The BDS team arrived in Hammertown a full week before the EMC race at King of the Hammers. A week might seem like a long time, but to prepare for this race takes months, and that last week is when the course maps are finally made public, creating a scramble to pre-run as much of the course as possible, all while tuning the truck for top performance based on the different sections of track that are being used each year. Team 4502, led by driver Kevin Sterns, had yet to finish the worlds hardest off road race, so the strategy this year was just that. Finish the damn thing!

With that in mind, meticulous preparations were made to the 700+ horsepower beast throughout the week. An early morning photo shoot in the rocks showed signs of a problem in the power steering system. After 2 pump changes, 3 servo replacements and a full rebuild of all components offsite (3 hours away) the power steering on car 4502 was performing as designed. Once that was sorted out, it was on to shock tuning.

You might think it is odd to shock tune each year (or even multiple times throughout the year), but the fact is, for top performance you must adjust the truck to the conditions of the desert as they are that week, as well as compensate, or make changes based on improvements or upgrades to the truck. This year, the truck received a new set of lighter axles both front and rear, and that is always going to result in a different tune on the shocks. A few quick passes in the desert was all the team from FOX needed to see what changes needed to be made. Once back in the pit area, the rear bypass shocks were removed from the truck and taken to the onsite FOX support trailer to have the internal adjustments made. In less than 24 hours, the shocks were back on the truck, and we were back in the desert to have the team evaluate the changes. The truck looked fast, and Kevin was pleased with the way it was handling!

Qualifying:

After a morning prep run on the qualifying course, it was time to go through contingency, and finally hit the track. Looking for a top-10 starting position is always important, as traffic in the rock sections always play a factor in the race, and can literally make you or break you come race day. Unfortunately, the power steering system was not done with us yet! As the truck accelerated on the course, the power steering pump locked up ejecting the serpentine belt on the 700+ horsepower Tilden Motorsports prepped Chevy. The end result was a DNF in qualifying, and a 74th starting position. Not ideal…

In the wake of the qualifying disaster, the team regrouped, and tore into the truck. The problem pump was taken to the steering masters at PSC, and in no time a solution was determined and the truck was back together! A few test runs proved that team 4502 was on the right track, and the truck had not been happier!

Race day:

Rolling off the line in 74th was not ideal at all, and probably the hardest part for the crew was watching the 73 other trucks leave the line and knowing, out there in the desert and on the rocks, traffic jams were forming and Kevin would have the push the truck hard in the desert to try and make up ground. Finally, the time came and the truck left the line. Not too soft, not too hard, Kevin was driving it just right. Remember, finishing the race is key. When the serpentine belt decided it had enough at race mile 17, all of that went out the window! The spare belt was installed, and Kevin turned into a monster! The crew was waiting at main pit for the first scheduled pit-stop of the day, with the late start and the belt replacement we figured we had some time to kill. We were wrong. The top 3 trucks came through the pits, as about 40 min after they had left, we heard the call on the radio that team 4502 was about 2 miles out! WOW, how fast did they run that first 91 miles? How many trucks did they pass to get here? All of those were good questions, but they really did not matter, as it was game time for the crew to get fuel in the car, strap a spare belt on the roll cage, and swap co-drivers for the rock section of the race. The pit-stop was flawless, and the truck was back on the track, and the crew was moving on to the 2nd pit location of the day.

Pit 2: We arrived at pit 2 about an hour after the team had left pit one. We figured we were there about ½ hour early, with enough time to set up a pit location and make sure everyone had their assigned tasks for what was going to be the final stop of the day. We waited, and waited, and waited.. still no sign of 4502. The top three came in, and few others came in, and a few dropped out right there. Still, we waited. It seemed like hours went by (in reality it was only about 1-1/2 hour). Then, finally, over the ridge came 4502. As excited as we were just to see the car, we needed to focus on the task at hand. When the truck stopped in the pits, it was clear it had been through hell and back again, and was begging for more. Somewhere along the course the truck had a head on collision with a lost spectator in a very new Toyota 4-runner. The 4-runner lost for sure, but it slowed 4502 down just enough to get caught in a big traffic jam on one of the rock trails, hence the reason for the long delay. None the less, the truck was fueled, we strapped another belt on the roll cage (we really thought belts were going to be an issue, but the spare never failed) gave it a once over and off they went back onto the race course.

