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King of the Hammers 2011

2011 King of the Hammers

 

 

The Ultra4 Racing Season Opens With a Roar

Like modern day gladiators race teams gathered and fans flocked to watch the 5th annual King of the Hammers off road race in Southern California. Unlike the days of Rome, these gladiators had more than a few horses to drag them around and vehicle suspensions that where unthinkable in the days of old.

KOH Top 10 Race Results:

1. Shanon Campbell, Car # 5
2. Tony Pelligrino, Car # 4485
3. Jason Scherer, Car # 76
4. Randy Slawson, Car # 4448
5. Greg Adler, Car # 210
6. Gary Ferravanti, Car # 4446
7. Matt Messer, Car # 17
8. Tracy Jordan, Car # 112
9. Les Figueroa, Car # 4478
10. Ben Napier, Car # 4461

UTV Race Results:

1. Brandon Schueler, Car # 1919
2. Mitch Guthrie, Car # 55
3. Brian Bush, Car # 26
4. Damon Cardone & Nate Copp, Car # 4091
5. Joanne Gonzales & Brittney Cardone, Car # 53
6. Brett & Katie Carter, Car # 4091

For full race results, click here.

The King of the Hammers this year was comprised of two 60-mile laps through the Johnson Valley HOV area just outside of Barstow, CA. This area is famous for its tough off road trails such as Sledge Hammer and Outer Limits. Since King of the Hammers is more than a desert race, many of these rock crawling areas would be part of the race course.

For those who needed to Qualify for this year’s race, a Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ) run was held. The LCQ used a small portion of the course to sort out the teams that would move on the main event on Friday.  It was held as a timed event with a single rig on a section of trail at a time, and was truly men and machine against the trails and the clock. The top 23 out of 70 racers moved on to race in the King of the Hammers 2011.

In addition to the LCQ and KOH events, a UTV race was also held. This course was in the same general area but was setup so that relatively stock UTVs could complete the 40 mile course. Maybe it wasn’t as easy as the organizers first thought, as only 6 of the 16 starting rigs made it to the finish line. Casey Currie competed in both the UTV and KOH races, and as far as this author knows was the only driver to do so.

2011 King of the HammersThe official King of the Hammers began with the drop of a flag at 8:00am. Greg Adler in car 210 had the pole with Tracy Jordan in car 112 had the number two slot. As teams race out of the gate, on a timed start, they quickly ate up the open desert and soon where in the rocky sections. The first of these was a section called Elvis, 15 miles into the race. Elvis was hard on a few rigs as were the other rocky sections of the trail. By the beginning of lap two, many vehicles were in need of repair and a few were down for the count.

Lap two was the deciding loop for many teams as some dropped back or dropped out due to mechanical failures. The two underdogs where Shanon Campbell, Car 2  and Tony Pelligrino, Car 4485. Campbell came from the 62nd starting position to win the race by a healthy 31 minute margin over Pelligrino with a solo rig.  Pelagrino and his co-driver Bryan Little moved up from 41st to take second.

The top 5 finished by 3:15pm, in time for a late lunch while others would labor on into the night and be lucky to get cold leftovers for dinner. Overall 47 rigs would cross the finish line before the time limit of 10:00pm.

Overall King of the Hammers 2011 was a spectacular event. It will surely be even better next year. By why wait, it is only the first of the 2011 Ultra4 race events. Why not attend one of the others this season, or better yet, compete if you dare.

