Adapt. Improvise. Overcome. Racing isn’t just a sport. It’s a life style. It’s a family. A community of racers. Enthusiast. Brothers. Sisters. Friends. There’s no room for self-preservation. Everyone puts in their time. Each team member has their own strengths. Their own contribution to the team. We separate life from the daily routine; we leave family, work, loved ones. To gather at the battle ground, we call Hammer town USA. We drive and fly from all over to team up in what’s to be the hardest off-road race in the USA. Johnson Valley, a desert wasteland home to the most rigorous, unforgiving rock trails on the planet. Over 300 teams compete for the podium. Compete; not for money, not for trophies, not even for the fame. This race is about Glory, surviving the elements, and pioneering the unforgiving.
Saturday we meet the team from CA which is also running the newest car in the Proving Grounds Racing fleet, the 4671 RaceZJ. We shake down the car for a desert lap to shake down the brand new Motive Gears we installed for our passing pleasure in the rocks. While in the desert section preruning the course we took a high speed turn and tracked off course. In doing so we took a battle with the desert terrain and took a crash in the desert impacting our frame setting us back a day for repairs. We worked night and day over the weekend making repairs to the RaceLJ getting it ready for our qualifying day Monday with the fast guys in Power Hour. New shock mounts, new frame braces, motor mount locations. And some ascetics putting on our cars A-Game. Big thanks to Savvy Off-Road for sending us a brand new Savvy Off-Road bumper on the lake bed to make the front end come back to life! The sun set Sunday night and the team had high hopes to stay in front of the pack. For tomorrow, we qualify.
Monday afternoon we qualified with the Big Boys. The fast guys. Last season we got 4th in the West Series for Ultra4 Racing and that put us in the heros bracket for our class. We lined up with the boys, parading our freshly new Daystar Products wrap. We hit the throttle and barreled down the short course. Making our way through the Talladega turns, and into the hillside to pass the Jeep Proving Grounds arch for a quick run and a solid qualifying time.
As the week went on we had the opportunity to give an inside look to what Ulta4 racing really is with Rated Red Productions. Along with that we also did our own teams photoshoot, and strut through Hammer Town for Tech and Contingency on Wednesday.
As the sun rises on the lakebed Race fuel fills the air. The crisp breeze of determination sweeps the short course. As the green flag drops we take the car we were paired at the start with. Making quick work of the first few miles of the desert we were setting into our race groove. We noticed temps rising so we pulled over to find a bolt jammed into the radiator causing a large leak. We assessed damages and knew we had to get to pit 1 to make a full repair. While on the side of the course we snagged water and coolant from other teams to keep us moving. Huge thanks to Poor Boy Racing and Wralph for coolant. Once in the pits the Dust Junky Racing guys helped fix the radiator and sent us back out to finish lap 1. Knowing we had to keep the car together form being hurt with a hole in the cooling system, we had to juggle the speed of keeping the car alive, but making quick time to stay in the race. After pitting at Main pit in the BFGoodrich hot put, we fueled and were back at if for out final lap.
Once out of the desert sections, we entered the canyons. Picking off cars damages, broke, or stuck in the gauntlet of hammer trails. Running into traffic in the canyons we used our home team advantage of bypasses and hammers knowledge to pick off cars one by one and keep on pace. Living in Socal for over 4 years Johnson Valley was our playground. As we battled the course and the car all day so did our guys in the 4671 Stock class RaceZJ. We Met them in Sledge where we handed them some power steering fluid from them loosing a power steering line in the rocks. We soon found ourselves in a traffic jam going down Sledge with a rollover at the plaque, and a line of cars waiting to get through. We helped a few teams and walked around others to keep a steady pace. Once through we were in a race for time. Battling fuel issues and trying to keep the car running it was tough through the rocks to keep the car running. Up Chocolate Thunder, Up Jack North and down Jackhammer out time was running short. With the traffic, the radiator issues, and time not on our side, we found ourselves 40 miles short of the finish line when we timed out of our race.
To say our team gave it our all is an understatement. We pushed, crawled, and battled every element of survival to keep the car alive to get across the finish line. With all the prep and work being down on the car for months prior, we couldn’t do what we do without our sponsors. Daystar products for their never-ending support, Rock Krawler for all our suspension needs and keeping the car dialed, BFG for a flawless race with not one flat tire all day long, savvy off-road, Tomwoods driveshafts for taking a beating all day long and still kept going, IMS metals, Motive Gear, Spod4x4, Rigid, PCI radios, and so many more who helped us get where we are and continue to support our race season this year.
We crossed lap 1 in 21st for unofficial position and we are awaiting our official race results for the EMC 2018 Race. Looking forward, we will repair our damages, build the car stronger and prep for Coal Township, PA! Stay tuned for what’s to come!