It’s always a good start to the year when the Campbell Cars come back in one piece to the shop after the toughest race! If you have had the pleasure of watching KOH in person or even the live coverage you know exactly what we are talking about. The team had quite the week with racing UTV's on Sunday and there 4400 cars on Friday. Wayland, Bailey, Shannon, Terry Madden and Jason Berger pre-ran the course multiple times along with shock tuning in between to shake down cars and break in there 2019 Polaris Turbo S RZR's.
UTV Race Day - Sunday 3rd, 2019 - Shannon started 13th off the line and behind him were Wayland and Bailey starting in 25th & 26th. Right off the bat, around RM7 Bailey and Terry had over heating issues and found that there RZR had air locked. After about 3 hours of work on course and in the pits, they were able to fix the issue and get running again. This did knock them out of pace for a podium finish but now they were racing to finish on time. Wayland quickly passed Shannon in the desert before entering the first rock trail known as Cougar Buttes. Each of them was on a mission to finish. Wayland finished 2nd place with Shannon right behind in a solid 4th position. Bailey followed, just making the cut off time.
Qualifying Day - 12th - 02:28.0
Race Day – DNF
King of the Hammers, it’s unlike any other race out there. Over 50,000+ people come out to Johnson Valley to watch us racers test our abilities, patience and the amount of abuse our cars can withstand. Unfortunately for me, the desert won this year. I was having a phenomenal day passing people and gaining ground on the leaders after starting in the 6th row. By the end of the first desert loop I had made my way up to 4th place and sailed through the 2nd lap in the rocks with zero issues, still trying to catch the people in front of me. On the third and final lap I left main pit in 3rd place and headed towards back door. When I reached the main part of the trail I found 2nd place, Paul Horschel winching up the waterfall and for the first time in my career as a racer I had to get out and winch myself... man was that a workout! Paul ended up rolling on the second ledge of backdoor taking up almost the whole trail. As soon as he was upright I picked a line and shot it. I made the pass and headed toward my next enemy, a trail called Sledge Hammer. I drove into sledge twenty-three minutes behind 1st place, Jason Scherer. With the same luck tagging along from the last climb, I was able to one shot the plaque line and come out nineteen minutes behind 1st. Sadly my day came to a halt shortly after finishing the rock trail, Aftershock. The passenger a-arm let go and even with the parts and tools I was unable to get the car back together. I called my race but still had high spirits as my father and sister both finished in well-deserved spots. I know one day I will be able to say I was the "King of the Hammers".
Qualifying Day - 10th - 02:26.9
Race Day - 3rd - 7:17:17
Every year KOH seems to get bigger and bigger and the competition keeps getting tougher and tougher especially with my own kids who have become my stiffest competition. Qualifying used to be my favorite thing making sure I had that first starting position. It's a guy thing I guess, but the older I've got the smarter I've gotten especially at a race like KOH. Having the competition in front of you seems more strategic. It's an endurance race not to mention, I don't have that edge I used to, missing turns and things! I qualified 10th, not bad out of a hundred something cars. Friday morning was the big day and the start of the race. It started a little rough... got in my car to line up but my brakes went to the floor. Needless to say, we made it to the start line I got the hole shot and was off within 5 miles. Soon after I had lost oil pressure. Studying oil temps and engine temps I decided it was electronic and kept racing. Wayland radioed in and said, "Dad I'm right behind you", letting him by I followed close until hitting a rock with my right rear tire giving me a flat which took a bit to change. After this I knew I had to keep calm and not have any more problems. So, I pushed patiently back through the field finding myself entering the third lap in 5th, Wayland in 2nd and Bailey tortured with minor problems but determined to make it back to the front. I made a pass on Paul Horschel at back door for 4th position with the help of my Mexican friends, the Gomez Brothers as they pulled winch line. I began blowing through the rock trails finding myself on Sledge, determined not to winch aggressively. I crested the top of sunbonnet with a smile and a sigh of relief, I was that much closer to the front then all of a sudden, I heard Wayland radioing for help. He needed a passenger front a-arm, so I relayed to main pit and by the time I hit pit 2b they handed it off to me to deliver to Wayland. Moving into third hoping to catch the leader, I was thrashing my car through Outer Limits and Spooner's and I came to the conclusion it wasn't going to happen. My only option was to make sure I finished which got us on the podium with a solid third place. This race takes a lot of work, prep, skills and 90% luck. It just wasn't my year but had fun trying. I’d like to thank all my friend’s family and sponsors for the efforts they put into our team.
Qualifying Day - 21st - 02:31.8
Race Day - 8th - 8:33:38
King of the Hammers is beyond something that can ever really be described until you witness it for yourself. It’s rugged terrain and grueling rock trails can instantly take over within a matter of seconds but that’s what makes this race the toughest off-road race in the world! Our car had been running better than it ever has, even with the abuse it was getting. Around mile 9 a rear tire came apart leaving us with no rear brakes and tread wrapped around the axle. Luckily my co-driver Terry was able to cut bits of tire with wire cutters to free it up and throw the spare tire on (It was hard not to laugh as he was literally only able to cut a 1/4" of tire at a time). Picking competitors off one at a time we made it to mile 60 and had small incident with the rear end of another car. Not having brakes made it hard to maintain a good pace behind someone else while taking on dips and tight turns through the desert. After the small hit the hood was damaged and flew off making us realize the motor on the winch completely broke off along with a smashed shock reservoir and was now dangling down by our feet and the steering rack. Terry was able to get a message out to main pit to see if Darren from WARN Industries had any type of spare winch we could throw on the car. Luckily, they let us mount the Anniversary 8274 they had on display and had it ready in the pits. Thank you WARN and Darren for not only being there to help hook everything up, but for also supporting our team. As a new winch was being put on, our pit crew was handling the brake situation. As the caliper got pulled off they saw that the vent tube from the rear end got stuck in between the rotor and the brake pads. That was a huge relief and we didn't have to change out the whole caliper. It was mounted again along with a quick bleed on the brakes to assure us that we would be able to stop the car going into the rocks and desert on our last two laps. We hit Backdoor on the 2nd lap thinking we were far down in the pack. Coming out of the top of resolution and heading into the desert the pits notified us that we were running 15th. Terry and I picked up the pace and shortly made our way into the top 10. We cruised through Sledge and one-shot the plaque line. We made a quick pass around Paul Horschel and hustled through outer limits. It’s a refreshing feeling knowing that there is only 22 miles left of desert to overtake before passing that checkered flag and we brought home a respectful 8th place finish with only thirty-one finishers and a total 110 racers.
A huge thank you to the support from our sponsors!