Playday Research Archives

To Top

Lisbon Ohio Races in the 90s

• CATEGORIES: Features, Fire/Police/Industry Vehicles, Racing • TAGS: .

Bob admitted he couldn’t remember much about the races in these photographs, other than they were shot in the mid-90s in Lisbon, Ohio; but he got some great photos.  Ok, truth be told, any photo that combines a flattie, desert dogs, and some mud is something I’d consider a great photo 🙂

And here’s a great M-170 Fire Jeep that was watching the action

 
To Top

Late 70s & 80s Racing in the EC4WDA

• CATEGORIES: Features, Racing • TAGS: , .

Inspired by the playday post, I had several emails about racing on the eastern shore of the US in the EC4WDA.

HOG explained how he used to race outlaw races to make money and those would give him money to attend the EC4WDA races for fun.

He writes, “I ran the East Coast 4 Wheel Drive Association from New York to Jacksonville Fla & from Ohio to the eastern shore. I would hit the outlaw races on one weekend & race EC4WDA with the winnings from the outlaw races. I miss doing that & the good friends I had back then.

I drove a 1978 CJ-5 with a 70 AMC AMX 360 motor with T-18 tranny & dana 20 transfer case. Its name was Wind Walker. It was Bright Red & I ran NOS on her to get me out of a class that was too crowded. My ex wife ran it in Powder puffs & won more than me.”

I asked HOG what an Outlaw race was. “Outlaw races were races for anything 4×4 put on by a local group. Mostly, they were hosted by Firemen. Best of all, they paid cash prizes (The EC4WDA didn’t pay cash, instead they gave you a $10 trophy).

I did well as my Jeep looked like a stocker jeep. In fact, I drove it as a daily driver & to the races. Also, when you’d get inspected by someone that had a Chevy or Ford hat you knew he didn’t know nothing about a AMC motor as they look so much the same. My 360 was mistaken for a 304 many times, with its the stock air breather (everything was covered in mud) sitting on top of a Holley spreadbore. I even had a cassette player to play my ZZtop, & a baby seat on the rear seat. Then all I had to do was just (key word) beat the guys I ran against.”

Gerald grew up in the EC4WDA with his brother and family. He forwarded me these pics from his days racing in the EC4WDA.

Here’s a scene familiar to all race days — the morning driver’s meeting:

Gerald tells me this is the line up for the Drags. I remember flatties just like these on the west coast:

You can see the family’s racer at rest and in action in the next two shots.  If I remember correctly, the front loop from this race jeep is now in Gerald’s brother’s new build.

 
To Top

PNW4WDA Playday and Races in 70s

• CATEGORIES: Features, Racing, Women & Jeeps • TAGS: , .

This is a post I have wanted to publish for a while and finally got to drafting it last night. I have a lot of good memories of Playdays.  One of my most powerful memories was a trip to Pendleton, Oregon, for Summer Convention 1975 (I think that was the year).  It was located in the middle of a clearing in a forest: no buildings, just dirt, grass and trees.  I was 10 and pal’d around with Tim and Steve Carter for most of the weekend. We were kids in a candy store, wandering around and through the various camp ‘cities’, made up of campers and tents and people and jeeps, meeting other kids and having a blast. There were an endless stream of club names and club stickers (on the side of the jeeps) that I’d never seen before.   It truly was a different world …

Most of the images below came from the WWJC Scrapbook I borrowed a couple weeks ago.  Because the book was too big to fit on my parent’s scanner, I had to snap photos of them, which explains some of the low quality.

It’s fair to call this a sampling of events, as I hardly went to all playdays.  Feel free to comment on any I’m forgetting and I’ll add them to the post.

We’ll start out with this article in a newspaper about Jeep Racing from the mid 70s. I have to say I was a little surprised at the ‘retarded’ comment, which just highlights how fast language can change.

Jeep Stuffing: For the first event, let’s highlight this this oddball contest.  Here’s Al “Ham” Hamilton in his old jeep Gypsy B.  He and his Wife Barb were founders and deeply involved in the WWJC and the PNW4WA for many years.  The remainder of the people piled on to this jeep appear to be WWJC members as well.

I couldn’t say how this was judged, but it reminds me of the Yipao events in Columbia where they stuff CJ-3Bs with just about everything.

Barrels: Here’s Al again.  This is a classic event that still endures.  Inspired by the barrel racing event you’d find at horse races,  barrels were positioned in a triangle.  The racer starts at a gate, circles around each as fast as they can, then heads back to the gate.

The Gypsy B was Ham’s road/race/trail jeep.  As you can see, Ham didn’t even bother to take off the winch. He even scored some trophies in his jeep (well, at least one big trophy according to the scrapbook).

Potato Stab: In the Potato Stab, a racer races around a track and stops at each box of potatoes to allow the passenger to stab a potato, put it in a sack, and race onward.  The fastest time won.  There were variations of this event. One variation involved popping balloons instead of picking up potatoes.

