AVON — The heavy rains on Sunday morning couldn’t have been timed more perfectly.

Kerri and Cecil Phillips and their son, Kurt, registered seven classes of mud runners, starting with street-legal vehicles and ending with monster trucks and super-modified engines.

This was their last Northwoods Mud Run of the 2013 season, and the crowds came from around the state to help them celebrate. By noon, the sidelines were packed with fans who waited enthusiastically for the first splatters of mud from the 40 hub-deep vehicles roaring down the 189-foot course.

“What could be better than celebrating the beginning of the fall season right here?” announcer Bill Foster asked.

He kept the crowd entertained with lighthearted patter during the daylong races and provided some encouragement to the newer drivers.

“We’ve got Cam Tyler on the track, and this young man has had a great start as an up-and-coming driver,” he said. “He took first place in Class 1 today.”

Justin Gordon kept time at the far end of the track. Mud run competition has to be noisy to be fun. Drivers are tuning their engines and tinkering under the hoods before their time on the track.

Fans cheer and groan as drivers succeed or become bogged down in the three feet of muck. Those who get stuck must endure some good-natured ribbing as they wait to be towed ignominiously off the track.

There’s always a chance to do better next on their next turn, Kurt said. “Everyone just comes to have a good time, and it’s all about that.”

Most of the competitors drive their own their vehicles, but they also are allowed to drive for other owners. They raced old battered Jeeps and pickups and exotic vehicles that seemed to travel on top of the mud. Known as skimmers, these hybrids have large flotation tires on the front and paddle tires on the rear, and can pack a 650- to 1,200-horsepower engine.

“I’ve been racing for 21 years,” Kerri Phillips said. “We’ve done this as a family thing.”

After going to events, the Phillips family decided to start their own track last year on land owned by a friend, Mike Osier. Besides planning the events, the RSU 58 first-grade schoolteacher and her husband share racing Toy Chevy, and Kurt races his monster vehicle, Dirty Addiction.

“It’s my dream truck,” Kurt said, flashing a big grin.

Fast track: Richard Bernatchez, Scott Ramsey, Frank Farrington, Jeff Munn and Cecil Phillips.

Deep mud: Cameron Tyler, Dan Nile, Bruce Ramsey, Scott Blake, Mike Ferland, Jeff Munn and Kurt Phillips


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