Motorhome Demolition Derby, Mash of the Titans
With over 1.7 million members of the Good Sam Club, the largest organization of RV owners in the world, the club is focused on making RVing safer and more enjoyable for their owners. On a recent Saturday night at the Costa Mesa Action Sports Arena inside the Orange County Fairgrounds, we came across a group of motorhome enthusiasts who have most likely never heard of the Good Sam Club, and if so, would have a difficult time being accepted in such an organization. And after witnessing their reckless behavior during the final weekend of the Orange County Fair, we bet the feeling would be mutual.
Not your average motorhome hooligans, these competitors were taking part in the Orange County Fair’s sold out Motorhome Demolition Derby – A charity event featuring local Orange County First Responders including, Police Chief’s Jon Lewis (Newport Beach), Rob Sharpnack (Costa Mesa), and Robert Handy (Huntington Beach); and Fire Chief’s Chip Duncan (Newport Beach), Dan Stephano (Costa Mesa), and David Segura (Huntington Beach) in a good old-fashioned, last-man-standing motorhome demolition derby. But it wasn’t only about bragging rights for department winner, as proceeds from the event benefitted Project 999 – a nonprofit organization that supports families of officers killed in the line of duty, the Orange County Police Canine Association, as well as the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
The motorhomes make their way to each agency as an abandoned vehicle and spend the better part of a year being gutted of all potentially dangerous and loose items, with the side glass and windshields being removed and replaced with metal mesh screens. Once the vehicles are deemed safe for demolition competition it’s time for their one-off “custom” paint schemes designed to show off the department being represented.
Costa Mesa Fire Chief Dan Stephano went out early in the 2016 event and planned to use that experience to his benefit this year. Not revealing any secrets, Dan came to the ‘Madness showing his confidence by firing off two hand-held fire extinguishers during driver introductions.
Once the green flag was waved, the drivers strategically placed their portly rigs in the best position before putting them in reverse and mashing the gas pedal in hopes of doing the most damage to their fellow competitors while receiving the least amount of damage to their own vehicles.
Once the aluminum siding was shed and RV’s deemed uninhabitable, it was veteran competitor and Costa Mesa Fire Chief Dan Stephano’s late-seventies Dodge Sportsman going the distance, deeming him the O.C. Fair’s 2017 Motorhome Madness champion.
But Dan wasn’t the only winner of the Motorhome Demolition Derby, as event sponsors contributed a check to the various charities in the amount of $21,389.
It may not have been a night that every member of the Good Sam RV Club would wholeheartedly approve but there was absolutely more excitement than you’d find at any KOA campground.