Jeep Detroit4Fest: The perfect formula for adventure during a pandemic
DETROIT, Oct. 1, 2020 -- Take fresh air, challenging terrain, a legion of Jeep enthusiasts and shake well.
That's pretty much the formula for Detroit4Fest powered by Jeep. Held at the new 235-acre Holly Oaks ORV Park outside Detroit, MI, the event provided pandemic-weary off-road enthusiast the chance to get outside and let loose.
Detroit4Fest is the brain child of Tom Zielinski. "It's an opportunity for people to take their Jeeps and do things they never thought possible," says Zielinski. "Imagine climbing a hill so steep that all you can see is sky, crawling up a small mountain of boulders or crossing a mud pit that wants to suck you in like quicksand? Drivers get to experience the full capabilities of their Jeeps in a safe, controlled environment."
One off-road "chauffeur" on hand was professional rallycross and UTV driver, Gray Leadbetter. This 15-year-old rising star was there to put the new Jeep Gladiator through its paces. "This is the first new Jeep pickup I've ever seen," said Leadbetter. She wasn't born when the last Jeep pickup ended production nearly 30 years ago.
"I'm used to driving race-prepared vehicles with lots of suspension travel and specially tuned shocks," said Leadbetter, "So, I was really curious, and a bit skeptical, to see how a stock Gladiator would handle these conditions." She was not disappointed.
For two days, Leadbetter put the Gladiator through challenging sections with names like The Rumbles, Rocker Knocker, Twisted Sister, Hell's Revenge, The Soup Bowl and (ugh!) The Bed Pan.
"I drove the heck out of it," said Leadbetter with an ear-to-ear grin. "Honestly, I didn't expect it to do so well, because it's a big vehicle. But it was a blast! Really impressed with the suspension. Lots of travel in the rough stuff, yet soft enough that it doesn't beat you up on the street."
Jeep was the main sponsor for the event, but owners of other 4x4s were there to share in the fun. Ford even showed up to exercise its new Bronco and stir up a little friendly rivalry.
By any measure, Detroit4Fest was a huge success and the right antidote for a population eager for some safe, outdoor adventure.