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February 18, 2014, King Of The Hammers 14', 4th Place!
  • February 18, 2014, King Of The Hammers 14', 4th Place!

February 18, 2014, King Of The Hammers 14', 4th Place!


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Product Description

Well I've been sitting here for a sometime trying to figure out what to say about our week at king of the hammers. I just can't seem to put it all into words. I have read some very long write ups and thought there's no way I can put that much time into this. Unfortunately as you start typing there's just so much to say, so many people to thank, and it's a little longer than I thought for sure.

First and foremost thank you to my wife Angela Hallenbeck and my beautiful children for supporting my decisions to race again in 2014. My wife is an amazing kindhearted person who deals with a lot of my crap (a lot) and time away from home. Without a doubt she is our number one fan and I am blessed to have her as my wife! Happy Valentine's Day honey!

I also cannot have done it without the support of my awesome team, Bernie Dittrich, Joshua King, Matt Pillsbury, Lacey Tisler, and Chaz Merritt. We were also honored with the team support of Robb Kaufman who drove all the way from Alberta Canada to help us out for the week .Thank you so much, EH! EH!

Our koh story started back in December when I decided to sell my business Ckrc Crawlers. With the success of our 2013 year it was obvious to my family and friends that I should pursue racing a little more and move on. This huge change put us way behind in preparing the race car, but in the future will allow me more time with my family.

I'm also glad to announce that in 2014 we will compete in not only the Norcal rock racing series, and Ultra4 West series, but we are also going to travel east for a few wet and humid races with Dave Cole.

In the week previous to KOH we were able to secure Axial racing for our 2014 title sponsor. I have had a long standing relationship with Axial and I'm excited to have them onboard. The entire crew is standup guys and huge supporters of ultra4. They make the best radio controlled Rock Crawlers (Wraith) rock racers, and scalers in the industry. I'm proud to be a part of the Axial racing team. This new sponsorship brought a lot of last minute work though. Changes to the race car included getting a new vehicle wrap on the bomber and the full-size Axial wraith were all done in the last 2 days before leaving.

Too many late nights in the garage I suppose and the night before leaving I bulged out a disc in my back while loading the truck. To top it off I also caught the flu. We had to stay in Reno for an additional three days and putting us really behind for pre-running the koh course. It was also a crappy start to a new season.

Once we arrived we were able to mount our new tires and rims, do some tuning with iribe from King Shocks, and did some pre-running of the first high-speed lap. Monday arrived and pre-running of the Qualifying course was allowed. During pre-running we hit the rock slider hard coming off the Red Bull waterfall. That hit knocked my back out pretty good so we decided to call it a day and forfeit for the Monday night backdoor challenge.

If any of you have ever had any real back pain it's a PITA, so I decided to save what was left for qualifying and the big race. Unfortunately this also meant we could no longer pre-run any of the courses other than the first lap we had done. It worried me, but really worried Bernie that we would have a hard time navigating the race course in the dust and would be at a total disadvantage.

Qualifying day came and went pretty well for us, we didn't want to hurt the car and our goal was to be in the top 15. Even with a completely blown out rock course we were right at the cusp of our goal qualifying 15th next to Jason Sherer and right behind our teammate Randy Slawson.


For anyone that can relate, you stay up way too late the night before. You can't sleep thinking about all the things you may have missed, and then have to be up at five in the morning to gear up and get your car to the line. It's nerve-racking and one of the hardest things about racing.

8:04 AM and we were off the line for the 2014 king of the hammers. Our plan was to hit back door on the first lap and let the faster IFS cars race it out and beat themselves up in the desert. As we came around the corner of backdoor it was awesome to only see the one car of Shannon Campbell. Shannon had some issues and had to winch so we put the pass on him and were officially the first team up backdoor and resolution.


Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1tJ03hCvpc


Needless to say we were stoked with being out of the hardest rock trails quickly. Now all we were worried about is how many cars got passed us in the desert.We flew by car after car on that first lap. It was so much fun to see all that shock tuning we did payoff in the whoops. Just when Bernie and I were feeling pretty good about our morning, a rock took out the rear brake line. Without Bernie's consent I still made three passes at over 90 mph with no brakes. It was Funny!

Unfortunately we did not plan on stopping at remote pit 1 and had no crew or parts there to help us. We just pulled into someone's pit asked for help and they put a AN cap on our rear brake line. To whomever you guys were a huge thank you and we owe you some beers!

I could go on and on about this race, lap by lap, obstacle by obstacle, but I think it's best to shorten it up. We had our issues, we had our obstacles, Bernie and I had our arguments, but the biggest obstacle we had to overcome was attrition. We were absolutely physically exhausted at the end of the second lap. They say King of the hammers is the hardest race in the world. That's no joke. It takes a solid car, solid team, solid driver, Luck, and you must be in great physical shape. Both of us were missing the later and it really kept us from pushing harder. Regardless we had a great time battling it out in the rocks with Randy Slawson, Tony Pellegrino, Bill Baird, Brian Maloney, and Rick Moneyham.


Our pit team was asked not to tell us our race position and keep radio chatter down. As we came through the last pit on the third lap Matt Pillsbury, and Rob Kaufman were standing at the entrance to the pits yelling for us to GETRDON! They opened the mic and told us we were in fifth and Bill Baird just left in front of us. Needless to say it pumped us up and we were off pushing harder than we did the entire race to catch him. I truly don't remember much from there, but I know we were flying through the desert and we were catching that IFS car!

We pushed the Bomber so hard the motor and the transmission were pegged at 250 degrees. At some point I also called out we had no brakes again. I'm pretty sure we were just at 100mph leaving the lake bed when I said that. Visibility was crap but that last shot of adrenaline pushed us hard. Maybe to hard?

