Vicious Off-Road at ORE 2018
By Justin Banner
You can’t be a proper off-road shop without touring the top off-road show in the US. We check out the 2018 Lucas Oil Off-Road Expo presented by General Tire at the Pomona Fairplex.
The Off-Road Expo is the second biggest show for off-roading in the US after the SEMA Show. You can also say it’s the fourth biggest event you can hit in the US when you include the big races like The Mint 400, The King of the Hammers, and the Rage at the River. Simply put, if you aren’t here you’re not off-roading.
The big names of the off-road world show up like Currie Enterprises, Fox Racing Shocks, K&N, and many others. You also see representatives of Ultra4, SCORE, Best in the Desert (BITD), and other big sanctioning bodies announce their schedules for 2019. The big announcement, at least from the typical Jeeper side was the update to the Ultra4 schedule.
For 2019, the Lasernut Western Regional Series will go south of the US border to San Felipe, Baja, Mexico. In an already worldwide series, the expansion into Baja, Mexico is unsurprising as it is one of the best areas of off-roading outside of the Southwest of the United States. It won’t be the only regional visiting outside the US as the North Regional Series will tour up to Alberta, Canada. For the East Coast, the 4 Wheel Parts Eastern Regional Series adds Adventure Off Road Park in Pittsburg, Tennessee.
The thing the fans come for is see the latest products from their favorite brands to install on their Jeep. Wheels, suspension, tires, panels – you name it you’ll find it here. We even roamed around to find new and innovative products to start offering you guys, too.
It’s not just about parts at the Off-Road Expo. There were many Jeeps to look at from wild JL Wranglers, extreme JKs…
To this massive monster Wills. It’s called “Big Willy” and is a hand built Willys-Overland MB upscaled to fit 52-inch Michelin Tires for five-ton military trucks. It has a Cummins R2.8 four-cylinder turbodiesel crate engine with a GM 6L80E six-speed automatic transmission, NP205 transfer case, and Dana 60 Axles. In true CJ fashion, it’s sitting on leaf springs that fit under the axles front and rear. Yes, the windshield folds down and the massive steering wheel is how you steer it. It is a giant-scale version of the CJ in nearly every way you can.
It wouldn’t be an off-road show if there wasn’t some dirty action going on and that was provided by the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series, Terra Crew, and Shreddy’s Blake Wilkey in his turbocharged LS buggy. The youngest stars were probably the most fun to watch, doing their best to drive just as hard as the ProLights and UTVs did. Trey Eggleston was able to get his Mod Kart drift, jump and slide like its bigger ProLight cousin. The RZR 170s driven by Geroge Llamosas and Travis Sallee were doing their finest to drive like the UTVs of Nathan Barry and Jason Merrell. They were able to kick up some roost and get some air in these tiny UTVs.
However, bringing down the house was the wild driving antics that Wilkey and his turbo-LS were known for. Even while in a full slide, he was able to get the inside wheel to pick up. It would hit the table top with enough force to bottom out the massive travel off-road suspension but he and his ride-along weren’t bothered by the landing because of its design.
The 2018 Lucas Oil Off-Road Expo presented by General Tires was another great experience. Not only did we find some awesome parts but just everything around it was an off-roader’s dream come true. Next up on our event schedule is the largest show for anyone involved in the automotive sector – the 2018 SEMA Show in Las Vegas, NV.