The inside story of the King of the Hammers
112 miles of grueling offroad racing.
It’s absolutely mind blowing to think that this 4x4 festival and accompanying RV city in the desert started just 8 years ago as a dozen friends out wheelin’ for a 12 pack of beer. I’ve read the stories, seen the live feed and now I’m here… but not just as a reporter… actually as a driver!
Event founder Dave Cole has put together a class of 6 identical Jimmy’s chassis, 5l V8 Mopar powered ULTRA4 buggies… for rent! Any one like me who dreams of the dust and adrenalin can now be a part of it… for the ridiculously reasonable price of $5000 per team! And it’s no just for fun mini cars, they are full-on monsters. I know as I’ve just spent two days breaking one in! For a reason I can’t quite understand two-time KoH winner Shannon Campbell is in the Spec class along with last year’s hero Jim Marsden, Jessi Combs, the fastest woman in the world and a few other people having their first experience in something so mad.
I am sharing 4701, the DynoMax car, with Eric Bothwell and after the briefing which consisted of advice that if she gets out of shape in the whoops just let her sort herself out because she’s moving about far too fast for you to react to, so just leave it we headed out to see what it could do…
The noise from the engine is incredible. The roar of the V8 is insulated by nothing but a single sheet of stainless steel but the sounds of the underneath crashing against rocks isn’t quite so nice… like pushing an empty shopping trolley off a curb…
It’s far and beyond anything I’ve ever sat in before. More powerful… but what is incredible is the suspension!! I couldn’t see over the bonnet too well and wondered if there was a rock in front. The tyre popped up into view and there was a bit of a jerk and the back tyre came over… and that’s all it takes to get over a 2ft rock. Easy. Except in the race there is 112 miles of this!!
Live streaming can be found on www.world4x4.org
Thanks again to Lucky Dog for the wild elk stew. Ruby the pug dog is running around happily and the cooler is starting to run low on Lone Star lager. We’re all about to head out to Backdoor to see the challenge between the Ultra4 cars and the massive Rock Bouncers. I will have a report on qualifying tomorrow.
We’d like to thank Lucky Dog Racing, Maxxis and Spidertrax Offroad for their support.
Patrick Long and Rafael Navarro IV to race in the Baja 1000
The inside story of the King of the Hammers - part 2