REALLY BIG EASTER JEEP SAFARI
Our trip to Moab’s Easter Jeep Safari this year was an insane one. Our trail list included Area BFE, Pritchett Canyon, Moab Rim, Hells Revenge, Steel Bender, Golden Spike and Flat Iron Mesa. We hit the trails with a fresh batch of the new JL Wranglers setup with mid travel kits from Rock Krawler. We have two setups with these builds a 2.5” lift with King Shocks and 37” Dick Cepek tires on KMC wheels, and 3.5” Fox Shocks with 40” Mickey Thompson tires on KMC wheels.
Along with the JL builds was @ GRDLOC - an 83’ stretched CJ7, @ ROQTACO - a 2017 Tacoma, @ TheGavelJK - a two-door stretched and heavily modified Wrangler, as well as JKU Wranglers @SPYDERAUTO, @ BATTLESHIPJK, @BADPENNYJK, @14STORMTROOPER and @ RUBICLUNK. All of the builds were amazing on the trail. It was impressive to watch how little was added to the JL’s, and yet how easily they kept up with the more modified builds. We had never ventured into the trails in AREA BFE before, and the high level of difficulty made it a real eye opener. Most trails in Area BFE start at the level the rest of Moab’s trails finish. We hit a moderate trail, keeping the lighter modified jeeps to bypasses while the more heavily built rigs powered through while @GRDLOC pulled up Suicide Hill in an almost vertical assault on the obstacle.
The following days we hit up iconic trails like Moab Rim, Golden Spike and Hell’s Revenge. These trails are stunning with their surreal views of the snowcapped mountains, sandstone walls and solemn desert basins. While these trails don’t offer the difficulty, the length of these intermediate trails can wear out any rig.
The beating the rigs took over the week without failing was a testament to the quality of parts used. I have come to realize that just because parts are expensive or seem like a great addition, they don’t always perform to expectations. We had the most expensive parts leave great builds incapacitated on the trail, while the simplest rigs rolled through with ease.
One of my favourite trails and the hardest
to run in Moab is Pritchett Canyon. This trail will leave marks on your rig and your ego if you can’t check them at the trailhead. We rolled through this trail with caution and 20 minutes into a 4 hour run, @GRDLOC had a hydraulic leak from a weld on its full hydro steering system at Chewy Hill. Luckily with some odds & ends from Tony at Genright we were able to seal up the steering pump and run the rest of the trail without further issues. We started that day with a dozen rigs and all of them made it through. Two of the most impressive achievements were by Scosche and R1 Concepts, both with brand new JL’s, and novice drivers, who made it through with determination, while testing new Jeep parts from their companies.
The week wrapped up with a run sponsored by KMC wheels, on Flat Iron Mesa located 30 minutes south of Moab. We pulled up to see iconic industry personalities like the Curries, Mel Wade, Loren Healy (a King from the Hammers) and even the man who made King of the Hammers what it is today, Dave Cole. It was an awesome trail ride stacked with these industry leaders, and watching them roll over obstacles during the run was humbling. At one point, one of the executives from KMC launched their V8 JK build 1.5 metres in the air going up a waterfall while we all watched in awe. This is the cornerstone of Moab and wheeling in general, anyone can feel like a king.
I like wheeling with companies that are involved in the industry. They know what off-roaders really need and want, because they are on the trails with us looking to see how their parts perform and how they can be improved. Parts like a simple mount or roll bar attachment from Scosche, lights from Spyder Auto, brakes from R1 Concepts, or a self-spotting camera system from Red Peak, have been trail tested and refined for drivers to enjoy. Nicholas Ashby is the owner of Rockstar Performance Garage, a custom-vehicle, joint venture with Rockstar Energy drink. He works with many top brands including Magnaflow Exhaust to connect companies, people and passion through events, social media and partnerships.