Meeting the 2014 Hammer King and his Ultra4 Race Rig
By now you’re probably well aware of who Loren Healy is and frankly, you should considering he just won his second King of The Hammers title in what was one of the wildest Races in Johnson Valley to date. Loren started 9th behind big time racers and past champions like Erik Miller and Shannon Campbell. Passing guys like that anywhere on the course is no easy task but Loren managed to push on to the finish despite having a few mechanical issues and even running his Ultra4 Race buggy in limp mode after a jack mount that failed let the jack come loose and punch a hole in the radiator.
King of The Hammers is not just a test of man and machine but also guts and determination as well as the will to make it to the end even when the odds seem like they’re stacked against you.
We had the pleasure of getting a one on one interview for a few minutes with Loren Healy, two-time champion and winner of the 2014 King of The Hammers at Nitto Tire’s offices in Cypress, California to check out his King of The Hammers Ultra4 race rig and ask him a few questions about what it’s like to race and win one of the wildest off-road races in the world!
Here’s what he had to say:
Four Wheeler: What’s the biggest difference between racing over rocks and racing through the desert?
Loren Healy: The desert comes naturally to me but the rocks requires you to know how hard to push it and when you have to save the equipment because you’re going to need it to make it to the end.
Four Wheeler: What’s the wildest off-road experience you’ve had while racing?
Loren Healy: I had a competitor get under me in a short course race. I hit a jump and went farther than he did but he managed to hit me and I ended up flipping it end over end six times. It put me in the hospital for some time but I’m positive my safety gear kept me from breaking my neck because I would have likely died out there.
Four Wheeler: What has been your most memorable racing moment?
Loren Healy: Winning the 2014 King of The Hammers for the second time!
Four Wheeler: Are you looking to branch out into any other motorsports divisions?
Loren Healy: We’re actually looking to do Best in the Desert (BITD) and S.C.O.R.E. International Racing if finances allow. I’ve always been a desert guy and it is my strong suit. I’ve preran the BITD courses in the past when Ultra4 used to run those races and I always felt comfortable in the high speed desert sections.
Four Wheeler: What was going through your head the first time you strapped into the race truck?
Loren Healy: I knew I was pretty good at this but was still pretty nervous about the whole thing.
Four Wheeler: What was your favorite moment during the race?
Loren Healy: Winning! The Last couple of miles we were in limp mode and had a helicopter flying overhead kicking up dust and we ended up getting stuck on one of the last rock climbs. It was pretty nerve racking but we managed to pull through and cross the finish line. We had no idea we had won until Dave Cole came up to us and told us we were the unofficial winners. It was one of the greatest moments.
Four Wheeler: What would you say was the wildest moment of this year’s race for you?
Loren Healy: Coming off a three to four foot whoop at over 60 mph and sticking the nose and going over 90 degrees while looking straight at the ground at which point I grabbed the throttle and drove through it bringing the rear back down which set it up for the next roller. It ended up trying to wheel-stand with the nose pointed at the sky. We were looking straight at the sun and grabbed the brake and set the front back down. As soon as we were okay, we just looked at each other and said, “Let’s not do that again.”
Four Wheeler: Who do you look up to in off-road racing?
Loren Healy: I hate to admit it but, Shannon Campbell. I used to watch him race when I was in high school and now I’m racing against him and actually beating him. It’s just amazing to me and he’s a great guy and I consider him a good friend. I know he wants me to do well out there and knowing that is just so awesome.
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Check out the pre-race interview with Loren Healy at the 2014 King of the Hammers!
Check out the post race interview with Loren Healy, winner of the 2014 King of The Hammers!