I belong with Team Digger: Jon Zimmer wins Freestyle on Sunday at Roger's Centre
After losing in a tie breaker on Saturday, you had to know that Jon Zimmer in Grave Digger was determined to take all the glory on Sunday. He did that at the Rogers Centre in front of a packed house, proving that he belonged as part of the Grave Digger team, taking the freestyle victory.
This year marks Zimmer’s first year on the Grave Digger team and many have questioned whether he could live up to the destruction that Dennis Anderson, Rob Schmidt and the cast of drivers cause. Certainly, after tearing up the entire Rogers Centre floor, he belongs as part of the legendary team.
Norm Miller, driver of Batman, would be the first truck out during freestyle action, though his run would end prematurely as he would flip with seven seconds remaining on the clock. The judges would give him a score of 19. In speaking with Miller’s crew chief before the night started, he said he hadn’t gotten any sleep due to working on the truck all night to be ready for the Sunday show.
Miller wouldn’t be the only one flipping upside down as Tim Mente would flip Storm Damage with 15 seconds left on the track while doing donuts. He would score 15 points.
Aaron Cromer would keep Krazy Train on all four wheels, though there wasn’t anything spectacular to show for the run. As a result, he scored only 17 points.
The show-and-tell would officially begin with Steven Thompson behind the wheel of Hurricane Force. I will be the first to admit – I had never seen Thompson race before and I wasn’t expecting much. However, he definitely delivered a show for the fans. There was one moment that stood out amongst the room and that was an incredible save after two super bounces on the table top, which sent the truck every which way. He would be rewarded for his efforts, taking the early lead with a score of 22.
Steve Koehler brought Wrecking Crew out strong and looked to have enough to challenge Thompson for the top spot, including a super wheelie across the middle of the floor. However, he would stall the truck with 24 seconds left on the clock and not get it back going. As a result, he only scored 21 points.
“I wanted to get crazy out there for you,” he said. “I want to thank you for coming out every year to Skydome, Roger’s Centre, whatever ya call this place.”
Paul Breaud would come out with Instigator, putting down a solid run for 18 points. He would be followed by Bob Robbins in Aftershock, who scored 20 points.
Next would be Dawn Creten in Scarlet Bandit and she would put on a solid show, attacking each obstacle, reaching high heights. The judges would award her run by giving her the lead with 23 points.
Chuck Werner would also attack the track hard in El Toro Loco, making sure to also attack each obstacle while reaching high heights also. He would also be given 23 points, making it a tie for the lead.
Todd Deluc came out of the box in Metal Mulisha, wanting to grab the lead from the pair. He would pull off an incredible wheelie almost over the entire bus stack, among other great tricks. However, his run was cut short when he would flip on the van stack with 26 seconds left on the clock.
“I wanted to set a new bar and I think I did,” he said. “Got some good air, crazy wheelie save.”
Going for the double down, Jim Creten came out of the box strong with Bounty Hunter. Using the same hosepower that helped him win racing, the 18 year racing veteran attacked the track. He hit each obstacle, finding different ways to hit them, while reaching heights above that of Werner and his wife Dawn. As a result, Jim Creten was awarded the lead with 26 points.
Looking to make up for his Saturday night run being cut off early and wanting to back up last year’s run, Jim Koehler came out strong in Avenger. He drove the entire track hard, reminding the fans why he won the year before. However, his run was cut short with 11 seconds remaining due a rear broken shock. The judges would reward him 24 points for his effort.
“I was just getting fired up,” he said. “I wanted to get some big air and get it going.”
The next to attack the track would be Neil Elliott in Maximum Destruction, who missed Saturday’s action due to breaking the motor in intros. He came out strong, showcasing the classic destruction you expect from Team Max D. However, he would also run into problems early, with the officials shutting him off with 37 seconds on the clock. After checking the truck and discovering it was just a broken planetary, Elliott convinced officials to let him go back out and rip it up some more. However, that would result in further damage to the rear end, ending his run at 24 seconds. The judges scored him at 20 points.
The second last truck to run was Jon Zimmer in Grave Digger, attacking the track in classic Digger style. From one to the other, he ripped it up – destroying everything in sight, putting the truck sideways over some of the jumps. It was a run that had every fan in the building on their feet and he was awarded, with a score of 30 points.
2012 Monster Jam World Freestyle Champion Cam McQueen and Northern Nightmare were the last truck to go, hoping to make it two wins in a row after winning Saturday’s event. McQueen would attack the track from one to the other, but not match the skill that Zimmer had, resulting in a score of 24 points.
The Maple Leaf Monster Jam Tour continues this coming weekend as Monster Jam will be at BC Place in Vancouver, BC on January 26th and 27th. They will return to Ontario for a show in London on February 16th and 17th. For further details on the Maple Leaf Monster Jam tour, check out http://www.monsterjamcanada.ca.