Carl Van Horn showed why he’s always one of the drivers to watch when Monster Jam comes to the Rogers Centre as he scored the victory in freestyle competition on Sunday afternoon.
The competition was kicked off by Mike Vaters in Black Stallion, hitting each obstacle with some small jumps en route to a score of 28.
Todd Morey kicked it up a notch behind the wheel of Bounty Hunter, performing a couple of donuts and small jumps over each obstacle for a score of 30.
The surprise of the evening for most of the crowd was Matt Pagliarulo in Jester, though. He’d put together some of the biggest air fans had seen thus far, including three big jumps, combined with small jumps over each obstacle. Unfortunately, he’d break with 31 seconds left on the clock after standing the truck straight up on a ramp. He was still awarded a fantastic score for his performance, getting 35 points.
Jamey Garner in Over Bored didn’t get much air off the obstacles, but had some of the best cyclones fans would see of the weekend en route to a score of 30.
Mike Christensen in Iron Outlaw started off strong, with a cross floor wheelie and some small jumps. However, he’d run into problems with a minute and a second left on the clock, handing him 25 points.
After winning freestyle on Saturday, Becky McDonough came out flying once again in El Toro Loco as she cleared the piles of dirt on three different occasions cleanly, and got the biggest air of the night thus far for a score of 38.
Cory Rummel in Rage kept the momentum going, clearing the dirt piles a couple times with some solid air for a score of 34.
After winning wheelies, JR McNeal in Xtermigator performend a donut, a wheelie and found some good air in the second half of his run en route to a score of 33.
Devin Jones in Barbarian wasn’t able to get any big air, but he attacked each obstacle en route to a score of 30.
After winning racing, Coty Saucier in Monster Energy started off his run strongly, putting in a big jump and a small save. Unfortunately, off one of the jumps, he ripped the right rear off and while it appeared as though Saucier wanted to keep going, the judges shut him down for the night. He’d score 32 points for his efforts.
Carl Van Horn in Grave Digger came out next, and put together the best run of the afternoon. After starting off the run with some big air throughout, he had a big save mid-way through and performed a perfect backflip. The judges, along with the fans, were happy with the performance enough to give him a perfect score of 40.
Saturday’s freestyle winner Ryan Anderson in Son-uva Digger was the show closure, and showed promise of possibility topping Van Horn. He had some big air moments, and had a solid bicycle save off of one of the jumps. However, as the clock closed down, the left rear began to lock up, which hindered his ability to get the air off the obstacles he wanted. He’d spin the truck around a couple times, before it got stuck in the top of one of the dirt hills with 13 seconds remaining. He’d be awarded 37 points for his efforts.
As a result, Carl Van Horn in Grave Digger picked up the victory. For Van Horn and the team, it marks their first win this season. But, in exchange, it marks Van Horn’s seventh Toronto victory, following four previous racing wins and a pair of previous freestyle wins.
“My team worked so hard to put the truck back together,” he said afterwards. “Can’t say enough about those guys, or all you fans who have supported Grave Digger through the 35 years.”
With a pair of events in the books for Toronto, it has certainly shaken up the Stadium 3 Points Standings. While Coty Saucier entered Toronto leading by a single point over Ryan Anderson, Saucier now finds himself third in the points.
The Saturday Racing victory, combined with a pair of solid freestyle performances has now placed Ryan Anderson in the lead with 99 points. Carl Van Horn was then able to move up from third into second with 9 points after winning freestyle on Sunday. The struggles in Saturday’s freestyle and the judges’ decision result in Saucier now sitting third in points with 88. Saturday Freestyle winner Becky McDonough moves up a spot to fourth with 81 points, knocking Cory Rummel back to fifth with 75 point after he missed the top-eight in racing on Sunday.
Matt Paglarulo looks to have made up the most ground this weekend, moving up five spots in the standings to sixth with 60 points. Mike Christensen remains seventh with 57 points, followed by Jamey Garner (54), Mike Vaters II (45), and Todd Morey (43). It’s worth noting Vaters II entered this weekend sitting sixth in points before the problems experienced.
Mike Thompson (38) leaves Toronto sitting 11th in points, followed by JR McNeal (36), Mike Vaters (33), and Devin Jones (29).
The series will now travel to St. Louis, MO (Feb. 4); Anaheim, CA (Feb. 11), and Oakland, CA (Feb. 18).