The first portion of the last leg of the race was going to be the determining factor. The Outer Limits trail was one of the hardest rock trails on the course this year, and in pre-running, neither the driver or the co-driver really enjoyed or felt they had the absolute best handle on it. With rock crawling master Stephen Watson from Off Road Designs co-driving, we had the best shot of getting through clean as ever. It was about 30-40 min after leaving pit 2 that we heard on the radio that 4502 driver Kevin Sterns and Stephen Watson had cleared the Outer Limits. This was it! We knew he was going to finish, I mean there was still some smaller rock trails, and 30+ miles of desert, but it was going to happen! As we headed to Hammertown, no one really wanted to say anything, as if mentioning our excitement would somehow cause the truck to fail and not complete the course. We made our way through the massive crowd and headed to the main stage. As we watched the live feed, there he was, truck 4502 clipping through the desert, still picking off positions and making his way home. As Kevin crossed the finish line, a massive weight had been lifted off of the truck, the driver and the crew. He finished King of the Hammers!! It just so happens that the BDS sponsored 4502 is pretty fast, as with all the setbacks, and rolling off 74th, he finished in 4th place! Not a single flat Nitto Tire, not one bent Dirty Life wheel, FOX shocks ready for another 100+ miles of abuse, and all the fluids cooled thanks to C&R, the truck was back in Hammer town to one very happy crew!!!

With the big one out of the way, the truck is being cleaned and prepped for the rest of the Ultra 4 season, and will be making a run at the season championship! Stay tuned, as we will be updating the progress and attending the races as often as possible.

 

Photos by Friese Images

 

 

When it comes to offroading, BDS Suspension is always looking for the toughest terrain to put our brand to the test. King of The Hammers is one of those races that hits the mark when it comes to pushing systems to their max. Each year King of The Hammers draws in nearly 1,000 competitors take to the course to prove they can finish the most grueling one-day offroad race in the world. King of the Hammers 2019 will be held February 1st -9th in Johnson Valley, California.

Just a couple weeks out, before the desert floor rumbles and the horsepower flies. King of The Hammers

Posted by HeavyMetalConcepts on Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Over the past few weeks driver, Kevin Stearns and the crew at Tilden Motorsports / Pacific Fabrication has been busy getting their BDS-Sponsored 4500-class car ready for the Every Man Challenge Race (EMC) as well as the RT Pro RZR 1000 that will be pre-running the desert section of the course. This race brings nearly 1,000 competitors racing in multiple classes and nearly 65,000 spectators out on the lake-bed known as Hammertown. The week is filled with events, competitions, vendor show, and qualifying all leading up to the main races. With over 160-miles of rocks and open desert in for the 4400class and shorter distances for the others, King of the Hammers was truly become the ultimate test of man (or woman) and machine.

 

Watch this video to learn more about what King of The Hammers is all about.

 

For more information on King of The Hammers and the entire Ultra4 Racing series,  visit their web site: www.ultra4racing.com

For a relatively small group of offroad racers, the challenging Ultra4 racing season has led up to this point, the 11th Annual King of the Hammers (KOH) in Johnson Valley, CA. The pinnacle event for Ultra4 Racing, KOH is known as the toughest one-day offroad race on the planet. What started out as a dozen teams racing for bragging rights a little over a decade ago has evolved into so much more with 300+ teams competing in different classes, 35,000+ fans taking over the adjacent lake bed (aka Hammertown), and more than 500,000 tuning into the live feed online to watch the racing. The action takes place over the course of a week with moto, UTV, everyman and unlimited classes with qualifying and races planned for each day. King of the Hammers has become so much more than many ever thought possible and each year continues to grow with more people attending, national media coverage on NBC Sports and corporate investment getting ever deeper. Each year the cars get more advanced with cutting end technology designed for speed and durability. The course is set in and out of the mountains and wide open desert around Johnson Valley, with the rigs needing to be able to hit 100+ mph speeds as well as navigate some of the harshest rocks on the planet, carrying tools and spare parts in the event of breakage out on the trail.

