The more things change, the more they stay the same. That certainly could sum up the racing that happened on Saturday at the Bloomsburg Fairgrounds.
Two major racing programs highlighted the day, and in an ironic twist of fate, not only did they see the same eventual winner, but also saw the same four semi-finalists in each round. The unique "heartbeat" style track quickly showed who could actually drive a 10,000 lb. monster truck, rather than just relying on horsepower.
The afternoon program kicked off under partly to mostly cloudy skies, but fans were really excited to see how the second program would go.
Right away, one truck had issues, and it was making it's debut. Fancy Nancy, who one year ago was behind the wheel of Black Knight, brought the same truck back but with an entirely new look. The 2010 Ford Super Duty was wrapped in pink and black, now named Monster Mission. Unfortunately, the mission failed as problems in fueling or ignition plagued the truck right from the start, and got worse as the day wore on.
The usual suspects eventually made it to the final four, as both Team Bigfoot and Hall Brothers Racing made up the two races.
But this time, the Hemi power would prevail as both Mark Hall and Mat Dishman would make it to the finals, ironically a mirror of last year when the two faced one another in the finals in this same venue, and at the same scheduled event.
It turned out to be a similar result as Mark Hall powered the Raminator to victory, his fourth of the season.
SATURDAY AFTERNOON RESULTS
ROUND 1: Bigfoot Bessie defeats Outback Thunda; Raminator defeats XDP; Rammunition defeats Chalkboard Chuck; General Tire defeats Monster Mission; E3 Bigfoot defeats Stabilizer
ROUND 2: Raminator defeats Bigfoot Bessie; Rammunition defeats General Tire; E3 Bigfoot defeats Outback Thunda (FL)
SEMI-FINALS: Raminator defeats Bigfoot Bessie (FL); Rammunition defeats E3 Bigfoot
FINALS: Raminator defeats Rammunition
When it came to freestyle, despite strong runs by both Dave Radzierez in XDP and Dan Runte in the E3 Spark Plugs Bigfoot, the winner of freestyle was Clive Featherby in Outback Thunda, and he never made the full run. Featherby started out by hitting the race course, then the big ramp near the backstretch.
But then he decided to give the tabletop a side slap, and actually went for a backflip unlike any seen thus far, trying to land on the backside of the ramp. Featherby couldn't quite make it, as it landed on the roof, then the side, and finally on all fours.
It was more than enough to make the fans vote him the winner.
By the time the evening program rolled around, Featherby had the bronco horse fixed up, and also Runte and his Bigfoot team made a swap, deciding to put the knobby-style tires on the front axle, hoping for more grip on the loose surface.
It seemed to work as once again, Runte, teammate Darron Schnell, Hall and Dishman were the final four standing, with Runte in as the fast loser from round 2.
But, Runte made his way to his second final of the weekend, and went against the afternoon winner in Hall. Unfortunately for Dan, it was yet another repeat as Hall would once again be top of the mountain, his second consecutive year sweeping the Saturday events.
SATURDAY EVENING RESULTS
ROUND 1: Rammunition defeats Stabilizer; E3 Bigfoot defeats XDP; Bigfoot Bessie defeats Stabilizer; Outback Thunda defeats Chalkboard Chuck; Raminator defeats Monster Mission
ROUND 2: Rammunition defeats E3 Bigfoot; Bigfoot Bessie defeats Outback Thunda; Raminator defeats Stabilizer (FL)
SEMI-FINALS: E3 Bigfoot (FL) defeats Rammunition; Raminator defeats Bigfoot Bessie
FINALS: Raminator defeats E3 Bigfoot
The evening ended with a freestyle extravaganza that saw breakage, big air and excitement. Radzierez was able to bring out the Star Marshal, but only had front steering. On his second jump, the truck took a bad bounce and the rear end kicked around, ending his run early. Shortly after, he brought out XDP, and on his first hit snapped the steering stabilizer on the back axle.
The same nearly happened to Jeff Bursey in the Lucas Oil Stabilizer, but he threw off a rear steering ram on a hard bounce on the frontstretch, ending his night.
One highlight came when Mark Hall roared onto the track in Raminator to start his run. But while everyone was paying attention to the red Dodge, suddenly more thunder came on the backstretch. Teammate Dishman had the camo Rammunition running full tilt, and the two proceeded in the first dual freestyle at the fairgrounds in nearly eight years. Both pulled off wheelstands, donuts and big air, then saluted the crowd in honor of the 25th year of the Bloomsburg jamboree.
After Schnell put on a strong run, Featherby brought out the horse again and faced the task of following up his early performance.
He did just that as a hit off the two-car stack sent the truck sideways, onto the right side, then the nose and finally on the roof. A torn up body was the only damage to Outback Thunda as Featherby thanked the crowd, as this was the one show he wanted to perform at for half a decade, and showed why.
The night ended with Runte putting the newest Bigfoot through it's paces, capping the night off with a firework show for the ages.
One last event awaits the monsters, and with 5 of 11 trucks in need of repairs, it is all hands on deck for many teams. How will Featherby follow up his two rollovers? Will Radzierez pilot one, two, or zero trucks? Will Runte or Hall finish the weekend with yet another trip to victory lane, or will a new face be at the top of the heap?
The final show of the weekend is at 3 p.m. on Sunday.
For a full photo album of the Bloomsburg weekend, CLICK HERE.