10/01/12 — Crashing for glory

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Crashing for glory

By Dennis Hill
Published in News on October 1, 2012 1:46 PM

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Steam rises from the radiator of one of the battered contestants in the 4-Cylinder Demolition Derby Sunday afternoon at the Wayne Regional Agricultural Fair. D.J. Reeves emerged as the winner of the event, qualifying him for the State Fair competition later this month. Jeremy Davis won the 6-Cylinder clash, giving him a ticket to the state competition as well.

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Jeremy Davis, left, greets older brother Randy Temple after the two battled it out head to head in the 6-Cylinder Demolition Derby on Sunday at the Wayne Regional Agricultural Fair.

DUDLEY -- A standing room only crowd at the Wayne County Fairgrounds watched Sunday as demolition derby drivers slid and slammed into one another for top honors in the 4-cylinder and 6-cylinder classes, with a five-car battle royale deciding the first division and two brothers needing just one good rear-end bash to determine the latter.

About 600 people packed the grandstands on a cloudy afternoon to watch as the five cars entered in the 4-cylinder class battled until only one car was left.

And winner D.J. Reeves said his victory came because he managed to lose his keys during the action.

With the five competitors banging away at one another, jockeying for position, Reeves' 1987 Toyota suddenly came to a halt and it appeared he was out of contention.

What wasn't immediately obvious was that it wasn't a breakdown because of the hits he had taken. It was that one had knocked his keys loose from the ignition and he was desperately searching for them, finally finding them under the passenger seat next to him.

The break might have given him an edge. Thinking he was a dead duck, the other cars concentrated on each other, gradually knocking one another out of the fray.

"It seemed like it took forever," he said afterward. "But once I got it back, I was in good shape."

While Chris Hare, Chris Radford, Donald Stokes and Joseph Davis took turns bashing into one another, Reeves waited for his luck to change.

Hare was the next car out, leaving Radford, Stokes and Davis angling for one another, at one point winding up in a three-car pileup.

Radford was the next to go, just as Reeves got back into the action, one front rim spinning inside a flattened tire. Reeves took out Davis, then took aim at Stokes. But just before the collision, Stokes, who was unable to move, waved his flag and the battle was over, with Reeves spinning tires and slinging mud on his way out of the arena.

Reeves, 41, said there wasn't any real strategy at work, other than to hit anything that moved.

"We really didn't have any plan," Reeves said, "just come out here and have fun."

The second contest was a simple one-on-one challenge between brothers Jeremy Davis, 22, of Goldsboro and Randy Temple, 27, of Dunn. They lined up at opposite ends of the mud-covered arena, rear ends facing and charged.

The first hit was the knockout punch, with Davis's 1975 Chevy Impala breaking his older brother's fuel pump. A second hit demolished Temple's rear end and stuck the two cars together. After they were pulled apart, Temple waved for his brother to hit him and maybe get him started again, but it didn't work.

"I didn't want it to end that fast," Davis said.

It was the first derby Davis has won in three years of trying, and it qualified him for the State Fair later this month.

Reeves also will compete at the State Fair, but he is an old hand, having won the state title before, although he said he'd never won at the Wayne fair.

The derby competition will continue on Saturday at 1 p.m., when the 8-cylinder cars go at it.