Among the teams competing this year the BDS Suspension sponsored team from Tilden Motorsports rolling out a new 4500-class car with hopes to wear the crown come next Thursday. Tilden Motorsports/Pacific Fabrication has been a BDS dealer for years and specializes in LS-swaps into anything with four wheels. This 4500 build has been taking shape over the last couple months from the ground up and is slated to hit the lake bed for test and tune this week in preparation for the qualifying and racing next week with owner Kevin Stearns behind the wheel. The car has a complete hand-built tube chassis, prototype Tilden Motorsports 401ci stroker, 4L80E transmission, NP205 t-case with ORD Magnum box, Super 14 axles, FOX coilovers and bypass shocks, 37″ Nittos, 17″ Trailgear beadlocks, a Pac Racing swaybar, Warn 9.0Rc winch and Rugged Radios communications. Stay tuned for updates on the 4502-car and other teams out over the next week as we send updates from King of the Hammers.

For a full list schedule of events for KOH 2017 click here.

For the official map of Hammertown 2017 click here.

Here are some photos from the build up of Tilden Motorsports Car #4502:

Another King of the Hammers is in the books and the guys from BDS are back home shaking the dust off, going on with stories of the and camaraderie and competition out in the lake bed.  Mike Maloney and Jason Shellhaas headed out to Johnson Valley for the week long competition and came back with this to say:

…this event continues to expand and draw in larger crowds than ever before. The weather was all over the map and as motos, quads, Jeep, trucks, and buggies took to the terrain to be crowned the new King. In the main event on Friday  the competition came down to the wire with 2-time winner Shannon Campbell nipping at the heels of eventual winners Randy and David Slawson.

In the Everyman challenge, BDS distributor Pacific Fabrication stepped up and ran one heck of a race, climbing his way to into 3rd place at one point with a 40 minute lead in the team’s Blazer Truggy. Kevin and the Pacific Fab crew eventually DNF’d a mile up the Mountain from Remote Pit 2a after nearly losing the the axle when the truss sheared.

It was great to meet so many of our west coast customers and spend time with the Off Road Warehouse crew, who were kind enough to host both our sales staff and a great new display of soon to be released for the JK Wrangler. Congratulations to all the competitors that took part in this year’s races, it was an awesome week out in the desert!

If you can not view the slideshow, head to https://picasaweb.google.com/BDSsuspension/KingOfTheHammers2013

Out in the dried up lake bed of Johnson Valley, CA the once dry and dismal landscape is taken over this week each year as more than 50,000 people gather in Hammertown to watch and compete in one of the toughest off-road races in the world. What started as handful of hardcore 4wheelers racing for bragging rights out in the desert has grown into week long event, multiple classes of racers, and a year long prep for the big event.

With all the advances in technology, corporate involvement, and multiple race classes, KOH continues to have a “run what you brung”  attitude that keeps it exciting for spectators and racers alike. The 2013 King of the Hammers (KOH) runs February 3-8, 2013 with the week starting off with moto, quad, and “everyman challenge” rigs competing for the crown along with the LCQ (last chance qualifier) before the main event on Friday.

This year BDS Suspension is teaming up with Kevin Sterns from Pacific Fabrication as he competes for the crown in his GM powered #4506 GM truggy. Kevin’s no stranger to racing having taken on the Hammers and open desert races. Good luck Kevin and we wish you and the rest of the competitors a safe race.

BDS will be hanging out with Off-Road Warehouse for the race. Make sure to stop by and get out to their booth to get a sneak peek of the new components.

For all the info and schedule on the 2013 King of the Hammers, check out 2013 KOH

If you can’t make it out to the desert, watch it live all week at KOH Live Coverage