In seven weeks the Jester Monster Truck team went from coast to coast and back again for ten events in seven cities on the Monster Jam Stadium Championship Series 1. It was an exciting first quarter with some ups and downs but an overall fun experience for the team.
The season kicked off in Anaheim, California in front of a sold out crowd at Angels Stadium. The night started off with a round one loss and a solid performance in the two wheel skills competition, but freestyle is where Matt Pagliarulo and the Jestalade shined. From start to finish it was a big air spectacle as Pagliarulo sent it throughout the run in impressive fashion. As time wound down a bad bounce kicked the truck over and onto its side to end the run in spectacular fashion. The crowd was on their feet and cheering as well as scoring. The result would be a fourth place freestyle finish and a great result to start off the season.
From Anaheim the team headed south to San Diego’s PETCO Park for the second event. It was another early racing exit in round one due to steering problems but the team thrashed to get it fixed. The truck still had some steering gremlins in the two wheel skills competition but still managed a seventh place finish. To finish up the night and take out some frustrations, Pagliarulo took flight with Jester and got some big air. Towards the end of his run, Pagliarulo got a huge sky wheelie that landed hard on the rear end leading to broken rear steer components to end the run. It would be a sixth place finish and another good freestyle run from the team.
After San Diego the Jester team returned to Anaheim for another event at Angels Stadium. Unfortunately luck wouldn’t be on the team’s side this night. In round one the truck suffered a blown engine that lead to a quick flash fire which was quickly extinguished. The team tried to fight against the odds and manage to change the engine to get the truck ready for freestyle but they were unable to make it happen.
The blown engine in Anaheim was an obvious disappointment for Pagliarulo and the Jester team but they looked to bounce back in Glendale, Arizona the next week at University of Phoenix Stadium. The night got off to a much better start than the previous week, as Jester knocked out El Toro Loco in round one. Pagliarulo followed that up with a round two win over Xtermigator to move into the semi-finals. The winning run would end in the semi-finals against Mutant but it was a good showing in racing to start off the night. In the two wheel skills competition Pagliarulo laid down a sweet slap wheelie in his first hit and then a massive sky wheelie on the second to score a sixth place finish. The massive stadium floor had plenty of room for Pagliarulo to send it and send it he did. There was plenty of big air to start off the run but about halfway through a hard landing lead to breakage in the rear axle so Pagliarulo ripped into a wicked set of donuts to finish the run.
The first two show weekend would be in Houston at NRG Stadium. On Saturday the Chicago Style racing course once again proved to be better for Pagliarulo as he picked up a round one victory over Megalodon before falling to Max-D in round two. Two wheel skills saw another solid finish with a seventh place result. Freestyle didn’t quite go to plan after some early breakage but not before getting some big air. Sunday afternoon Pagliarulo took out Avenger in round one before falling to Whiplash in round two. The truck suffered some damage in racing and would be unable to compete in two wheel skills but the team worked hard to get it back together for freestyle. Pagliarulo went huge right from the start but a big sky wheelie rotated over too far backwards and lead to an early rollover. A disappointing result but the fans in Houston cheered the effort.
From Houston the team headed back to their home state of Florida for the first ever Monster Jam events at Marlins Park in Miami. This would be another two show weekend with one Saturday night event and another Sunday afternoon. The Saturday event got off to a solid start with a round one victory over Stone Crusher. Round two saw another win, this time over Monster Mutt Rottweiler, but a hard landing lead to some breakage and the truck wouldn’t be ready for the semi-finals. After a quick repair the truck was back for two wheel skills where a huge sky wheelie would score well enough to finish second place. Freestyle saw yet another huge air spectacle as Pagliarulo sent it from start to finish with massive air. The judges weren’t as generous in scoring the freestyle but the fans were loving the performance from the Jester team. Sunday wasn’t as successful of an event after an early loss to Max-D in round one and then breakage in two wheel skills that kept the team from competing in freestyle.
After Miami the team would head to Atlanta for the final two events of the Monster Jam Stadium Championship Series. It would be the very first Monster Jam’s at the all new Mercedes-Benz Stadium as well. Saturday night opened with a round one bye and then a win in round two over Xtermigator. Unfortunately electrical issues kept the truck from being able to start in the semi-finals. Two wheel skills saw an attempt at a slap wheelie and a big sky wheelie from the Jestalade. In freestyle Pagliarulo went hard right from the start with some big air throughout his run. Unfortunately the judges weren’t the friendliest with their scoring but it was still a good freestyle performance.
The Sunday event got off to a rough start when electrical issues once again crept up on the Jester and lead to the truck being unable to start for the round one race. In two wheel skills Pagliarulo tried to get a slap wheelie but didn’t get the bounce he was hoping for. After that he went for a big sky wheelie like the night before but this time the truck rotated too far back and rolled over. The damage was mostly cosmetic and the crew had the truck ready to go for freestyle a short time later. This time in freestyle Pagliarulo tried to ease into going big but it didn’t take long before he was sending the Jestalade like he always does. About halfway into his run Pagliarulo got a huge jump off of one of the race lane ramps that had been pushed up during intermission. The truck landed hard on the front tires and broke the right front spindle to end the run but the fans in Atlanta were on their feet and cheering.
The season was certainly an eventful one with many memories made. Despite some of the tough breakages, long hours and many miles traveled it was another successful first quarter for the team. A big thanks to all of the crew for their endless dedication to keeping the Jester up and running. Also a huge thank you to all of our sponsors and everything they contribute to the team. Also have to thank all of our fans that came out and supported us across the country. Be sure to check back with us soon for an updated schedule to see where we’ll be next!