The Hardest 120 Miles of Your Life
I think it was about the time I strapped myself into the five-point harnesses that I realized there was a little bit of lunacy in what we were trying. I had never hit the ’Hammers, Larry McRae and his team had been up for days building the race ride, and we were about to compete in an off-road-buggy race using a full-bodied Wrangler that had been shotgun blasted together in just 17 days. To finish any vehicle build in that short amount of time would be impressive…but to finish a race-worthy 4x4 in that amount of time?
If you missed last month’s OFF-ROAD magazine, here’s a recap: Dave Cole, Larry McRae, Mel Wade, and I started in on a plan to race a full-bodied vehicle through the King of the Hammers race—a contest that only buggies have finished. And not even that many buggies…it’s a brutal 120 miles. If we were able to finish the race in the full-bodied Wrangler, we would be the first team to do so in the history of the event.
The plan was proposed fairly late in the game, and by the time the 2011 Wrangler was picked up, there was less than three weeks to tear it down and outfit it for the race.
The Jeep started at EVO manufacturing, getting the majority of the suspension put on. But EVO’s owner, Mel Wade, had entered a JK into the KOH race with Jack Graef, so he was scrambling on his own Jeep, as well. After the suspension went on, the new Wrangler was delivered to Larry McRae at Poison Spyder Customs, so he and his team could finish the rest of the build while Currie built the axles with all the goodies it could.
The finished race Wrangler is similar to what you might be able to buy in the near future at your local dealership—minus some axles and a few race necessities like the rollcage, fuel cell, and window netting.
And of course, you’re wondering how it did in the race. Unfortunately, it didn’t finish, but we made a heck of an effort, and without question we proved that a full-bodied vehicle can in fact race competitively at the King of the Hammers race.
Without us (or the other two full-bodied entries) finishing, there is still that pot of gold waiting for the first one to finish a King of the Hammers race in a full-bodied vehicle. Maybe it will be you next year.
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