Balloon Throws: This was just for fun.  Two jeeps would pass each other and water balloons were thrown.  I *think* this picture was taken at the Beverly Sand Dunes in Washington (near Vantage).  In the CJ-5 is my mother driving and my sister riding shotgun, probably in the late 70s.  This is Dad’s post rollover Jeep, note the cage has 4 loops with two in the middle.  It’s the kind of cage you install in your jeep after you’ve rolled down a hill 5 times.

Balance Beam: The balance beam is pretty self explanatory.  Again, this is my mom and sister (which is kind of weird, because I do not remember my sister or mother ever doing any of this). The object was to balance as quickly as you could.  This had to be around 1973 — in other words, this is the pre-rollover jeep.  I’m not sure why the side of the body on this jeep is so beaten up.  I’ll have to ask Dad if he remembers why that is, though I suspect he might say something like “cuz your mom drove it” 🙂

Balloon Pop: In this event, a child drives a course and stops at a special spot.  Once stopped, the child jumps out, runs to the balloon, pops it, runs back to the jeep, and completes the course.  This jeep appears to sport a Bobcat fiberglass body, though it appears to be just a body shell.

Banana Course (no image): In the banana course, a driver drives the course with a passenger.  At a particular spot, the driver stops and the passenger hops out and runs through a little obstacle, consumes a part of a banana, hops back in the jeep and then the driver finishes the course.  There were probably variations of this as well.

Tire Pit: I suspect this is a precursor to the mud bog, but I couldn’t say.  I don’t remember ever seeing this event in person.  I suspect the object is to get out of the pit the fastest?

Obstacle Course: Still included in racing today, this course is a tight course, usually muddy, that racers try to get through as fast as possible. Below is an image of me after an obstacle course at the ORV Park Near Olympia during the 1985 Summer Convention.

Team Relay: This has been and continues to be a traditional end of the playday/summer convention race. It involves four teams of four jeeps and four drivers on one course. The object is to get all four drivers around the course one time. Each team is assigned a colored flag to make it easy to identify the teams while they are racing. The top two teams to finish a round advance to the next round. The team that wins the final round wins a trophy.

When I last raced, this event would take the entire day. There were many, many teams and people. It’s a fun event to participate in and watch.

The first time I ever ran this event (March 1985 on a cold weekend north of Everett), I broke the front driveline in my jeep in the first round, I broke the front driveline in Tim Carter’s race jeep Priority (version 1) in the second round, and I thought I had broke the front driveline of Jim Carter’s jeep Otis in the 3rd round (we lost, so we didn’t advance after that — and I was relieved!), but fortunately I didn’t break it. I have never broken a driveline since. Weird ….

Other events not shown:

Water Course: The object is to get around the course the quickest without spilling water held in a cup by a passenger.  It’s a slow, but comical race.  A derivation of this involves an egg; if I remember correctly, the passenger carries a spoon, on which they balance an egg through the course.  If the egg falls off, they have to stop and can’t start forward again until the egg is back on the spoon.

Tonka Course: Kids put strings on their Tonka vehicles and pull them as they run through a course.  There were other kid-specific courses that I don’t remember.

Backwards: The racer drives a course forward to a stopping point, then has to drive the course in reverse as fast as possible.

The Divorce Course: The driver is blindfolded.  The passenger must tell the driver how to drive the course.

Cross Country Course: This is still in racing today and is a faster, longer course designed for faster speeds.

Hill Climbs: Self Explanatory.  I haven’t seen one of these in a long time, but they got held occasionally.  A derivation, based on the newspaper article above, is the chain hill.  In this event, climbers put chains on their jeeps and try to climb hills.  However, these hill climbs do not compare to those crazy Finnish Hill Climbers.

Drags: Self Explanatory.

King and Queen: This race is still run today. I’m not exactly sure when this was first run. If I understand correctly, this is an elimination race where 2 racers compete against one another.  One racer starts on one half of the track and one on the other.  Each racer completes the entire track.  The first one to complete the race advances to the next round.   The man that wins the final round is King and the woman that wins her final round it Queen.

Sprints: You can still find this racing occasionally (Here are some pics from earlier this year).  This is head-to-head competition where a group of racers have to race a certain number of laps on a course.  I never saw this at a playday, but did watch the Yakima Mud Races with were sprints in mud.

Top Eliminator: Only the fastest winners in certain events (such as the fastest cumulative times in the obstacle, cross country and barrel races for example) race in this race.  There are no separate classes.  The winner is the top racer (male and female brackets) for the weekend.  The race track is usually a tighter version of a cross country course.

 
To Top

Wayback Machine: Old Jeeping Photos from late 70s

• CATEGORIES: Features, Racing • TAGS: , , .

Here’s some great old photographs from the 1970s.  They document some of the events attended by the Good Time Four Wheelers.  The image below was from the 3rd Annual Green River Valley Jeepers in 1976.  I attended one of their playdays in 1981 (I think).  It was located between Black Diamond and Enumclaw;  I wouldn’t be surprised if the area is full of homes now.

I’m suprised that as late as ’76 they weren’t requiring cages to race.  It wouldn’t be too long before they were required.  View all the pics (lots of desert dogs) at the pnw4wda forum.

oldracing_grvjc_1976