Fortunately, MacCachran and his co-driver Larry McRae were able to quickly extinguish the fire on their own. Once at the bottom of the hill, the two teams exchanged greetings and swapped stories of the failures. For MacCachren and McRae, a blown engine meant their race day was over. However, quick-thinking Lavender noticed that MacCachren's spare tire shared the same backspacing and lug pattern with our car. A short time later, Baja racing legend Rob MacCachren was jacking up the front of our car while co-driver McRae assisted Lavender with the removal of our shredded passenger-side tire and bolting up Team MacCachren's tire in its place.
"Get in and get belted up," MacCachren shouted, "You got a race to finish, buddy!"
As Summers fastened his harness, MacCachran reached into the cab and starting assisting Summers with the radio plug and window nets. The display of sportsmanship floored Summers, "I can't believe a living legend is helping us finish this race, Toby." By then their engine had cooled off and they were back in the race.
One Final Pit Stop
As Summers and Lavender came into the main pit for a final fuel stop, the sun was starting to sink beyond the western ridgelines. The BFG spare tire that MacCachran let the two borrow was promptly replaced with a brand-new Goodyear MT/R, and the two were off again. This time, HID lights lit the path in front of them. The approaching darkness would bring new difficulties. We had roughly five hours to complete the remaining 30 miles-which were the roughest rock sections of the course.
A Fitting Finish
Summers and Lavender rolled across the finish line to a well-deserved checkered flag surrounded by hundreds of fans, media and event organizers. The smiles on the faces of Summers and Lavender's wife's were massive, and tears of pride welled up. The moment was sweetened when we caught word that over half the participants of the 2010 King of the Hammers race were still unaccounted for. When the finish line closed at 10:00 pm, we knew we had pulled off something big. Only one additional car crossed the line after ours.
For our team, the finish was everything. Despite the many challenges that Summers, Lavender, and I faced throughout the day, we were able to keep the car together and achieve what nobody expected for a first-time effort.
Not only did we beat the odds, we also demonstrated that persistence, planning, and preparation-mixed with a hint of luck-are all you need to finish at KOH.
The KOH Eco Challenge
Anytime 15,000 people assemble in an undeveloped area for an event, residual litter is almost unavoidable. Last year, KOH generated an amazing amount of trash that was handled properly by event staff. For 2010, KOH partnered with Cal 4 Wheel to provide special containers for recyclable items in addition to the trash. The money generated by the effort was added to a fund designed to help keep our public lands open. All said, the program raised nearly $4,700 in recycled aluminum, glass, and plastic. Who said four wheelers couldn't be green?