January 21-22, 2012
Saturday 7 P.M.: Maximum Destruction
Sunday 2 P.M.: Mohawk Warrior
Saturday 7 P.M.: Maximum Destruction
Sunday 2 P.M.: Avenger
Monster Jam® Trucks: including Grave Digger® driven by Rod Schmidt, Monster Mutt® Dalmatian driven by Candice Jolly, Mohawk Warrior℠ driven by George Balhan, Maximum Destruction® driven by Tom Meents, Avenger driven by Jim Koehler, Wrecking Crew driven by Steve Koehler, Brutus driven by Chris Bergeron, Spike driven by Rich Hilgendorf, Aftershock driven by Bob Robbins, Krazy Train driven by Mark Noto, Crushstation driven by Greg Winchenbach, and Northern Nightmare driven by Cam McQueen!
Saturday 7 P.M.
(Toronto, ON) The 2012 Maple Leaf Monster Jam Tour roared into Rogers Centre on Saturday, January 21st for the first of two shows scheduled for the weekend. And if tonight’s event is any indicator of future performance, Ontario fans should be set for an incredible weekend of motor sports.
Nine-time World Champion Tom Meents in Maximum Destruction was red hot as he steered his incredible monster truck to the coveted Double Down Award. After a huge win in Racing, Meents backed it up against the sport’s toughest competitors on route to the Freestyle win.
Standing in Maximum Destruction’s way tonight would be a who’s-who of Monster Jam stars. Some of those stars included George Balhan in Mohawk Warrior, Chris Bergeron in Brutus, Rod Schmidt in Grave Digger, two-time World Champion Jim Koehler in Avenger, Candice Jolly in Monster Mutt Dalmatian, and the yet-to-be defeated Cam McQueen in the brand new all-Canadian Northern Nightmare.
Monster Jam Racing Round One saw Avenger tame Monster Mutt, Brutus halt Krazy Train, Northern Nightmare beat Spike, Maximum Destruction eliminate Crushstation, Grave Digger snuff out Aftershock, and Mohawk Warrior skin Wrecking Crew.
Round Two Racing action saw Team Scream members Brutus and Avenger meet at the starting line. At the finish line, it would be veteran Jim Koehler taking the checkers. Grave Digger went on to defeat Mohawk Warrior in a great race, while Maximum Destruction driver Tom Meents handed Cam McQueen in Northern Nightmare his very first loss. It certainly did not help matters that McQueen found himself upside down in the final corner before the finish line.
Semi-Final Racing brought back Mohawk Warrior as Fast Loser to meet Avenger. This time, George Balhan made no mistake as he shot off the starting line in a huge hurry and took the important win. The other semi saw Maximum Destruction roar past Grave Digger in a thrilling race.
The Pizza Pizza Monster Jam Racing Final paired Maximum Destruction against Mohawk Warrior. With nineteen years in the business and nine World Championships to his credit, Tom Meents certainly has proven to be one of the toughest hombres to ever saddle into a monster truck. Meents would demonstrate his incredible skill once again as he finessed his Maximum Destruction machine around the challenging course on route to his first victory of the night.
Things would continue to go in the right direction for Maximum Destruction in Monster Jam Freestyle. For a long period of time, it appeared that Candice Jolly’s Monster Mutt Dalmatian would be impossible to beat as she sailed the big mutt to a competition-leading score of 27 points. Grave Digger driver Rod Schmidt put in a great effort as well, but managed just 26 points from the tough Pizza Pizza Judges. Greg Winchenbach in Crushstation looked particularly good as well in just his second stadium show ever. Rollovers included Wrecking Crew, Northern Nightmare, and Avenger. But when the dust settled, it was Tom Meents in Maximum Destruction hoisting the Double Down award as winner of both Racing and Freestyle here tonight in Toronto. It was a performance that Ontario fans won’t soon forget.
The drivers earned the following Freestyle scores:
Northern Nightmare: 10
Mohawk Warrior: Transmission Problems
Krazy Train: 16
Wrecking Crew: 16
Monster Mutt Dalmatian: 27
Grave Digger: 26
Maximum Destruction: 33
In other motor sports action, Team Canada rider Melissa Ranger shocked the competition in Quad Wars with her first-ever Maple Leaf Tour Feature Win. In the Freestyle Motocross Jam Session, riders Ben Milot, Treavor Vines, Jeff Banks, Rick Janesky, Ray Post, and Mike Vaters wowed the crowd with their high-flying antics, which included several Backflips and a hair-raising crash.
