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2003 4x4 BLAST - Smacker

By Brad

Each year at the 4 x 4 Blast, picking which trail to run can be very difficult. Narrowing all the choices down to "the one" this year was no different. It was decided we had to try the new one called "Smacker". I never did hear why it's called "Smacker", but I am sure there is a good story to it. Our expert trail guides for the day were Frank Smith and Bryan Baker. It did not take long to realize these guys really know this trail well.

On "Smacker", I think you actually can say there are three separate sections. The first section starts easy enough, then quickly turns into a very tight trail. There are quick elevation changes and lots of tight turns. The very dry conditions let us move fairly quickly with little problems. I think we had one person sick, one overheated Jeep and one nagging turn signal problem. Add water, and this section would have a whole different look of difficulty level.

After a couple of hours of wheelin' we went to Bryan's farm for lunch break. Sitting on top of a hill under a shade tree with a nice breeze was a welcome break.

The second section is the drive between sections one and three. It sounds easy enough, but proved very challenging. Driving in drought conditions in ninety degree heat down a gravel road about 46 miles long created so much dust it was blinding. "Tanker" Schultz was in the rear and had a hard time going over 25mph and was quickly falling behind. Team Plesko's fearless leader, Jimbo, always there for rescue and recovery, fell back for support. With visibility in the dust down to 25 feet, they quickly became disoriented at the first intersection. After some expert advice from fellow Plesko teammates, they were able to fall back in line. On this section, a pair of aviator goggles and a kerchief are a must. This dust was thick!

Section three started with some real fun drops and climbs in and out of a creek and the woods. The trail began with some real tight crawls winding through some extreme articulation challenges. You really have to pick your line through this stuff. The trail then opens up and has some real fun challenges. Going up rocky slopes followed by nose-standing down hills. The "Grand Finale" was a huge up-hill where everyone was given two chances to make-it or break-it. This was highlighted by Dave Christensen's impressive three second rear wheel stand on his second try. He backed to the bottom and received huge applause and it was decided he would get a third try for such an impressive show. Once again, he stood it up, but was able to come down and keep momentum going, clawing and bouncing to the top.

Overall, it was a great day of wheelin' and fun. This trail is definitely two thumbs up and worth running. As with all the trails, the difficulty would be so much more if it wasn't so dry, but it still offers plenty.

Special thanks to our trail guides, Frank and Bryan. Also to the landowners for making this run one that won't soon be forgotten.

Created: 10/14/03