BANNING, CA — Team Poison Spyder Racing, with driver Larry McRae, Co-Driver Shad Kennedy and car #4415 “Venom One”, posted a solid 11th place finish at the toughest single day off-road race in the world, the 2013 King Of the Hammers. King Of the Hammers, which combines hard core rock trails with high speed desert racing, is held annually in the desert around Johnson Valley, California, drawing tens of thousands of fans and competing teams from around the world. McRae and Poison Spyder Racing were among only 21 finishers from a field of 127 entries. This year’s 182-mile race course was unanimously hailed by competitors as the toughest yet, resulting in a gruelling 83% attrition rate.
After turning in a blistering second-fastest time in the early rounds of qualifying earlier in the week, the team watched as later teams enjoyed an increasingly beaten down qualifying course and turned in faster and faster times, eventually resulting in an 18th starting position for the main event. “We felt that worked out in our favor,” McRae said,” allowing the super-fast desert racers to start in front of us and wear each other out before hitting the rock sections, while the remaining 109 competitors started behind us.”
Photo: Dan O’Leary
“I’m very competitive and anything short of a win is a disappointment, but because of the brutality of this race, it is a testament to our team, our equipment and our sponsors, that we were even able to cross the finish line.” said driver Larry McRae,”and being only a minute and a half out of the top ten, after almost twelve hours of racing, is a victory in our book.” Ironically, the team’s #4415 car, built on Poison Spyder’s own Venom Chassis, was originally built to compete in the more restricted Ultra4 Modified Class. It did so last year, winning its class as well as two season championships, but the rules were changed, forcing the car to move up a class this year. Now, running in the nearly unlimited Ultra4 class, the car would have seemed handicapped by some of the performance limitations that were built into it to conform to the Modified class rules. “Due to the car’s legacy in the Modified class we’re racing with restricted shock size and travel compared to most of our top competitors,” McRae explains, “but even with the restricted size and travel, our Fox Racing Shox, with their exceptional performance and tuning kept us in the hunt with the Unlimited Class cars.”
In a race as tough as King Of the Hammers, where only 21 out of 127 cars finished the race, confidence in equipment is key. “We were amazed by the new BF Goodrich KRT tires,” said McRae. Though Poison Spyder has a long history of using BF Goodrich tires exclusively, they were initially apprehensive at using anything but their favorite, BFG Krawler tires. “These new tires were perfect for KOH, combining the toughness of a desert racing sidewall with the sticky compound of a competition rock crawling tire,” McRae added. “We only had one flat, and it wasn’t due to the terrain—we spiked it on a disabled competitors’ vehicle when climbing over them in a tight canyon. We know we beat a few other teams just on tire changes alone.”
As the race continued well into the night, many of the remaining cars had to slow down due to poor visibility. “Thanks to our array of Rigid Industries LED lights, we were able to keep the hammer down after dark,” said co-driver Shad Kennedy. “They literally turned night into day, illuminating the terrain around us and far down the course so we could keep our speeds up.” The team also credited components that simply worked, in the harshest conditions with no failures, for keeping them in the race. “Our Griffin radiator and fluid coolers kept everything running cool,” Kennedy said. “And our custom exhaust from Magnaflow kept the Turnkey, LS3 breathing freely and sounding great.” The team also cites the toughness of their FK Rod Ends and Rock Krawler’s aluminum suspension links with keeping them free of suspension failures that plagued several competitors.
McRae, Kennedy and Venom One left the starting line at 8:04 AM, and crossed the finish line nearly twelve hours later at 7:55 PM, the 11th of only 21 teams who would do so before the 10:00 PM deadline. Poison Spyder Racing congratulates the new King Of the Hammers, Randy Slawson of Bomber Fabrication, on a well deserved victory. The team would also like to thank all of its team members, sponsors, and fans around the world who tuned in to cheer them on.
For more information about King Of the Hammers, see http://ultra4racing.com/
ABOUT POISON SPYDER CUSTOMS:
Poison Spyder Customs has been at the forefront of off-road innovation since its inception. From its Banning, California facilities Poison Spyder Customs designs, manufactures and markets a growing line of off-road accessories and performance modifications for Jeep® vehicles. The majority of its sales are made through an extensive dealer network, and the company maintains a high visibility among off-road enthusiasts through heavy participation in off-road events, clubs, online enthusiast forums and social media. For more information about Poison Spyder Customs, see http://www.poisonspyder.com.