The second and final event of the weekend is scheduled for Sunday at 2:00 P.M. here at Rogers Centre in Toronto. Can Cam McQueen in Northern Nightmare return with a vengeance and knock off Maximum Destruction? Can Grave Digger stop the nine-time World Champion? Can Monster Mutt take a bite out of the competition? These, and many more questions are soon to be answered here in this great Canadian city.
We will see you on Sunday!
By Darren PallenSunday 2 P.M.
(Toronto, ON) Sunday Monster Jam action opened with the Pizza Pizza/NGK Spark Plugs Pit Party at 11:00 A.M. sharp. All of the Maple Leaf Monster Jam Tour stars were in attendance, and were more than happy to discuss the upcoming competition with their devoted fans. Just one hour later, the track was cleared and prepped for what would turn out to be an incredible afternoon of Monster Jam action.
Certainly the man to beat on Saturday night was Tom Meents in Maximum Destruction. However, Sunday would not go quite as well for the nine-time World Champion as he experienced ignition problems early in the afternoon, wiping out his chances of competing in Monster Jam Racing. The other drivers, however were a little more fortunate and Round One produced some very close finishes.
Round One saw Avenger defeat Spike, while Monster Mutt Dalmatian chewed up Wrecking Crew. Next, it was Northern Nightmare over Brutus, and Crushstation defeated Krazy Train. Grave Digger received a bye run as a result of Maximum Destruction’s mechanical woes, and Mohawk Warrior skinned Aftershock.
In Round Two, Mohawk Warrior continued his strong afternoon by disposing of Avenger. Monster Mutt Dalmatian defeated Northern Nightmare, and Grave Digger shut down Crushstation.
After Round Two and moving into the Semi-Final, Avenger was declared Fast Loser. Unfortunately for driver Jim Koehler, however, Avenger suffered a broken axle and was unable to make the starting line. As “second” Fast Loser, Cam McQueen in Northern Nightmare got the call but was unable to defeat a charging George Balhan in Mohawk Warrior. The other Semi saw Candice Jolly in Monster Mutt defeat Grave Digger in a heart-stopping finish.
The Monster Jam Racing Final was a nail-biter from start to finish. Both Mohawk Warrior and Monster Mutt Dalmatian were ready for a close race, but no one in the building quite expected just how tight this finish would really be. While Jolly called upon her many years and many championships in go-kart racing, Balhan had a similar background in that he is a former Quad Wars Champion. When both trucks left the starting line, things remained very even up until the mid-point of the course. At that point, Balhan began to show his Mohawk Warrior horsepower. Both trucks came out of the final corner with the pedal to the floor and in the end it was Mohawk Warrior taking the victory, his first ever Speed TV win!
Moving into Freestyle, Balhan was seeking the coveted Double Down award. But as everyone in the Rogers Centre was aware, it would not be an easy task due to the incredible level of talent behind the steering wheels of these ten thousand pound Monster Trucks. Bob Robbins in Aftershock had a particularly impressive run as he maneuvered his New York based truck around the challenging course. He hit several Long Jumps, which brought Toronto fans to their feet.
It wasn’t just Aftershock who got the crowd going. In fact, it was Mr. Excitement himself. After watching teammate Chris Bergeron in Brutus carve his way to a score of 30 points, Jim Koehler in Avenger could wait no longer. The two-time Freestyle World Champion got to work in a big way and gave Ontario fans what they came to see. Koehler’s Freestyle was so good, in fact, that it just may qualify as a candidate for the “Freestyle of the Year” award. The Pizza Pizza Judges appreciated Koehler’s extra efforts and presented the Columbus, Michigan native a competition-winning score of 34 points.
The drivers earned the following final Freestyle scores:
Northern Nightmare: 12
Mohawk Warrior: 28
Krazy Train: 16
Wrecking Crew: 25
Monster Mutt Dalmatian: 21
Grave Digger: 31
Maximum Destruction: 32
In other motor sports action, Team Canada continued their dominance over Team USA in Quad Wars, sweeping the Main Event in style. Not to be outdone, the stars of Freestyle Motocross returned to Rogers Centre and gave the fans a plethora of big thrills. In Demolition Derby action, Bobby Cousineau won the hard-hitting battle with a great effort.
After yet another great weekend of motor sports action here in Ontario, the Maple Leaf Monster Jam returns to Canada in Vancouver, B.C. in two weeks time. Returning to the newly renovated BC Place, west coast Monster Jam fans are sure to get the experience of a lifetime as the series returns for the first time in three years.
We’ll see you in Vancouver!
By Darren Pallen