TJ Flores has a reputation for doing more with less in the desert, regularly pushing his Class 1 car to victories in Best In The Desert and SNORE races ahead of teams with more horsepower and funding.  He is accustomed to being the underdog, so Flores didn’t shy away from driving in the crossover sensation that is the Griffin King of the Hammers.  “I am always looking for a new challenge,” Flores shared.  “I went out to Johnson Valley recently and ran last year’s course…  I never knew that you could get such an adrenaline rush while driving so slow!”  King of the Hammers combines desert racing and rockcrawling in one epic race.

Other desert racers have competed in King of the Hammers in the past, but with limited success.  This was generally not due to a lack of talent, but rather limited seat time and untested vehicles.  Flores will have neither of these obstacles to overcome.  TJ will be piloting a “Top Shelf” buggy, currently under construction by the longtime Ultra4 and rockcrawling fabricators at Trent Fabrication.  Once the buggy is completed, Flores will have several weeks to become familiar with the car and tune it to his liking.  He will also gain valuable rockcrawling experience from Dave Schneider, who is not only the car owner but a longtime rockcrawling competitor.

While not as nimble as the Class 1 class he is used to piloting, Flores will enjoy a healthy power-to-weight ratio at King of the Hammers as the Top Shelf buggy is powered by an MJ Motorsports 427ci LSx engine producing in excess of 700 horsepower.  “MJ has over 200 hours spent porting, blending, and polishing the heads!” Schneider revealed.  Power is routed through a 4L80 transmission to an Advance Adapters Atlas II transfer case that then feed all the horsepower to heavily fortified Ruff Stuff fabricated housings fitting with Yukon nodular third members, gears, and Grizzy lockers.

We wanted to demonstrate that solid axle cars can be competitive with IFS and TTB at King of the Hammers,” Trent Fabrication’s Derek Trent stated.  “This car is a collaboration between Dave and myself.  We are implementing technology here that can affordably be passed on to other racers and enthusiasts in the future.”   Suspension duties will be handled by Bilstein 9100 series coilovers and Super 60 bypass shocks at each corner, all fitted with Bilstein’s proprietary Anti-Cavitation valves.  “I have worked with Bilstein for years,” Schneider explained.  “Quality suspension is the difference between a rockcrawler and an Ultra4 car, and Bilstein is the absolute best.”  “

In addition to the Griffin King of the Hammers, Flores will drive the Top Shelf buggy in the entire Ultra4 Pro Series in an effort to win the season championship.  For those unfamiliar with the “Ultra4” movement, it is the description that encompasses King of the Hammers vehicles and their ability to compete in environments as varied as rockcrawling, desert racing, short course, and hill climbs.  Schneider intends to compete in the same vehicle in Best In The Desert’s racing series, requiring the vehicle to be stout enough to withstand nearly non-stop punishment week after week.

FOUNTAIN VALLEY – Radflo Suspension will be soaking up the toughest terrain in America when put to the ultimate challenge at the 2012 Griffin King of the Hammers.  There will be multiple Ultra4 cars in the event that will be racing on Radflo Suspension including Cottin Rodd, Nick Nelson, JT Taylor and Derek West among many others.  “We will be on the lakebed supporting all the teams using Radflo Products and will be assisting with race car set up the week before the race,” explained Glenn Classen, President of Radflo Suspension Technology.

Typically the King of the Hammers Ultra4 cars are using a combination of the Radflo 2.5 Bypass, 2.0 Coilover and 2.0 Bump Stops.  Between the vehicle height and weight, and the extreme need for flex in the fast desert and rock crawling, these vehicles demand a suspension that will handle the abuse and not wear out.  “We had a lot of success at last years King of the Hammers and look forward to cheering more of the teams to the finish line this year,” said Classen.

Radflo Suspension will be on Shock Tuners Row in the Vendor area where Glenn will be on hand to answer any questions that you have about Radflo Suspension in correlation to your specific vehicle.  Radflo will be on the lakebed from February 3rd to February 10th. If you are interested in having your Radflo suspension tuned, please email or call 714 965-7828 to set up a date and time.

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Lovell Racing is auctioning a qualified spot in King of the Hammers. The auction closes at midnight 1/4/12. Payment for the auction and KOH entry is due 1/9/12.

50% of the proceeds go to the Blue Ribbon Coalition for preservation of recreational off-roading.

