The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

By Andrew Christiansen

Big hits at Jaycee's 40th demo derby


Andrew Christiansen

MAYHEM: Dan Young is slammed into the concrete barrier by Brian Woolery while Dana Weber lines up to put another hit on Young who was knocked out of the second heat.

Three cars and five trucks doesn't sound like much for a demolition derby, but a packed house at the Klickitat County fairgrounds was treated to action packed heats with some of the hardest hits in memory. Nobody was hiding as the drivers were more than willing to stick their noses into crushing hits, sacrificing front suspensions and radiators, apparently looking more for the thrill than the prize money. It was the 40th Goldendale Jaycees' Fourth of July Demolition Derby and the carnage made stars out of the pit crews as much as the drivers.

Dale Arp, in his 32nd Goldendale derby, did the forward and backward figure 8 time trials in 46.03 seconds to earn the $50 prize for best time. People's Choice award went to the Tom Herrington Memorial entry by Jaren Ladiges, earning him $50.

Car division

Rory Duncan came all the way from Forks, Wash., and made a big mark in his debut at Goldendale. Duncan won the opening heat for the cars, a three lap dirt track circle race, bumping not only allowed, but encouraged. There was little of that, however, and Duncan came from last to first to claim the $100 as a heat winner. Justin Woolery was second and Arp, who tried a little backwards racing after spinning out, finished last. In heat two, Duncan landed several big hits to earn the $100 hardest hit award sponsored by Goldendale Exhaust. All of Duncan's hits were nose first, causing extensive damage to his own car. When asked why, Duncan pointed to all the rust, saying "the paint is the only thing holding the rear end together." His onslaught earned him another $100 as heat two winner.

Duncan became the target in the final heat, taking hard shots from Arp and Woolery. Duncan was soon eliminated and Woolery went after the severely damaged Arp car. Only help from great mechanics got Arp into the final race. He had a welded cast iron part on his front left wheel that was broken on the first hit of heat two. That corner of the car looked good compared to the other corner that was also damaged from several Duncan blasts. Somehow the wheels went back on, the radiator was replaced and Arp had a shot at winning. The final blow came when Woolery slammed into the rear end of Arp's car, lifting the wheels off the ground and pushing the car into a berm at the east end of the track. Woolery was pinned under Arp's car and Arp couldn't move with rear wheels in the air. Woolery was awarded the win for making the last hit. Woolery earned $650, Arp $350 and Duncan $250.

Truck division

The pit crew was given credit for Dan Young's win in the pick-up division. After having his truck towed out of the arena after the second heat, with the right front wheel dangling, it looked like Young would have trouble repeating as truck champion. But, the pit crews are the real stars of demo derby and they didn't seem fazed by the fact the upper A arm was no longer connected to the wheel. They cut a large diameter steel rod and welded it into place just as the call went out for trucks to return for the final heat.

Young, Brian Woolery and Ladiges were involved in most of the action in the early going of the first truck heat. Woolery was fortunate to last for long with a crooked right rear wheel, which had been replaced after the axle separated from the truck at the end of time trials. Dana Wells was quickly sidelined with electrical problems and Ladiges fell by the wayside with steering problems. Young was the eventual winner of the first heat.

Woolery put the coup de grâce on Young in the second heat, pinning the defending champion against the concrete barrier. Darren Scott took a hard hit to the front of his truck, dumping all of his fluid on the ground. A short time later the race was stopped to tend to a smoldering engine in Scott's pickup. At the time, Ladiges was dead in the water and Woolery seemed stuck. Weber was able to refire her truck and Woolery got going in time for each to take a swipe at one another. The trucks separated and died. The judges determined that Woolery made the last hit and he was awarded the $100 heat money.

In the finals, Scott made it to the arena, but quickly retired, which is more than Ladiges managed. He had taken such a hard hit that the distributor cap was broken and they didn't have a spare. He sat out the final battle. Broken motor mounts and drive line problems left Ladiges saying the 4U pick-up had run its last race.

That left three trucks to duke it out and it soon came down to two, Weber and Young. Young put a hard lick on Woolery, knocking off the right rear wheel again and while he struggled to move, he became the jelly in a Weber and Young sandwich and his day was done.

Weber took and dealt out a number of hard hits over the final minutes. Her team finally had solved their electrical problems, finding bad wiring that was shorting out the battery. But seat damage had Weber bouncing all over the front seat and Young was launching rear-end first power shots to all sides of Weber's truck until it could take no more. When asked how he managed to be a repeat winner at the annual event, Young quickly said, "A good pit crew and great welder (Jay Counts)."

Bikes and quads

Andrew Christiansen

GAME OVER: Rory Duncan puts the final hit on Dale Arp to win the second heat.

There was also action from quad and motorcycle racers between derby heats. Each group ran three races over the hilly, circular course. In the small quad/small bike division, Poseidon Essex was first and Brodie Beckstrand was second. T.C. Read was first in 80cc to 90cc quads, over Reanna Oswalt with Elliot England finishing third.

The best racing came from the 250cc and greater quads where Bert Oswalt tried to show the youngsters how to race. Oswalt had great starts, but twice stalled in the first turn and spend the time chasing. He tried to make a pass in the moguls along the bucking chutes in the final race, but lost control and dumped the quad, putting himself in the rear, chasing again. The winner was Maverick Frantum with Cameron Read second and Oswalt third. Jared Bryan and Colton Ramsey put on a show in the dirt bikes, sharing wins with Bryan who was overall winner.


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