Twenty-eight total drivers put their driving skills to the test Sunday evening at the annual Colusa County Fair Destruction Derby.
Hosted by Moondog Motorsports, the No. 1 derby promoter in Northern California, this year’s event offered drivers a chance at a $4,950 purse and a 1958 Edsel derby car, donated by Reading Oil and Superior Tire.
“This is the one derby we host that brings the most local drivers,” said Moondog Motorsports.
Two categories were held during the event: the traditional three heat, one consolation, and main, plus a one shot chain and bang event. The chain and bang event allowed drivers to simply chain their cars rather than weld the door jams shut.
Maxwell driver Ricky Robledo, in the No. 3 ride, was the winner of the chain and bang.
“This is my fourth event like this and one of my favorites,” Robledo said.
With all the glass removed and the doors welded shut, and an arena full of other drivers doing their best to crash into one another, the cars in the first heat of the night didn’t disappoint.
Arbuckle driver Eric “Porky” Lopez opened up with a back-end shot on the 1X ride, driven by Colusa’s Brett Gross.
“This is my very first derby ever,” Lopez said. “I am excited, a little nervous, and thankful for the help from my father and godfather.”
Lopez soon found out just what derby skills entailed as his car lost its front wheel from a hard hit late in the game by heat winner Justin Gwerder in the No. 68 car. Gross claimed second place in the heat, and Nick Charter claimed third.
A one-on-one battle between seasoned derby veteran Hector Ramirez, No. 18X, and 2018 Colusa County Derby winner, Levi Kalfsbeek, No. 5K, ensued in the second heat of the night with Ramirez pounding hard shots on Kalfsbeek and Jacob Abel.
Driver Craig Womble laid down several across the arena shots, but found himself motionless with a hard hit by Abel, dropping his drive line. Ramirez won the heat, followed by Kalfsbeek and Abel.
Third heat drivers Toby Reading, Mike Charter, and Breckin Townsend gave a crowd-pleasing show, demonstrating the muscle power of their engines with several hard hits in the heat. Reading came out on top, winning the heat, but was unable to return for the main event from a blown distributor cap and other non-fixable issues.
Charter was second, and Townsend placed third.
Perhaps the most exciting heat of the night was the consolation round. All drivers, who did not advance from the prior three heats, battled things out in the arena for a chance to advance to the main.
The crowd went crazy with enthusiasm as the No. 3 ride, driven by Matt Williams, drove Lopez’s car up on the cement barrier. Lopez, a rookie, didn’t flinch and managed to not only release his car from the barrier but win the round, advancing to the main.
Frankie Gonzalez Jr. took second and Matt Williams, third.
The main event kicked off around 9:30 PM with a total of 12 cars still running. Kalfsbeek dominated the arena with continuous hits on Ramirez, Mike Charter, and Abel. Spectators cheered them on as one by one drivers smashed into any car they could until the end, with Kalfsbeek claiming the victory.
Kalfbeek was also awarded the most aggressive driver. Jacob Abel finished second; Mike Charter was third; and Hector Ramirez was fourth. Christian Orozco was awarded best-looking car. ■