AMSOIL / Torchmate Racing has much to celebrate. After a string of victories in XRRA and BITD, the team just took home the We-Rock National Championship. #232 Brad & Roger Lovell lead the team to victory against the best rockcrawlers from across the country. While mechanical issues plagued #28 Kunz / Shaffer, #199 Jesse Haines & Brian Howard narrowly missed the unlimited championship and pulled off a 3rd place finish.
“I never dreamed that we could win both the XRRA and We-Rock National Championships,” comments Brad Lovell, “It’s a great reward for years of hard work.” Farmington is known for its high bluffs and death defying climbs. The We-Rock courses did not disappoint. After a solid start, #232 tackled course B4 which gave competitors the option to risk a horrific fall and climb a 30ft bluff. The BFGoodrich rubber griped were others struggled and failed. Brad and Roger got a perfect score for the course and moved in to the lead.
The team continued to make smart moves all weekend and carried an 18 point lead into the final round. Brad recalls, “After we climbed another huge wall on A4, I knew we would finish well. A lot of people rolled there and we climbed right to the top.” The team had a solid plan for the shootout course and with Roger’s skillful guidance, the AMSOIL / Torchmate Ranger furthered its lead before reaching the finish line and victory! Brad continued, “I am proud of our team, family, and sponsors for this accomplishment. No single truck has ever won the National Championships in both XRRA and We-Rock. All we did between events is change the tires and gearing. It says a lot for the versatility of the truck and parts we use.”
Bill Kunz and Mike Shaffer, also in the pro-modified class, had a strong start by putting the Torchmate Diablo to work on a daring slide across a rock wall. The optional line rewarded risk takers that maneuvered sideways across a steep face. Any slip would drop the vehicle off a ledge end over end down the rocks. Kunz made the right moves but would later roll on the A4 climb. Unknown damage later caused the team to roll again, smashing their hopes for a trip to the shootout.
Jesse Haines piloted his freshly rebuilt #199 unlimited buggy with the aid of spotter Brian Howard. The pair had their typical strong showing throughout the regular competition and were sitting well within striking distance for the win as the shootout started. Jesse put the pressure on and went straight for the first bonus climb using his rear wheel steering to climb up and over the impossible ledge. He would be the only one clear the bonus and made short work of the rest of the course. When the dust settled, Haines was in 3rd place, giving Torchmate Racing yet another podium finish.
The team now heads to scenic Moab, UT for some filming before a much needed pause. The action has yet to stop though as the team still has several races to go before putting the 2009 campaign to rest. Mid-November the team will depart for the grand-daddy of them all – the epic Baja 1000. News of the teams plans and sources for live coverage of the race will be available in the coming weeks.
#28 on B3
#28 on B4
#199 on A2
#199 on B3
#232 in the Shootout
#232 on A4