As the final day of the Bloomsburg jamboree saw first light, all the fans that were coming in were already questioning what would happen, especially with the events of Saturday evening. The main focus, would the XDP truck be ready to go for his attempt at a backflip come that afternoon. When the doors opened, no one had to wait long as already press releases were being sent out, posted all around the facility.
In the morning, Dave Radzierez replaced a few parts and fired up the Cummins to see if it would run. But immediately after, he shut it down. It turned out he hydro-locked the engine, filling the pistons up with water. In doing so, he bent three and possibly up to six push rods. At that point, he talked with Family Events officials and made the final call. The Bloomsburg fans would sadly not get a backflip as the truck was done.
In an interview with Doc Riley prior to the first round of action, Radzierez told everyone that he lives just 60 miles from the fairgrounds, and considers this event his hometown show. He felt devastated about not getting to run for the fans, but made a vow afterwards.
"I promise you...I promise you, next year, I will break that truck in half to put on a show for you fans," he said to the crowd.
But, that didn't mean a show wasn't going to happen. Officials reworked the backflip ramp into a launching pyramid heading right out into the infield. They also moved a couple cars to the backstretch for a second obstacle, and even reworked the mud drag lane into a wheelie bump to give freestyle more of a flare. But, the main focus to start off the afternoon was racing. With Dan Runte already holding two wins on the weekend, and Mat Dishman holding one more, the remaining eight trucks were set to take to the "infinity" design one last time.
What caught everyone a bit off guard was the fact that the Bigfoot team struggled in the first round, although not by their own doing the entire time. Runte had a strong run in the first round, but Mark Hall was on a tear as he got his first win over the lead Bigfoot driver in that race. Larry Swim, however, had more issues. In the first round as well against Darrin Goin of War Wizard, Swim hooked a rut in the first corner, putting the truck up on two wheels. As hard as he tried to get the machine to come back to him, the Raptor went over on it's side, taking a lot of the body with it.
Not exactly how the team wanted to finish their racing weekend in Bloomsburg, but they were going to be ready to freestyle later on.
Hall, meanwhile, made it all the way to the finals against a surprisingly fast Jim Koehler in the Avenger. But there was no question who was the powerful truck in the round that mattered the most. While Koehler was sliding through the second corner, Hall kept it tight, smooth, and just eased his way to the final straightaway, pushing full-throttle on his HEMI to take the victory. The win was his only one of the weekend, but he extends his streak of winning in Bloomsburg to 12 consecutive years, which is the same amount of time he's had the Ram sponsorship with his team.
The final part of the weekend was to let the remaining trucks go out and put on a show for the crowd in freestyle. The only truck not to make an appearance would be Mat Dishman in his Rammunition, who suffered issues after his loss to Hall in the semi-finals.
But, the trucks that made their appearance put on their best performances of the entire weekend. It all was first highlighted by Swim shedding the final parts of his Lucas Oil BIgfoot all over the infield, and was the first to attack the newly redone rocket pyramid that was originally the backflip ramp. Steve Koehler followed suit with some amazing wheelstands and great rooster tails thanks to his buffed tires. After Hall put on his strong run, Runte came out and decided on one hit from the launch stack that he didn't need the hood of his Raptor, so off it come, chassis mounts and all. He continued on with another strong performance, but with one truck left, it was becoming clear who was the best over the weekend.
Koehler brought out the Avenger and was pulling wheelies with ease, and launching off the van stack like he was in Las Vegas, plus hammered the rocket ramp. However, what made the highlight of the weekend was his launch off a ramp that no one touched, due to the fact it was pointing right at what remained of a small lake that normally develops in the Bloomsburg infield after rain because of how it slopes downward.
Koehler hit it with no regrets, launching into "Lake Bloomsburg" and turning the bright green truck into a muddy mess. It was more than enough to close out the weekend with yet another freestyle victory.
The spectacular weekend has come to a close, and now teams have a long layoff until the field makes a voyage to the final jamboree of the year. It also happens to be the biggest.
From September 19-21, the Jamboree tour comes to the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis, Indiana, where both the racing and freestyle champions will be crowned. Plus, Radzierez returns to possibly land a third backflip for the jamboree fans in a town where motorsports are simply a way of life.
For information on the final jamboree of the year, including host hotels, schedule of events, and all the other activities that will be with the show, visit 4WheelJamboree.com.
Sunday Racing Results:
Round 1: Dishman def. S. Koehler; Hall def. Runte; Goin def. Swim (flip); J. Koehler def. Miller
Semi-Finals: Hall def. Dishman; J. Koehler def. Goin
Finals: Hall def. J. Koehler
Special thanks to the following individuals:
Jessica Kirchner & Doc Riley; Family Events
Dan Runte, Larry Swim & Bob Chandler; Bigfoot 4x4, Inc.
Mark Hall, Mat Dishman & Mike Miller; Hall Bros. Racing
Dave Radzierez & Michelle Simpson; Team XDP
Katelin White; Katelin White Photography
Jeff Luckey; Luckey Photo
With only four races remaining, the title will come down to one of four trucks, two each for the two top teams on the tour this year. The Hall Brothers team of Raminator and Rammunition are tied for first, while Larry Swim and Dan Runte of Team Bigfoot are tied for third. It will come down to the final four races to determine a champion.
Should there still be a tie at the top among two or more drivers, the tie-breaker will come down to wins on the season. As of the end of Bloomsburg, Mat Dishman, Mark Hall and Runte each have three wins a piece, with Swim only having one victory thus far on the season.
CURRENT STANDINGS (After 11 of 15 races), 40 points awarded for each round
- Rammunition, Mat Dishman-1440
- Raminator, Mark Hall-1440
- Summit Bigfoot, Dan Runte-1360
- Lucas Oil Bigfoot, Larry Swim-1360
- Avenger, Jim Koehler-1000
- Mopar Muscle, Mike Miller-800
- War Wizard, Randy Moore/Darrin Goin-600
- XDP, Dave Radzierez-600
- The General, Steve Koehler-480