The Captain Rob Racing crew showed up to Hammertown a week early with their Jimmy’s race car prepped and ready to race. We went out pre-running and the car felt great. The awesome ADS crew was on site with scheduled tunings throughout the week. As good as the car felt, the guys at ADS promised they could get me another 10-15 mph in the whoops. Low and behold, after a day of working the car over, it was a whole new machine.
Race day came, we were nervous, but ready. We took off and got the hole shot. Gaining the lead on our starting opponent early, we took the rock hill and gained time there. Unfortunately after the hill, we notice some electronic problems right off the bat. We limped the car for some 15 miles, where fellow Maxxis driver Clay Gilstrap and racing friend Jeremy Hammer jumped in to help. Before long, we were back on course!
We came into the main pit with the Maxxis and Jimmys pit crews ready. They looked the whole car over, gave us gas and sent us on our way. We were now entering our second lap which would be our “rock lap.” This lap involve grueling rock trails that put our vehicle to the test. Being experienced rock crawlers, this would be where we would shine. We would encounter the famous Chocolate Thunder obstacle. Our Maxxis Trepadors showed no mercy as we drove up the obstacle without any issues.
We quickly began passing other racers, but we eventually come across “bottlenecks” where other racers had fallen victim to the trails, and caused traffic jams. My co-driver, Oliver Bradstreet, immediately was out of the car, stacking rocks and running winch lines to solve the situation.
We started to notice that we may have a navigational problem with our GPS when we came down Jack Hammer and the map was telling us to go up another rock trail which was not a required trail in the EMC races. As we explored the map we were confused. We found what appeared to be an alternate route up a sand hill. We tried and tried but our heavy car simply didn’t want to make it up the sand hill on its own power. Olly got out and started running the Comeup Winch through the knee deep sand. The Comeup Winch pulled and pulled up the nasty climb and never slowed down. When we got to the top we realized we were not in the right place and needed to turn around. Once back on course, we started hastily passing people again. However we soon found ourselves again on a rock trail we didn’t need to be on. After finding a checkpoint and talking to the course officials, it was clear that we were given the wrong map. We had been running the longer 4400 course map on our GPS. At the next pit, we were given a paper map to finish out our race. With less than an hour left in the race, we were now in a race against time. Speeding across the desert we reached speeds over 90 mph! Our ADS shocks came into play as we glided fearlessly across deep whoop sections. As the sun was setting, our KC HiLights lit up Johnson Valley.
We charged the last climb to reveal the beautiful sight of Hammertown and the finish line. We finish the hardest race in the United States with just 7 minutes to spare. We learned many lessons that day and can’t wait to strike back next year and go for the win. In the meantime, we will be preparing to start our season of Dirt Riot Racing. Our first dirt riot will be March 5th in Congress Arizona.
We would like to thank all our amazing marking partners, who made this race possible. We would like to thank everyone who helped in our pits: Nick Shaefer, Tyler Roundy and the Low Range Offroad Team, the whole Jimmys Army, the great team at Maxxis, Jeremy Hammer and the Flying High Crew, Clay Gilstrap and his family, and the amazing race support team at ADS Racing Shocks. We would like to thank our awesome friends for their support especially Matthew Murphy and Brad Mullikin. Huge thanks to my beautiful fiancé for supporting me in my crazy dreams.