearly every Lima event and for that matter nearly every Special Events Jamboree around the country since 1999 has been plagued with the onslaught of rain throughout the weekend festivities. Well, tradition rolls through Lima yet again as nine monster trucks would look to conquer the hallowed grounds of the Allen County Fair and also look to conquer Mother Nature on their way to victory.
Bigfoot 15--Dan Runte
Big Dawg--Doug Noelke
Monster Patrol--Kirk Dabney
God, Guts & Glory--Melissa Stathas
Storylines to Follow:
"Let it pour!": The rain was here to stay as early on Friday the track had been turned into a slimy mud pit. Racing on Friday was cancelled due to the bad conditions and only freestyle was run. But for Saturday, the track was in decent enough shape to have 3 full programs. But, the giant S-track that was constructed would not be in use, instead racing was cut down to a straight line track with a big roller at the start then a sprint to the 3-car jump finish. A pure driver's track was now reduced to what should be a pure horsepower track, but with the mud, it is nearly a level playing field for all. The starting line was brown ice basically and would be a struggle to get moving before getting power to the ground and moving down the track.
"Some new faces in the crowd." : The Jamboree lineups have expanded this year allowing in some new, old and new-look trucks to the field. God, Guts & Glory would be one of the new faces in the crowd as the Stathas' have time off from the Southern Monster Truck Showdown events and have picked up some Jamboree dates for the summer. They have had a lot of success in the smaller shows but I was not sure how they would fair on the big stage. Kirk Dabney in Monster Patrol re-emerges this year with a full schedule of Jamborees for the first time in nearly 10 years when he ran Overkill on the Penda circuit. Dabney has plenty of skill and a strong running truck under him but control has been a bit of a factor for him lately. We'll wait and see what happens in the mud this time. John Seasock brought out his new T-maxx truck for its first trip to Lima. Seasock has found plenty of success at Jamborees with his Sudden Impact trucks and with a new ride and new found power, T-maxx could be a dark horse to walk out of here not only covered in mud but soaking up the wins.
It was cold, wet, windy and of course rainy but hundreds of people still crammed into the only covered section of grandstands at the track and we were ready to go racing!
**Let me apologize up front for the mess of crap on these pictures. I am trying to find a watermarking program that will insert a logo of mine on all the pictures at once and every time I try it, it ends up being a trial version and they stick their own logos on there as well. After redoing the pictures twice because it saved over my files, I gave up. So all of them have a crappy looking MidwestMonsters.com logo and then multiple logos from programs stuck on them. If you know of a free watermarking program that will solve this problem for me, PLEASE let me know!**
First two Qualifying heats:
Racing Round 1
Monster Patrol vs. Raminator-- Dabney got a huge jump off the line over Hall in Raminator and kept the advantage over the roller hill and into the flat land. But then the conditions bit Monster Patrol and Dabney hooked to the left and nearly into Raminator's path as Hall caught up and blew by the crooked Monster Patrol and took the gift victory. Winner: Raminator.
Avenger vs. Big Dawg-- This race proved to be one of the hardest fought and ran all day. Koehler got a slight lead as he spun off the line and was first up and down the roller hill but then Noelke reeled him in during no-mans-land and poured it on to the final jump and flew way out ahead to a truck length win. Winner: Big Dawg. Watch the video of this race in the Lima Jamboree Video Theatre!
Nitemare vs. Bigfoot-- Both of the drivers struggled badly getting off the line and it was Hoffman in Nitemare coming over the roller first and he opened up a bigger lead as Runte could not get the power where it needed to go and fell off the pace. Winner: Nitemare.
T-Maxx vs. Rammunition-- This race was also a war to the end as both trucks surprisingly got great launches off the line with minimal spinning and were nearly even over the roller. Dishman looked poised to over take Seasock as John was having trouble keeping T-Maxx heading straight but he kept his foot to the floor and muscled T-Maxx over the finish just in front of Rammunition.
