King of the Hammers Race Prep With Vaughn Gittin Jr. 2018Posted in News on February 8, 2018
The King of the Hammers (KOH) is just as dusty as it’s hyped up to be, but the dust doesn’t seem to be bothering anyone. It’s a great week for racing, and everyone is getting excited for the two most intense and thrilling days of off-road racing to happen each year. Thursday is the Smittybilt Every Man Challenge, and then on Friday the King of the Hammers race closes out the week at Hammertown.
We’re spending this week with top qualifier Vaughn Gittin Jr. to experience what it feels like to be part of a professional off-road race team. On Wednesday, we prepared with Vaughn and his crew, and it was a blast.
Hanging out in the team area, which is open to the public, is an epic experience. You’ll never see so many sets of 37- and 40-inch tires in your life. Amongst rows of RVs and motorhomes are tented garages, inside which the beasts lie. Occasionally, even as the night grows dark and cool, you’ll hear the roar of an engine revving from somewhere nearby. Qualifiers and the day before the Every Man Challenge are opportunities for the drivers and teams to push their 4x4s to the limit that they’ll be taken to during the competition. Mechanics work long into the night to finalize any minor or major touches that need to be added before race day. Vaughn sent his best friend and longtime co-driver Eric out at sundown to find a visor for Brocky, his high-horsepower beast of a buggy.
Vaughn will drive Brocky in the Every Man Challenge and hopefully the KOH race on Friday, given that everything on the vehicle continues to function properly. Brocky is the only 4x4 in the 4500 class with an independent front suspension, thanks to Randy Rod from Jimmy’s 4x4. Earlier in the day we chased Vaughn through the desert and around rocky obstacles in a pair of 2018 Ford Raptors, which kept up extremely well for showroom stock 4x4s. Vaughn spent some time consulting with Eric and Randy, who’s the team owner and lead mechanic, before making the final adjustment to the rig for the race tomorrow.
Later this month we’ll be dropping a video of our time at KOH with Vaughn and his team. Until then, we’re covering Vaughn in his #25 Ford Bronco during the Every Man Challenge and KOH, so stay tuned!