2011 King of the Hammers Video 

2011 Griffin King of the Hammers Photos

2011 King of the Hammers
The US Marine Corps provided a Color Guard detail for the opening ceremonies of the 5th running of King of the Hammers. They presented during the singing of the National Anthem.
2011 King of the Hammers
No matter how much pre-prep a rig gets, things can still go wrong. It was not uncommon to find teams making repairs after pre-running the course. Sometimes these repairs where minor, and others were major.
2011 King of the Hammers
Dynatrac and Mopar had a combined display area at KOH. This was just one of the many vendors with displays on hand.
2011 King of the Hammers
4Wheel Parts was one of the major event sponsors and had three rigs from Team 4WP competing in the race. They also brought out their
2011 King of the Hammers
King Shocks had a display tend for all to look at their wide range of shocks. They also did shop tuning around the back for all the race teams using their shocks.
2011 King of the Hammers
Between the drivers, team members and spectators Hammer Town was as populated as a small city on race day.
2011 King of the Hammers
The California Offroad Vehicle Association (CORVA) set up a booth and provided information on land use and other issues of importance to outdoor recreation enthusiasts.
2011 King of the Hammers
The California 4Wheel Drive Association brought out this year’s sweepstakes vehicle and took donations for a chance to win the rig. They also provided information about the state association and clubs in California.
2011 King of the Hammers
The vendor tent had displays from several companies. Here you see LubeLocker, a company that was out to KOH for the first time. They make reusable differential and transmission pan gaskets. A perfect item for on the trail race repairs.
2011 King of the Hammers
GenRight Off Road was displaying outside at KOH. Their owner, Tony Pelligrino was the drive of car #41 and took second place.
2011 King of the Hammers
GenRight Off Road was displaying outside at KOH. Their owner, Tony Pelligrino was the drive of car #41 and took second place.
2011 King of the Hammers
Goodyear Tire bought out one of their race semi’s and setup customer displays.
2011 King of the Hammers
The Blue Ribbon Coalition is an organization that lobbies for the off-roads in the treacherous realm of the political arena. It was good to see them at KOH enjoying the event and informing the public about lobbying efforts
2011 King of the Hammers
Both young and old alike had fun playing in the dirt at this year’s King of the Hammers.
2011 King of the Hammers
Every team was required to pass a tech inspection before getting the final OK to race. Here you see car 69, Jason Spegel and Davin Plunkett going though tech. They complete to two grueling laps in 13 hours and 41 minutes, with over 20 minutes to spare.
2011 King of the Hammers
The LCQ course and the secondary loop for the main race both went down the “Trapdoor”. This section can be unforgiving and not keeping the rubber side down can mean tricky winch work to right a rig.
2011 King of the Hammers
Clint Ellett and Roy Ramey in Car 70 finished 34th overall. Their rig is powered by a 6.0L GM V8, with a 700R4 connected to an Atlas T-case.
2011 King of the Hammers
The fans were happy to get close to the trails in designated areas and watch the action as the racers tackled the tougher rock crawling spots. On the open areas, the teams went by too fast to make viewing areas practical.
2011 King of the Hammers
Erik Miller and Robert Ruggiero in car 4421 started out 58th in the pack and finished 14th
2011 King of the Hammers
Father and son team, Casey and John Currie in car #2, started back in 69th place and moved up to 47th. They were the last team to cross the finish line before time expired. With Casey at the wheel, this team vows to move up in the ranking as the season progresses.
2011 King of the Hammers
P.C.I was on hand to provide radio service and other work to the teams.
2011 King of the Hammers
Torchmate not only had a display setup for the event, the also had a racing team. Their car, number 4432 came in 17th overall.
2011 King of the Hammers
Car 4404 piloted by Nick Nelson did well in moving up in the pack. Nick and his navigator Brett Vogel started 48th and finished 22nd.
2011 King of the Hammers
Team Marlin Crawler, Car 28 consisted of John James and Mike Hendricks. They live near the Means Dry Lake and this was like playing in the backyard for them. They started way back in 83rd place and move up to finish 23rd. Too bad they got such a poor draw for the start or who knows what the finish might have been.
2011 King of the Hammers
Team Marlin Crawler, Car 28 consisted of John James and Mike Hendricks. They live near the Means Dry Lake and this was like playing in the backyard for them. They started way back in 83rd place and move up to finish 23rd. Too bad they got such a poor draw for the start or who knows what the finish might have been.
2011 King of the Hammers
Car 4138 out of Montrose, CO consisted of Craig Ross and Mike Isom. They finished 38th.
2011 King of the Hammers
The Slawsons, Randy and Mike 4448 had a good draw and began the day in 3rd place. They keep to the front of the pack the whole day and finished in 4th place.
2011 King of the Hammers
Coming from the California gold county city of Grass Valley, car number was 4449 finished 41st. Joe Silva and Mike Vargas begin the season with 332 series points.
2011 King of the Hammers
Here you see Shannon Campbell, the KOH winner in Car 5, ready to pass Doug Bigelow in car 4413 as they come down a tight section of the course.
2011 King of the Hammers
The BFGoodrich trailer looked closed but a quick look inside found a very busy crew mounting tires for teams as fast as they could.
2011 King of the Hammers
Greg Adler and Keely Lee in car 210 had the luck of the draw and got the pole position for the start of the race. They finished 5th overall
2011 King of the Hammers
Buzz Bronsman in UTV-17 (didn’t finish)
2011 King of the Hammers
The all girl team of Joanne Gonzales & Brittney Cardone brought their Polaris RZR in for a 5th place finish. UTV #53
2011 King of the Hammers
Mark Turner and Trenton McGee AKA team Daystar in UTV #600 (DNF)
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