Racing Round 2
Raminator vs. Big Dawg-- The Raminator/Bigfoot rivalry has been brewing and boiling for a couple years now but slowly the battle between these two trucks has become more intense with every match up. That boiling point would reach new heights as Doug Noelke suffered RII problems on the line and the truck would not shut off properly. Noelke was not given much time to fix the problem and was booted off the line and Raminator given the free pass. Noelke was hot afterwards and said he wished he was given more time to explore options to the problem but instead he was pulled back. A new RII box was put in place after this show and Noelke would have another chance to come. Winner: Raminator.
T-Maxx vs. Nitemare-- Both truck ran rather well in Round 1 but the better starts clearly went to T-Maxx. That proved to be the same turnout in this round as a quick start by T-Maxx made all the difference. Seasock held a truck length lead over Hoffman the entire way to advance into the Finals. Winner: T-Maxx.
T-Maxx vs. Raminator-- Seasock was easily the favorite as he took out Rammunition in a hard race and then held off Nitemare in another close one. Meanwhile, Hall got lucky twice with Dabney running into his lane and then the problems in Big Dawg and has yet to have a challenger for the entire race. Seasock did what he has done best and drilled the light and pulled out ahead of Hall early. The lead was gone though as they were even at the bottom of the roller. Hall got the best traction of the day in no mans land and unloaded all 2000 horsepower opening up a massive lead over Seasock and blew the doors off T-Maxx on the final jump to capture with win by a full 3 truck lengths! No one expected that as the crowd was buzzing and jaws were dropped at just how fast Raminator took off at half track. Winner: Raminator.
With a large lineup and really not too much to hit on the track, freestyle was chopped up over the course of the day with the first go-around only featuring three trucks. Three more would freestyle after the second show and then the night show would be an all freestyle format with every truck possible taking to the track. To attack on the course, there were the two sets of (mashed down) three cars, a couple hills out in the open field and then a car-van-car-car-van-car junk pile of a mess left over from Friday night. Plus there were several jumps on the back side of the track for tuff trucks and unused S-course obstacles.
God, Guts & Glory-- Stathas has made quite a name for herself on the Southern Monster Truck Showdown tour along with several up and coming teams down there and I was very interested in seeing how she would handle this much different environment. The answer was not well. The truck is very underpowered and in this muddy mess, it was very slow going for GG&G. Melissa hit the cars twice and did not get any air at all and unfortunately left to a round of boos. Tough outing for the first time. Score: 1.
Avenger-- It doesn't matter what is on the track or how many feet of mud there is, Jim Koehler will turn it into his playground destroying, devastating and dazzling the crowd with every move. Koehler grabbed some big air off the tuff truck ramps as well as attacked the junk pyramid from the side for some good air. The crush cars provided nothing at all and only slowed him down. His second time over the pyramid nearly tossed Avenger over as the pile of vehicles had absolutely no give to them and just threw the truck off to the side. So far the dirt ramps are the way to go. Score: 7.
Rammunition-- Geremie Dishman has steadily improved his racing and freestyle game with each event including sweeping freestyle at the Milwaukee event back in March. But this muddy track provided no comparison to the small, dry, indoor floor of the Bradley Center. Dishman grabbed some big air on the S-course jumps and then found out like Stathas and Koehler did that the racing lanes were to be avoided for freestyle. Dishman launched the big Dodge over the junk heap pyramid and cleared it all with a big nose dive on the end. After hitting pretty much everything he could, Dishman tore up what was left of the infield grass with an incredible set of donuts. He kept spinning Rammunition around and around until we were nearly sick just watching it! Seven to eight complete revolutions throwing the grass and mud everywhere much to the delight of everyone except whomever has to power wash the truck or plant grass seed. Watch the video of the donuts in the Lima Video Theatre! Score: 8.
One show down, two more to go for Saturday at Lima 2005. Racing has been surprisingly decent despite the conditions while freestyle needs something to pick up the excitement for the rest of the day. Coming up at the 5:00 show: Rivalries intensify between Raminator and the "BIG" trucks, donuts become the daily choice and the sun comes out? Plus photos from some of the great looking Show-n-Shine vehicles all on the next page of the coverage!