In 2007, Nick Fluge and Bill Lowblad drove one of 25 limited production “Bad Boy Saleen’s” across the United States in the Great American Run (aka Cannonball Run). Leaving Central Park in New York they battled with other exotic cars over many states and thousands of miles finishing several days later in Los Angeles. Their 8th place finish was relished given the international and oddball group that took part in the event. The event was featured in National Lampoon’s “Great American Run” documentary. Little did they know then that a short two years later their 160 mph plus driving on public highways would turn into 5 mph creeping on a dirt speedway in farm country. In 2008, Fluge and Lowblad played in the World Series of Poker while plotting their next great battle of machines. In 2009, their planning took the form of participation in the Great “Combine Demolition Derby”. That’s right…Farm Equipment…Big Farm Equipment!
The first task was to find two John Deere combines – ready to be tortured by other agricultural behemoths. That occurred earlier this summer. The next job was to secure Steve Gatrell and the ProFab team to craft roll cages and other magic demolition ‘tricks of the trade’. The final effort would occur in late August when Fluge and Lowblad arrived at the Sunset Speedway, armed with nothing more than Red Bull and a pile of bravado. The pit crew of Spence Gatrell, Patrick Hinkle and James Marlow was lead by Steve Gatrell – whose job it was to keep the combines on the track through as many heats as possible.
The FGA team quickly found that the other competitors were farmers, welders, and people who didn’t find the poker playing, race car driving, mountain climbing FGA, triathlon, and bike riding squad all that threatening. In the first heat Lowblad was able to keep his machine in play (although his small rear tires were quickly trashed by the more experienced farmers). Fluge’s first run was shaping up to be a good one. (Fluge had the turbo John Deere with the huge front tires – weighing in at just over 32,000 pounds). With that said, at the ‘starting horn’ the local farm contingent immediately swooped in for the kill and dismantled Fluge’s rear (turning) wheels and suspension. He was left flailing being forced to take full on smashes from the other demons of the farms.
Lowblad kept the FGA spirts up however with cagey driving that put him in the final events’ top five. The wise and experienced combine veterans finally took out Bill as well leaving him and Nick with little more than a cold beer and 65,000 pounds or so of scrap metal. Our thanks do go to the many FGA fans who came out in significant numbers and who were sporting rather outstanding FGA “Sieve of Destruction” TShirts – (Good job Randy and Instant Imprints!)!
The future, as usual, remains unclear – but with the growing contingent of FGA supporters we’re sure we’ll have another adventure in the works soon.