50% of the proceeds go directly to defense of recreational off-roading in Johnson Valley.

The auction is for qualified 2012 King of the Hammers spot only. The winner is still responsible to pay entry fees, and provide their own vehicle & team. Please post your bid or e-mail to have it posted on your behalf.

Link to the auction:

Watsonville, CA, March 3, 2011 – FOX Racing Shox sponsored rock racer, Shannon Campbell, wins his second King of the Hammers, becoming the only driver to win the race more than once since its inception four years ago.

Campbell charged through the treacherous Mojave Desert, overcoming obstacles that stopped other drivers dead in their tracks, to take the crown with an impressive 31-minute lead over the rest of the pack. Shannon Campbell shook his head in disbelief, smiling and said, “It’s good to be The King once again. You really cannot believe the beating these shocks take during a race. I could not have done it without FOX Racing Shox’s superior suspension technology and factory race support.”

Trail-Gear arrived on the lakebed almost a week before the big race to make their final tweaks and get the car fully dialed in. A 9th place finish at last year’s King of the Hammers proved that the 4-cylinder, Ecotec powered engine at the heart of the #17 Trail-Gear Godspeed buggy had what it took to be a contender at the toughest off road race in the world.

“I’ll drive fast enough to put that fire out.” Those were the words of Matt Messer, owner of Trail-Gear, regarding concerns of a potential fire if any race fuel were to spill onto the turbo during refueling in the pits. It was obvious that their only options were to win or break trying. Starting at the middle of the pack in 44th position meant having to reel in a large number of other racers to move into contention.

Trail-Gear took the jump off the line and raced into what would be a high speed, low visibility first lap. The winds were low at The Hammers and the dust was like a dense fog that just wouldn’t evaporate.

Gary Feravanti limped into the pits halfway through the race on with only 1/2 of a rim on one corner and 4WheelParts owner, Greg Adler, sat for ages waiting for tire changes and other adjustments. It was nerve wracking to think what shape the Godspeed buggy might be in.

With King of the Hammers coming up next week, plenty of planned activities are coming up during the event. Here’s one we came across from King Shocks to benefit Fast-Aid.

King Shocks will be holding a raffle at 8:00pm in the Griffin lounge at the 2011 King of the Hammers Race. The proceeds of the raffle will be going to Fast-Aid, an organization that helps injured racers and their families and holds basic first aid training for teams and individuals. Many of us in the offroad community spend long hours in remote areas. Having a team member who can administer basic first aid and CPR should tragedy strike could make the difference between life or death. This raffle would not be possible without the hard work done by Fast-Aid and the generous support from the following companies in the offroad community who have donated so far.

King Shocks, Spidertrax, Currie Enterprises, Traxxas, TrailReady, PCI Race Radios, Mikes Race, Off-Road Evolution, Rough Stuff Specialties, PSC steering, B.F. Goodrich, Goodyear, 4Wheel Drive Toyota OwnersMagazine, Funco Motorsports, 4Wheel Parts Wholesalers, Kartek, Dyno Max, HCR Racing,  Total Chaos, KC Hilites, Trail Gear, Magnaflow Performance Exhaust.

CEDAR CITY, UT: On Track Racing Team, composed of Dean Bulloch, Barry Beadle, Buzz Bronsema and Todd Stephensen will put four Ultra4 cars on the starting grid of the 2011 Griffin King of the Hammers running BFGoodrich KRT Tires.  “We have pretty much been a team all along without saying anything,” said Barry Beadle.  “We are making it formal so we can show team support at all the Ultra4 Races this year.  Each member of the team brings a talent and success from 2010, which when put all together we have a greater chance to make a serious impact.”

On Track Racing Team is supported by BFGoodrich, the tire of choice for all four drivers.  “BFGoodrich is all we have ran and we really like them.  It is all I would ever want to run,” said Buzz Bronsema.  PSC Steering has also been a main partner in the team, “Tom and the whole group at PSC has been extremely helpful in getting us anything that we need,” said Todd Stephensen.  Other partners include Trail-Gear, WARN Winch, Mastercraft Safety, Winchline, and CTM Racing Products.

