“It’s like Baja Racing in 1972” shouts a spectator in excitement as the first wave of rigs approach one of the road crossings. What he probably saw was less sophisticated suspension and straight front axles on Jeeps bouncing over the open desert in rather slower speeds then your average class 9 car.
However can a 9 car or any common desert race vehicle successfully conquer 4 foot vertical rock walls? Exactly. The winning formula is a purpose built Rock-Crawler that can also drive fast in the wide open. However what works well for high speed doesn’t help in the rocks and vise versa. Balance is key.
The hot ticket was last years winner Shannon Campbell (5AZ) and he looked extremely fast until a transmission failure forced him into an early DNF. Desert and Short curse racer Casey Currie (2x) had better luck in Shannon’s old rig. He was able to finish 3rd place with ease.
After all was set and done Jason Scherer (76) proved to be the top dog of the 2009 King of the Hammers. We caught up with him at the finish line and he shared his day with us (See upcoming RDC Video of the Month for that and more). Congratulation Jason.
This years King of the Hammers event was multiple times larger then last years. The Johnson Valley dry lake turned into a temporary city as thousands of people set camp for multiple days. Jeff (KOH Producer) admitted after the event that this was probably his biggest undertaking ever. “Last year our budget limited us to a couple of hours of helicopter usage while today we have the bird for 3 days” shares Jeff proudly with us.
We liked the event and feel that most desert racers would feel the same. It’s far from the slow paste Rock Crawling you may have seen on TV and we predict that by next year it will be even more of a success.
Top Ten Finishers
1 – Jason Scherer
2 – Randy Slawson
3 – Casey Currie
4 – Rick Mooneyham
5 – J.R. VanOrtwick
6 – Brad Lovell
7 – Rob Mc Kinney
8 – Adam Woodlee
9 – Joachim Schwiesow
10 – Greg Hussey