King of the Hammers 2020 was an unusual KOH for me, The Race Jeep was pretty well prepped. I had take it down to the frame during prep, It had a fresh Cleggs 4.7L Jeep Stroker engine, Marlin Crawler AX-15 custom Transmission, Advance Adapters Atlas 2 speed transfer case, Currie Enterprises Extreme 60 front and rear housings with Sierra Gear and Axle bearings and gears, Wilwood 4 piston brake pads and rotors, Fuel cell, Fuel pumps, Fuel filters, Wheel bearings, Heim joints, and Falken Wildpeak M/t’s.
I had reached out to a new friend that was well experienced in the Hammer trails. He agreed to ride shotgun during King of the Hammers, but this came at a cost to me. With all the prep I had done in the “off season” of Ultra4, I had a lot more prep to do on the lake bed once Chris (my new friend) laid his eyes on the Jeep. Chris had won the King of the Hammers as a co-driver, so I had no problem doing everything he asked for on the Jeep, my goal has always been to win the race.
The race course overlapped the 2018 race course (the year Chris won co-driving for Jesse Combs). This was incredibly beneficial to Chris and I, since we didn’t have to do as much pre-running because we used his old notes. We were able to make sure the Race Jeep was in top condition for race day. I ended up buying a new GPS system for Chris, one that he was more comfortable using, and also bought a bluetooth intercom radio set up so when he was out spotting we still had crisp clear communications.
I had overlooked the ignition timing when I got the Jeep engine running again, this cost me dearly when I went for my qualifying run. Everything was going great Chris and I managed to get to the “rock section” of the qualifying course very quickly and that's when I turned for me. Because I didn’t have the Jeep timed correctly, I stalled the engine when trying to go up the rocks and the engine loaded up on fuel and would not restart because I had managed to flood the spark plugs. Once I got it started again, I took off like a bat out of hell and tried my hardest to recover from my lost time. At the end of the day I think I did pretty well since I was able to hold on to the second place qualifying spot. Not bad for being stalled for about twenty minutes during my qualifying run.
On race day Chris and I started second in the stock class, we were able to get up to first quickly but lost it due to a mistake I made hitting a rock too hard and getting a pinch flat. This cost us a lot of time to replace the flat tire, and then having to stop in the first pit to get a fresh tired put on the spare tire rack. Unfortunately this was not the only hiccup of the day, the power steering gear box had been giving us a headache all week. It got a lot worse by the time we got to pit one, the amazing pit crew of Tribe 16 topped off our power steering reservoir with Red Line Performance Oil. We continued to slowly lose power steering oil all day but this would not be our downfall.
We were approximately 25 race miles to the finish line with only a few rock trails left and some very exciting high speed desert sections left, we were battling back and forth for the lead of the stock class when disaster struck. On one of the sand hills when collided with another competitor which ended with the timing chain in the engine breaking and ending our race before we would have liked, the good news in all of this is that; no one was injured in the collision, and I still got to experience King of the Hammers 2020 Race with my new friend Chris!
What an exciting week this was for me. I got to race in the 2020 King of the Hammers, I made a lot of new life long friends, I got to reconnect with long distance friends, oh and did I mention I got to be interviewed by Wyatt Pemberton on the Talent Tank podcast yeah that happened too!!