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By Ray Alexander
This event was held at Moreno’s Cantina in Orange, California. My mind pictured a slightly garish, brightly lit, and brightly colored establishment standing alone; I passed by twice before finding it. The standing alone part was correct, but it was hidden by trees and had little outside lighting. I knew it was the right place when I saw a General Tire banner.
There were well more than 100 in attendance. I met some of the outspoken, maybe succinct is a better word, folks that post on the forum. One post that I recall: a question was posed, “What sponsorship can be expected?” The answer, “Nothing.” I knew that sponsor well.
I looked over the trophies. The one for coming the longest distance to race was awarded to Ted Holt. He came from Georgia and only raced Vegas to Reno. I liked that award. The top 10 had a nice gift, a bottle of wine with a fake label. The person’s name was printed on the label, and it came from their vineyard. I heard Clive say the wine was his wife’s idea.
There comes a time when you have more trophies than you want in some category. I found if you box them the grandkids will eventually take them.
The time had come to get a plate. There was chicken and beef for fajitas and tamales along with rice and beans. I am poor at building food so I went with tamales. It’s a cantina – no one expected prime rib. Michelle successfully busted in line so she could begin giving door prizes while others were eating. General Tire donated a set of tires. I wanted to win those so that I could give them back. Sunoco donated five $100 bills. This was won by Tim Martin; he lives in Utah and was not present. He got a check instead of greenbacks.
There was a standing award from Clive’s father that went to the racer who went out of his way to help others and raised the bar in other areas. This went to Todd Jackson. He was away visiting family; his co-driver Mike Barnett accepted the award.
The rookie of the year was Brandon Berge in the 3700 Class. The Koan brothers wanted to recognize Jeepspeed, and they had a budget. With help from Clive a decision was reached to pay Brandon’s entry fee for Parker. He also received the Howe Power Steering Award as rookie of the year. He finished second in the 3700 Class, second at Bluewater, and won Henderson. His partner is Reyes and they were so pumped. The size of their team is two.
Todd Jackson finished in third place in the 1700 Class. Eric Heiden finished second; he had his entire team accompany him to accept the award. He said, “I have the biggest and best race team.” I didn’t count them, but my guess would be nine.
Mike Vernak was the top dog in the 1700 Class. He won the Henderson race still running the junkyard engine that he got at Parker.
Third place in the 3700 Class went to Bob Mamer. Bob grows hay in the Imperial Valley; this valley extends from roughly Indio to the Mexican border. A lot of vegetables for human consumption come from Imperial Valley.
Brandon Berge was second and has already been mentioned. There will be new entries in the 3700 Class for 2013, but I am going to keep my eye on this guy.
Billy Bunch won the 3700 Class and announced that he was going a different direction in 2013. He said, “It has been proven that the easiest way to win a championship was to buy a vehicle that has won one, and I have three for sale. Each one has won a championship within the last three years.”
Jeepspeed appears to be doing well. They are retaining current sponsors and getting some new ones. Both classes will have new entries in 2013. About $10,000 in prizes and money was awarded at the ceremony.
Allpar is not continuing the same relationship with Jeepspeed next year; Allpar’s place is being taken by General Tire.
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