We were less then a 1/10 mile behind Bill when we saw him go into bypass 1 for the sand hill. We never pre-ran bypass 1 because we were told from multiple competitors it was very slow and not worth the time. Every lap we manned up and hit the hard wall at the back of the sand hill which appeared to be the fastest. When Bill went in there I knew we were going to be ahead of him on the other side and I was pumped up. Bernie however being the copilot was not happy that the gauges were still at 250, we had no brakes, and he was telling me he just wanted the hell out of the car because the sand washes were so bad. It kind of made me laugh. Still does!

We had no Dust in front of us and a mile later we saw Bill Baird's car about three quarters of a mile ahead of us on his way to the Finish line. It was a total shock and bummer for our last push. So I guess we went the slow way? Feel free to comment.


Amazingly for our first finish in King of the hammers we finished a very solid 4th place! We are extremely happy how it all ended and still a little shocked.


So why did we have no brakes? At the finish line we realized we didn't break a brake line but in fact the right front spindle was broken in half. The only thing holding the tire and wheel on was the RCV shaft. It was amazing to look at it and realize we could have lost the tire at any point, at any speed. Thank God for the RCV because I don't think a standard U-joint or yoke could've taken those angles at that speed without disintegrating itself.

Well I think ill end the story there because that's where I ended my day and went to bed. Thanks to my sponsors who helped us get us and get the car through the race. 

Axial Racing,
Thank you for the huge support and I look forward to the marketing of 2014. 

RCV Performance,
What can I say. THE BEST AXLE SHAFTS ON THE PLANET! I can honestly say I might be hurt or worse if I
didn't run them. 

King Shocks,
You guys are outstanding! You come out to King of the Hammers and help anyone in need. You make sure

everything is perfect or you don't put your name on it! that is outstanding and Brett you have been one of my

biggest supporters all year! Again thank you, Thank you, Thank you!


ATX Racing Wheels,
Chris, we nailed a huge rock at 40+ mph which broke a Dana 60 spindle and blew a tire but didn't faze your
heavy-duty beadlock wheels. Thank you so much for the support in 2013 and again for 2014.


Without Tireballs fourth wouldn't have been an option. Outstanding products Mark! Thank you, and thank you
for your awesome customer support. Seals team 6! Really!


Maxxis tires,
Thank you Creighton, Sean, and Brad the tires were amazing give me plenty of traction in the rocks, and
plenty of traction in the high-speed. They were reliable and that's what you need to be on top of the race like this.


DynoMax exhaust,
Matt you guys are awesome. You support the teams like no other company in the industry. I'm so proud to say
I'm part of the team. Huge thank you bro. FYI if you need some parts for that Axial wraith give me a call.


Maximum offroad Transmission:
Chris is the man when it come to automatic transmissions! We have beat and beat on this 4l60E. She is a
monster. Most teams change a tranny before the big race. This tranny raced the Ultra4 Arizona national
championship, offroad expo exhibition, won us the Norcal rock racing season finally, and completed King of the
Hammers! What can i say? Im going nowhere else for my tranny work bro!



Bomber Fabrication,
Randy huge thanks man. You have been proud of us for taking out one of your babies and representing for
you. The truth is the car represents itself. She's bad ass bro, thank you. FYI the new fuel pumps coming to you.


Bulldog winch,
Bob it's always hard to talk about a product that we don't use (or hope we don’t use). As you know you're the
only winch I would want to run and I greatly thank you for your support for 2014. I should also add that for
anybody looking for a winch to order up Bulldog’s catalog. I was shocked to see how much stuff they carry.  Bob lost his old website with all the products and is working on rebuilding the new one daily.

check out http://www.bulldogwinch.com


Matt Messer, thanks you guys for the support and sponsorship for 2014. Your new rod ends are bad ass. After
the race inspection, we have one loose joint on the entire car. Pushing at the speeds we did that’s awesome.

Huge thanks and sorry for the rock shower and dust storm in whatever Canyon we were in.


Steve Sneveys Offroad,
This guy is also a Reno boy who started an offroad shop. He called me and to offer some LED lights for king
of the hammers. My first comment was “well I hope I don't need them but if you want to let's do it”. Steve has
not only been a great sponsor he's also been a huge fan and I can't say thank you enough!


XS Battery Power, 
it's another one of those products that I can't say much about because it works every time I need it. Your 925

battery work without a hitch and we didn't even have to go to a secondary battery during the race. Way better

than the competition similar size battery


Vance 3D concrete,
Dude you didn't have to help out or support us but you did. You gave us race fuel and a entire service truck if
we needed it during the race. I can't say thank you enough man. That is top-notch of you. I look forward to racing with you this year. 


Last but not least 4775! 

We come from Northern Nevada, prefix 775 and we are proud to live here. We do this 4-775. Reno Nevada is

a huge Mecca for off-road motorsports. From rock trails, desert racing, to short course we have it all. Rock

crawling is huge here. Maybe bigger than anywhere else in the country. Jump out of your driveway and you

could be at a killer rock Trail in five minutes. 

Huge thank you to everybody locally who has supported us to do this. Jeff Knoll, Adam Benge, Nates

precision, Jesse Haines, Brian Washburn, Scott Pender, Joe Magliano, jake yomen, Micheal Plunkett, and so

many others. You all awesome and thank you. Go 4775!


To all of our fans, freinds, and family who have supported us this year. We are having a huge KOH celebration

party next weekend. Our home, Friday February 21st starting at 5:00. Its also my wifes birthday party. Come

by have some food, have some drinks and lets all swap koh stories! JUST RSVP PLEASE!


Please enjoy some of the photos we have rounded up from the great media who attend the races. It's so

awesome to get home and try to re-live the week by seeing all of your photos and videos


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This product was added to our catalog on Tuesday 18 February, 2014.