2017 King of the Hammers
In the literal middle of nowhere a desert, dry lake bed in Johnson Valley California, transforms into a bustling Mad Max-ish, makeshift town of trailers, toy haulers, Jeeps, motorcycles, rock buggies, and Ultra4 cars for the annual King of the Hammers week. I had an exceptionally busy year this year. In additional to being crew chief for the Big Bear Offroad Race Team, I had the additional desire to do company interfacing for the Trail Reaper and wanted to help Stone Coast Marketing with media coverage for Lasernut Racing. Here’s how my week laid out.
Day One- Monday
This year, I got the invitation from the Waggoner family to stay at the Lasernut compound just outside of Hammertown. A sprawling, gated, ten acre property, the Lasernut compound was a fantastic place to settle in for the week, with a huge garage, hot tub, fire place, and even a bounce house for the kids! Outside, there is an area for dirt bikes, fireworks, and of course explosives. We lit up the night sky with Glamis candles, Jim’s monster flame thrower and tannerite. The crew welcomed me as I got settled in for the week. I can’t thank them enough for their hospitality! That first evening, I couldn’t miss the opportunity to watch Back Door Shoot out, an evening race in which vehicles make their bids on one of the hardest obstacles in the Hammers Backdoor.
Day Two- Tuesday
I served at the Crew Chief for the Big Bear Offroad (BBOR) Race Team this year. The team raced in the Legends class, with the race being held on the Thursday in the Everyman Challenge. Tuesday was filled with meetings. First were BBOR pit crew and race strategy meetings. With my professional background as a firefighter, I chose to run the crew much like I would an Incident Command. My job was to keep my focus on the big picture goals, while delegating the individual tasks and goals to my crew members. Spending the bulk of my day in the pits of Hammertown, I decided to meet with several companies regarding the Trail Reaper build and the video guide series. I met with representatives from Advanced Adapter, Poison Spyder, and King Shocks.
Day Three- Wednesday
More meetings and race prep. The BBOR team met in the pits to do the final race car check before we took the car in for it’s official race tech inspection. The pit crew met and members were given their final assignments for the race and we did a tools and parts inventory. We had the race driver’s meeting that night, and loaded up the support vehicles for race day the following morning. A very long day!
Day Four- Thursday
Up at the crack of dawn in preparation for BBOR’s race which went very well for the team. The car had a couple of issues including a flat tire, bent rim, blown brake line, and the usual traffic jams, but the team did an amazing job! Everyone had great morale, knew their jobs and kept the car moving. The car made it to mile 102 of 115 before timing out. It was tough to be so close to the finish with out crossing, but the team did a great job and the car didn’t break. And man, did we celebrate that night! Some cocktails, a big bonfire and some explosives always makes for a good time.
Day Five- Friday
With my duties to BBOR finished, I shifted my focus to helping Stone Coast Marketing with getting footage of the Lasernut crew at the big race. Since the Lasernut car was in the top 10 most of the race, I got to chase the leaders all day. My first location was at the start line “Jump”, then we moved over to “Backdoor”. We then bumped over to “Sledgehammer” for the second lap and then “Jackhammer” for the third lap. Lasernut crossed the finish line in 8th place! With such a strong showing in the race, the celebration continued well into that night. Lots of fireworks, Glamis candles, even a flame thrower and some tannerite explosions.
Day Six- Saturday
After a dusty, dirty, exhausting five days, it was time to pack up and head home. The week was so fun and memorable, just filled with great people and experiences. I am so grateful to have been able to spend my time with the BBOR crew, the Lasernut crew, and my good friends at Stone Coast Marketing. Can’t wait until next year!