Like the crowds of ancient Rome gathering to watch gladiators fight to the death, people still seek thrilling entertainment.Saturday, the modern version takes place at the Lewiston Roundup Grounds where trucks, cars, all-terrain vehicles and UTVs will face off against the terrain and each other.
What happens next is “Dukes of Hazzard” with “some of the most redneck things you could ever think of,” says Triple Crown Off-Road Racing event creator Eric Christiansen, 41.
The race, now in its third year, is three events. First trucks and ATVs race around an oval mud bog with jumps and 3-foot-deep mud.
“The jump was designed to keep the speed down. It didn’t work,” Christiansen says.
Then UTVs and ATVs race an off-road track.
In the third event, trucks and cars race off-road, head-to-head. The only rule is that they must bump or crash to pass. Emergency medical personnel and tow trucks are on hand.
To his knowledge, beside a broken nose or two, no one has ever been seriously injured, Christiansen says. Sometimes, however, his emphasis on safety is not appreciated. Last year a man balked at the rule that he must wear a seatbelt and helmet but finally agreed. Then he asked how many people could ride in his truck during the race. He was told one and he wondered if she had to wear a helmet too.
Christiansen started putting on motorcycle races in the Lewiston-Clarkston Valley six years ago at the suggestion of his friend Ryan Rogers. He’d raced motorcycles since he was a child but says he never imagined staging his own race. His first drew 3,000 people. He now organizes three Supercross races a year and has attracted Yamaha as a title sponsor.
Later Christiansen started adding events for other racers. Off-roading and mud bogging isn’t his thing, he says, but he knows other people like it and maybe if they’re here they won’t be out tearing up Waha.
A couple days before each event Christiansen and a team start building a track. With a bulldozer and shovels they dig up all the dirt in the Lewiston Roundup arena and shape it into curves, straight-aways, jumps and whoops. Then they ride it. If an area leans toward the dangerous side they will tear it down and rebuild it. They do not bring in outside dirt because extraneous rocks or broken glass could hurt the horses there regularly. After the race they comb the grounds level and smooth.
The Supercross racers range from children to professionals like Cole Siebler who race for a hefty purse. At the Triple Crown racers are in it for the glory. Vehicles worth thousands of dollars will race beside junkers.
“You’ll laugh. And then you’ll laugh until your stomach hurts. Then two days later you’ll be mowing your lawn, you’ll start laughing all over again,” Christiansen says.
Preregistration for the Triple Crown is required. People can register at The 4×4 Store in Clarkston. Cost is $20 per class. There is a $12 pit pass for each person with a maximum of four people per racer.
if you go
WHAT: Triple Crown Off-Road Racing
WHEN: Saturday, gates open at 5 p.m., racing at 7
WHERE: Lewiston Roundup Grounds
ADMISSION: $15 adults, $12 youth, kids age 5 and younger free. Advance tickets are $12 for adults and $8 for youth and available in Lewiston and Clarkston at Les Schwab Tire, Hot Shot Espresso, John’s Saw Service, Rogers Toyota/Scion, The 4×4 Store, and online at www.lewistonroundup.org.