Eighty two miles, five hours and thousands rocks after the start of the 2009 King of the Hammers off- road race, Casey Currie crossed the finish line in 2nd place, in his Campbell Enterprises purpose built single seater. After finishing second at last years inaugural “King of the Hammers” many discounted Casey’s effort as lucky. He proved them wrong.
King of the Hammers is a new hybrid off-road race that combines the best obstacles of desert racing and rock crawling to form and extremely potent form of off-road racing. Not being a fan of rock crawling I have to say I was a bit skeptical, but after seeing racers charge up and down seemingly impassable rock walls and revines and push their vehicles to the limit in the open desert, I have to say, I was impressed.
Working within the confines of the King of the Hammers zero assistance rule, Casey ran solo without benefit of a co-driver or any outside assistance. This required a well-prepped vehicle and a well prepared race plan. Additionally, Casey was not able to have any remote fueling pits because of the zero assistance rule. Instead, Casey was forced to come back into the main pit to fuel in after race mile 21. He drove 3/4 mile at the regulated 25 miles and hour off the course into the main pit, fueled and then drove 3/4 mile back to the course. The vehicle Casey drove was a Shannon Campbell creation that had one major flaw for this race, a ten gallon tank. At approx two miles a gallon that’s a lot of fuel stops for such a short race.
The proof of the level of difficulty lies in the fact that over two thirds of the entrants did not even cross the finish line. “This race is no easy task, our car was not built to carry spare parts and was not built to go long distances, so planning and preparing ahead of time was critical. Shannon gave us a perfect car, and with prep by my crew chief and the Currie Racing Team, we came up with a perfect strategy, making all the pit stops go as planned,” Stated Casey.
Running a conservative pace for the first half of the race, Casey moved up the running order as the desert and rocks claimed many victims. Starting 36th, Casey steadily worked his way up but was slowed by multiple bottlenecks of stacked up vehicles. The bottlenecks allowed the earlier starters an opportunity to gap the field. Casey stepped up his pace and managed to catch and passed all but one competitor by the checkered flag.
Casey had this to say about the race;“I knew I had to make up time from the beginning. The way the rules were set up, I had to drive half a mile at 25 mph to get to my first pit, and back to the race course. None of the leaders had to stop for fuel. This set us back by at least five minutes and ten positions at race mile 23, from there on I drove a pace that I knew would allow me to finish. The car wasn’t set up for big whoop sections so I had to take it easy in those sections. As soon as I hit the rocks I stepped up the pace. This car goes where you put it and works great in the rocks. Our pits worked out great and we had no problems on the course. Next year I will hopefully be driving Shannon Campbell’s new rig! It looks to be faster then anything in the rocks or desert. ”
Casey will be ready for the 2010 King of the Hammers with a new vehicle and his eyes fixed on that first place trophy. So if you think it looks easy, or you just think you have what it takes, then build it, borrow it, or steal it; just bring it out and race it.