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Fans get to compete in speedway truck show

September 19, 1998|By GUY FLETCHER

The roar of monster trucks and four-wheel-drive engines invaded the Hagerstown Speedway this weekend for the 4xFun Fest.

Thousands of fans watched trucks speed around the track, inspected the scores of trucks on display and some even took advantage of the opportunity to take a spin in an actual monster truck

"We're having fun. It's mostly for the kids, but I like it, too," said David Tiffany, 30, of Needmore, Pa., who brought his family to the show.

The bulk of the action featured trucks, Jeeps and other four-wheel-drive vehicles competing in numerous timed events, as they negotiated obstacles like sand, mud, hills, tires and crushed cars.

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Most of the competitors are actually motorsport fans who compete as a hobby, said Mike Abernethy, marketing manager for the 4xFun Fest.

"Instead of paying competitors to come in, we have the fans compete," he said.

In many cases, the vehicles also are the everyday mode of transportation for the competitors.

"It's basically taking your truck out here and trying it out on the track," Abernethy said.

Fans attending the event said they enjoy the spectacle of noise, gears and speed.

"It's fun. I kind of wish it was all monster trucks, though," said Tom Nichell of Waynesboro, Pa.

His 8-year-old son, Joshua, agreed that the monster trucks were his favorite, too.

One of the show's highlights was a chance for people to plunk down $5 for a chance to ride in the bed of a monster truck as it spun around a mostly flat gravel track, jarring and thrilling those inside.

"It was fun," said Joe Messersmith, of York, Pa., after he took a ride.

"I think I'm going to be sick," joked Stephanie Stalnake after her ride.

Stalnake and her husband, Arch, drove four hours from their Weston, W.Va., home to attend the show. They said they would have liked to see more mud racing, but added their son was having fun.

"That's the important part," Arch Stalnake said.

The show continues today from noon to 5 p.m. Tickets are $14 at the gate for adults and $5 for children younger than 12. Hagerstown Speedway is off U.S. 40, six miles west of Hagerstown.

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