PEI Mudrooters 4x4 Rally
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"Mudrooter" Merchandise is popular at these events

---Desable, Prince Edward Island, Canada-------

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Author: Phil Hansford
Photographer: Phil and Tanya Hansford
Edited by: Phil Hansford - 7/2001

Canada's Smallest Province has its Share of Big Wheel Action!

map.jpg
A map of the course, highlighting obstacles

A few years ago, several friends regularly got together to wheel their trucks and see who would get stuck first. This became a bit of an event, and it began to attract a crowd. Seeing the potential for a larger audience, the friends decided to buy some land, design a course, and invite other 4-wheeling enthusiasts to try out their rigs. The result is the PEI Mudrooters, who now stage 4-wheeling competitions in Desable PEI, twice a month.

In order to take part in the event, each competitor is required to sign a waiver and wear a safety helmet. With an eye for safety, all competitors are required to wear crash helmets, in case you suddenly find your tires pointing at the sky! You compete against vehicles in your class (based on engine size), and sign up for events when you register. You can choose from the "King of the Hill Contest", the "Offroad Slalom Race", or the "100 Foot Mud Pit".

We decided to join the fun, and signed up for all three events, driving our 1989 Mitsubishi Montero.

The Offroad Slalom Race

Most Mudrooter Rallies start off with an offroad slalom race. Drivers are timed as they make two laps of the figure-eight track. In two sections, the track has what can only be described as a launch pad, where most vehicles completely leave the ground. At either end of the track is a loop - the farthest loop goes around a barrel, whereas the nearest one has high banks, and is appropriately known as the "bowl".

TN_niva_rolled.JPG slalom_start.JPG off_the_ground.JPG
A Sami misses the turn and ends up on its roof! I try my luck in the offroad slalom On the launchpad, all four tires leave the ground!
TN_slalom_motion.JPG TN_slalom_compression slalom_bowl
Finally the straight-away, but watch the mudhole! My IFS bottoms out on a nasty hump... And into the bowl we go...lots of red dust

I completed the offroad slalom in 1 minute, 21 seconds, good enough for third place in my class. I caught some air on the launch pad, and had fun flying around the bowl. My navigator was astute enough to keep me out of the mudpit as we went down the middle of the figure-eight! Thanks Mike!

"The King of the Hill"

At the back of the Mudrooters course is a hill made entirely of red PEI clay. The competitors start, one at a time, from a point 60 feet from the base of the hill, and attempt to scale its slippery face. Those who make it move to the 40 foot mark, and again attempt to conquer the hill. If anyone is left, the climb is moved to within 20 feet of the base - this is where all but the most agile vehicles are left stranded partway up. Each driver gets two attempts, after which he/she must concede defeat and step aside. If no competitor is successful at a particular distance, the truck which makes it closest to the top is pronounced King of the Hill for his/her particular vehicle class.

hillclimb_half.JPG hillclimb_almost.JPG hillclimb_top.JPG
I think I can, I think I can... I can almost feel the skidplate buckling... Success...uh, is that wheel off the ground?

The 8 cylinders went first, and chewed up the hill pretty good, so by the time my class was up, the hill had a huge rut on the right- hand side. I was successful up to the 20 foot mark, when the remaining competitor (in a 94 Blazer) was unable to make it, and I thought the crown was mine. BUT then a last minute entry appeared, driving his boss' brand new 2001 Blazer, and the competition got a little closer. We were both successful at the 20 foot mark, and it was time to move to within 10 feet of the base, before making the climb. At this distance from the ascent, it was difficult to get any momentum, and my first attempt got me 3 feet from the top, before I caught the ruts. I carefully backed down, and made attempt number 2; This time I got within 2 feet of the top, but the old ruts came back to haunt me again, and I had to back down, move aside, and see how the "Boss' Blazer" did. His first attempt was an echo of mine, but his second attempt put him within 1 foot of the top! (Must be the extra 50 horses in that 4.3!!) I had to settle for second place!

The 100 Foot Mud Pit!

In the middle of the course, is an ominous 100 foot stretch, filled with the stickiest mud you can imagine. After the king of the hill contest, the "bad boys" of the dirt stage two mud competitions:

mud_start.JPG TN_mud_mid.JPG TN_mud_deep.JPG
The secret to crossing the mud pit is SPEED On my first attempt, I didn't have enough Let's try this one more time?
TN_muddy.JPG mud_end.JPG finished.jpg
A large berm at the end impedes my progress Okay, bring on the backhoe! I ain't moving! I don't want trophies - Just car wash coupons!

After our fun on the hill, I decided to plunge my freshly waxed Montero into the mud. Fortunately, I was the only one in my "class" who was willing to subject my vehicle to such degradation, so I was competing against myself. This turned out to be a good thing, since I was only able to get about 3/4 of the way across before I ran out of steam, and had to get extricated by the backhoe that lay in waiting!

Conclusion

trophy_mud.JPG
"Here is my trophy for 2nd place on "the Hill"
The PEI Mudrooters operate throughout the summer from Desable PEI, which is 20 minutes west of Charlottetown, off the Trans Canada Highway. If you find yourself in the area on a Sunday, drop by and check out the action. Runs usually get under way around 1:00.

The Mudrooters Rally was fun to watch, and even more fun to participate in. All manner of trucks were represented, from full-size diesels, to beat-up old farm trucks. There were even a few old cars, for a twist on the offroad slalom. I learned a little more about the limits of my truck, and I have a new-found respect for those big Chevy engines! I came away with a trophy, a lot of mud on my truck, and a silly grin on my face.

Contacts: Related Links
  • PEI Mudrooters Inc.
  • Desable, PEI, Canada
  • (902) 628-2127

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