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Whiplash 2009, Race #4 Firebird Monster Truck Nationals

After missing last months Firebird Salt Lake GP I was anxious to get back to racing.  Last month I caught some mutant flu virus the night before the race which prevented me from racing.  I don't have any positive experiences from this Firebird West track, there always seems to be major problems and I never seem to do well and this race was no exception.  This year they added a rutted out, tight, infield section with a rock climb or mud bog, racer's choice.  The rock climb was to the right the mud bug around on the left, both were single lane.  In race 1 the mud bog was so deep it swallowed a quad whole and the guy could not get out.  So obviously everyone was going to take the rocks in race 2 (the race I was in.) 

My quad is still torn apart after I broke my LSR race frame during practice a few weeks ago.  So I would be borrowing my dads 07 Honda 450R which has an HRC kit and revalved shocks.  I started on row 2 with the rest of the Senior Pro class, I didn't get a great holeshot and when I got to the rocks there was a quad stalled on the steep incline.  I was 4th in line in the pile up and the quad in front of me was blocking the alternate route to the mud.  There were people behind me so there was no where for me to go.  We all had to sit while the others who made it through the rocks before the pileup continued racing and putting many seconds on us.  Finally the guy in front of me moved and I was able to make it to the mud bog.  Just as I was getting to the mud bog my pit told me on the radio that they were waving the red flag.  At this point I relaxed and stopped racing.  After 20 seconds or so my radio said they were waving the green flag again so I started racing again.  I made it around 1 or 2 people in my class.  As we were headed down the fast back straightaway I stayed to the right because on lap 1 I noticed a large hole in the landing zone in the middle of the track after the 1st jump.  Another racer, Gregg Sitko was coming on me fast and carrying a lot more speed than I.  He took the middle line and we were side by side, I saw him land in the large rut and immediately he flew over the quad.  It was very scary and violent to see, he had to be going close to 65-70mph.  I looked back and someone had stopped and started waving people around him so I continued on racing.

At this point I was probably in 3rd or 4th because the rest of the people in my class weren't tied up in the traffic jam at the rocks on lap 1.  They decided to red flag the race so that Gregg could get the treatment he needed.  So the race was stopped for 10 minutes.  I had already noticed during the 2nd lap my arms were all pumped up.  I hoped the break would make it go away but after the race was re started my arms were still feeling horrible.  So I just gutted out the rest of the race.  It was really not fun racing knowing I could be going so much faster but I couldn't hold on to the bars.  Everyone in my class was ahead of me and I ended up finishing in 4th.  At one point I almost went over the handlebars going down the rock section but I held on and pulled myself back onto the quad.  I managed to finish ahead of Nick the current points leader because it took him several minutes to get his quad restarted when he stalled on the rocks on lap 1.  My other class rival, Rick Ellsworth ended up wrecking and breaking his steering stem in turn 1.  Joe Shafe beat everyone in our class by a lot, this is his 2nd dominant performance in a row.  He will be tough to beat.

Now that whiplash has decided to allow one throw away race it looks like I am back in the points lead!  But I am still very disappointed in my performance.

All rights reserved copyright © 2008, race photos by DGP Photography and Lagrand Studios
Contact: Trent Kendall: trelken at gmail.com