King of the Hammers will be the first official appearance for this team.  “Three of the four cars are tested and proven.  Our team is better prepared than any race that we have been to,” said Dean Bulloch.  “I am really jazzed to have great people and great supporters on the team.  Even if we don’t win, they will certainly know we are there!”    Barry Beadle #4452 will start in the second row, Todd Stephensen #4427 will start mid pack in the 47th PSC spot.  At the rear of the pack will be Dean Bulloch #4411 in 96th and Buzz Bronsema #4417 will start on the last row drawing the 99th starting position.  “I’m not too worried about it, we will just get really good at passing people,” said Buzz Bronsema.  Then added, “however, we did install a fresh air kit this year!”

In addition to having four cars in Fridays race, they will also have an Artic Cat Prowler in the Pit Bull Tires UTV King of the Hammers race on Thursday.   In 2010 the same group, although not officially associated as a team, had 3 Ultra4 cars and the UTV racing in the King of the Hammers, and all 4 vehicles finished.

The On Track Racing Team will start the 2011 season with the Griffin King of the Hammers and then will complete the additional Ultra4 races including BITD Silver State 300, Rausch Creek, American Rocksports Challenge, Stampede and Glen Helen Grand Prix.  Team members may participate in additional series including, but not limited to, Extreme Desert Racing Series, MOROC Extreme Off Road Racing Series and W.E. Rock.

More Information:

Sponsors – BFGoodrich Tires, PSC Motorsports, Trail-Gear, WARN Winches, Mastercraft Safety, Winchline, CTM Racing Products

On Track Racing Team
#4411 Dean Bulloch / Tom Allen
#4417 Buzz Bronsema / Shon Wilson
#4427 Todd Stepensen / Devin Jones
#4452 Barry Beadle / Kevin Barnes

Team GenRight is offering two chances to win a ride in a King of the Hammers Ultra4 Car! Ever wonder what it would be like to ride in a King of the Hammers buggy? Two lucky winners will have a chance to find out on February 9th. Tony Pellegrino of GenRight Offroad and Kevin Sacalas of Big Ugly Racing have partnered for the 2011 Ultra4 season as Team GenRight and are hosting a “Team GenRight” Meet and Greet in HammerTown from 2-4 p.m. on Wednesday, February 9th at their tent on GenRight St. directly across from the vendor area in Hammertown.

The Team GenRight Meet and Greet will be an opportunity for King of the Hammers fans to meet Kevin and Tony, see their cars, get their autographs, and sign up for a chance to win a ride in either Kevin Sacalas’ new Big Ugly 2.0 or Tony Pellegrino’s 4485 GenRight car! There will be fun giveaways throughout the event and team members will also be on hand to answer fan’s questions about the cars and the race.

Roger Norman will add to his repertoire of off-road racing competing in the 2011 W.E. Rock West Series with the Torchmate Racing Team.  “I am really excited to be able to learn and participate in the rock crawling series,” Norman said.  “Being able to be a part of the Torchmate team is great, it allows me to have a solid chance at learning from the best, in a proven machine.”

Torchmate Racing Team is naming Norman as their Pro-Modified Rock Crawling featured driver for 2011.  “After seeing how he seemed to be really excited about King of the Hammers and rock crawling, I think it is a good fit for everybody,” said Bill Kunz, Owner of Torchmate CNC Cutting Systems.  “It certainly shows Rogers dedication to the sport of offroad racing and to all the other competitors.  I just hope that he doesn’t get discouraged at first.  It is hard in the beginning, but I know he will be able to pick it up quickly.”  Torchmate Racing will completely prep and maintain the rock crawler at their facility in Reno, NV.

Lucas Murphy will be the 15th Ultra4 car off the line at the 2011 Griffin King of the Hammers February 11, 2011, after qualifying for the 2011 King of the Hammers at the Rausch Creek Qualifier in May. He raced and won the Southern Missouri Off Road Ranch International Endurance Race, placed 4th overall in the International Endurance Series (IEC) and won the RCRocs Rock Race Series in 2010.

Murphy, in his home built New England trail rig, will drive 3,200 miles to compete and will take on the King of the Hammers for the second year in a row. “I think starting 15th is pretty awesome.  It doesn’t really matter at the end, but it is nice not to have all the traffic out in front of you,” said Murphy.  The Murphy’s Law Motorsports team has been focused on going faster, not necessarily changing or rebuilding last years competitive rig.  “We have been focused on motor performance on the dyno and tuning in the Fox Shox suspension.  We feel those are the two things that will help us go faster.”