Lasernut – 2014 King of The Hammers
The 2014 King of The Hammers race was slated to be one of the most watched off-road motorsport’s event in the USA! For those that are new to Ultra4 racing, and the King of The Hammers (KOH) event. Ultra4 racing combines two of off-road racings most extreme disciplines, desert racing and rock crawling. Building buggies for either form of racing is difficult enough! But, when you have to build a buggy that excels in both worlds you have a daunting task ahead of you. Most rock crawler specific buggies are not designed for high speed desert sections. And the same goes for high speed desert buggies, they weren’t designed for the unforgiving rock trails that Johnson Valley, California is famous for. With trail names like Chocolate Thunder, Wrecking Ball, Clawhammer and Jackhammer you can probably guess that these trails are as tough as they come. That is the biggest reason why some consider this race the toughest one-day off-road race in the world. Only a few teams will be lucky enough to finish the race before the designated cutoff time of 10pm. And more than likely most buggies will become stranded in some remote canyon miles from the nearest pit stop area with vital components oozing synthetic fluid. To win this race you have to be fast but at the same time keep your buggy in one piece over the brutal 198 mile course. Out of 158 Ultra4 cars that left the starting line, only 32 would cross the finish line in time! Here is a quick look at Lasernut’s first time racing in this prestigious event!
Lasernut President Cody Waggoner has been wheeling in and around Johnson Valley, California since 1997. But this was his first year competing in the now wildly popular King of The Hammers race. Just having knowledge of the trails in Johnson Valley gives Southern California competitors a slight advantage when navigating the vast terrain in this area. Cody and his family recently purchased 10 acres in the Johnson Valley region as a recreational get-away for them to relax on the weekends. This also gave them a permanent pit area away from the hustle and bustle of “Hammertown”, where most teams pit and display their off road related products.
Qualifying this year was tough for all teams, as the course was exceptionally brutal. The Lasernut buggy suffered a rollover in qualifying at the top of one of the rocky vertical climbs. Luckily the buggy came out relatively unscathed and we were able to continue on with our race as planned.
The week started out with the now hugely popular “Backdoor Challenge”. The Backdoor obstacle is a tough near vertical climb up a dry waterfall, and it is usually undercut at the base from 40” tires digging the sand out of the bottom while attempting to clear the top in one shot. This year competitors could sign up for a chance to enter this extra curricular challenge. The objective was simple, race from the bottom of the Backdoor obstacle to the top. The driver with the fastest time takes the $10,000 check home! Cody missed grabbing the cash in his number 48 buggy by just a few seconds, finishing in 2nd place!
Backdoor Video – Cody’s 2nd place run during the Backdoor Challenge, courtesy of Busted Knuckle Video!
Friday February 7th was finally here, race day! Before the sun came up buggies were slowly staging themselves in line to leave the start gate. Swarms of off road race fans were already walking around Hammertown anticipating the start of the race. Teams would leave the start line two at a time, in a side by side sprint for open race course. Once they left the start, teams now had to pace themselves over the course of the next 14 hours in order to finish! Once the dust settled at the end of a long hard day of ups and downs, Cody and the Lasernut Racing team finished 19th overall at the 2014 King of The Hammers race, an amazing accomplishment! This year Lasernut Racing will have two buggies competing at King of The Hammers. Not only is Lasernut President Cody Waggoner racing again, he will be joined by his father Jim Waggoner as well. Between the two of them they have incredibly extensive knowledge of the Johnson Valley area, and more specifically the “Hammers” trail system. They have spent countless hours practicing and prepping for the 2015 event! Keep an eye on them at the 2015 King of The Hammers Race!
Lasernut Racing has a full fabrication shop that builds and maintains both Lasernut rock racers. Off road fabrication is one of our many specialties! If you are looking for help manufacturing parts for your off road company or race team give us a call today for a quote, 951-808-9192! Be sure to check our facility video tour below as well!