This year it seems many of the major tours have gone from having a “first quarter” schedule to almost actually having a “first third” of the year being part of one tour. That means more shows, and more opportunities for both victory and also breakage.
Hot Wheels Monster Trucks Live is entering into their fourth month of action, and began the month of April at the Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Winston Salem, North Carolina, on a unique two-show weekend where both shows were early afternoon matinees for the North Carolina faithful. All the usual cast of drivers and trucks, along with the tour’s trusted hosts, were ready to welcome in the crowd for the first performance of the weekend, and each driver had their trucks prepared for the best of action.
Right off the get-go was the wheelie competition, which over the last few shows has been won by a multitude of drivers, but this afternoon was taken by the guy carrying the torch for the title sponsor.
Christian Norman stood the Hot Wheels Racing 1 Raptor on the wheelie bar with both hits, and the entire crowd was eating it up. They felt that ride was the best one of the show to that point, and the victory gave Norman the first lead on the night.
Between the events, a few teams decided to water things down, or at least the tires. The reason, the donut contest was up next, and the floor seemed to be a bit tacky compared to previous shows. So some decided in order to get the smoke to roll, they had to water the tires down to actually break traction and let the rubber spin. That seemed to work, but in the end the effort was for not.
The streak again continues on for Steven Snellen as he is getting closer to the 20-win mark in the donut competition, taking yet another one on the season.
Freestyle motocross entertained the fans long enough for the engines to cool down, because it was time to get the launchers ready to score a win in the long jump contest. Every truck lined up ready to soar, but just like a week ago, Derick Anson was on point with the hit, and his flight, because like a week ago, he soared to another win in the category. Three competitions and three different victors were the story heading towards intermission.
Teams were thrashing a bit to ensure each truck was prepared for the second half of the show, and that allowed Megasaurus to have a bit of a late lunch on a midsize car.
As the bracket went round by round, the cream rose to the top because a pair of previous winners made it to the finals, because Norman and Anson were set to throw down to determine the first major winner on the night. The light went green, and call it an advantage to have a slightly nose-down look, but Norman powered across the cars in the left lane enough to get the truck to the finish line first, claiming his second win of the night, and putting him in prime position for a title.
The floor was then cleared of every pylon and starting point, because it was time to get the freestyle finale going, and every truck was heading out fast, hard, and intense.
Each truck was pushing the envelope, but from the middle of the field, it was Norman’s teammate that made the most noise. Darron Schnell had his Bigfoot machine in prime condition, especially with his wife, Rebecca, turning the wrenches in between competition. It gave him the chance to put on a spectacular run, enough to take home the freestyle title. That win also allowed his teammate to secure his first Titan Cup since February, meaning the Bigfoot organization had a full sweep of the big events in show one.
The Titan Cup came home to Pacific, Missouri, and Norman shared in the victory with every fan that came through the autograph line.
Wheelie Competition: Christian Norman, Hot Wheels Racing 1
Donut Contest: Steven Snellen, V8 Bomber
Long Jump: Derick Anson, Demo Derby
Racing Finals: Christian Norman, Hot Wheels Racing 1, def. Derick Anson, Demo Derby
Freestyle: Darron Schnell, Bigfoot
Titan Cup Champion: Christian Norman, Hot Wheels Racing 1
The unique setup for shows allowed a lot of time to prepare the machines for a second performance, and also to test a few new setups to make a better show.
By the time the Sunday Crash Zone opened to fans, each truck was looking excellent in both body lines and chassis setup, so it was clear the final show of the weekend was going to be huge for everyone in attendance. What it ultimately became was a first for a young driver that’s keeping on a family tradition.
Right off the get-go in the wheelie competition, the driver that made the biggest impression had yet to win a show. That was the Bone Shaker hot rod, piloted by Cody Holman, the son of Tiger Shark driver, Bobby. Each hit on the stacks stood the unique machine on the wheelie bar, and the crowd felt the young gun was the best on the afternoon, claiming his first wheelie win in almost one month.
The donut contest was more of the same, both in watering the tires and the finish, as Snellen spun another set of cyclones to keep his streak intact, although he came awfully close to the car stacks and that would have ended his run prematurely.
When the long jump portion of the afternoon approached, Holman again seemed to find the right gear, and the right moment. Holman soared the Bone Shaker far enough to let the front wheels land beyond every other truck, giving him a second win on the night, and already in position to stun the North Carolina crowd.
Still riding high from that win, even after intermission, Holman wanted more, and looked to get as far in racing as he could to make it even more challenging for his competitors. But, he would fall out in the semi-finals, which led to a match-up in the finals between Schnell and Anson.
It was reaction time that was the difference, as Anson fell behind and Schnell took advantage, taking home the racing win on the night and setting up a potential showdown in freestyle, as the Titan Cup was still undecided.
Even that competition was a stunner because it was Snellen who made the V8 Bomber shine. Combined with the usual donuts, he was able to also soar across the van stack and also use every inch of the floor to let the crowd see exactly what the retro Chevrolet could do in a full run. That freestyle was enough to get him the victory in freestyle, but it only tied Holman in the amount of wins on the night. So, a tie-breaker was needed to determine who the Cup was going to.
Because of his ability to go farther in racing, the entire crowd roared when it was Holman that was awarded the trophy, as it was his first of the season, one week after his father earned his first Titan Cup. It took nearly the entire season, but officially every driver on the tour can say they won a Titan Cup, and got to hold that trophy high as they waved to the fans who spent their day seeing toys become reality.
Wheelie Competition: Cody Holman, Bone Shaker
Donut Contest: Steven Snellen, V8 Bomber
Long Jump: Cody Holman, Bone Shaker
Racing Finals: Darron Schnell, Bigfoot, def. Derick Anson, Demo Derby
Freestyle: Steven Snellen, V8 Bomber
Titan Cup Champion: Cody Holman, Bone Shaker
The final show during the inaugural winter-spring tour for the Hot Wheels Live tour happens next weekend. Charlottesville, Virginia, is the site of the final two shows of the inaugural season, at the John Paul Jones Arena. A Saturday night, and a Sunday afternoon, show will highlight the activities, with each having a Crash Zone to let fans get right next to the real-life trucks that match what they find on the shelves at Target, Walmart, and other retailers.
Visit the Hot Wheels Monster Trucks Live site to get your info for the show, and get those tickets, to experience the finale of the first winter tour for this series.