King of The Hammers has earned its reputation for being the toughest single-day off road race in the world. King of The Hammers 2016 definitely carried on the tradition. This was Cody Waggoner’s third year racing in the event. Cody’s dad Jim Waggoner was also racing for his second time with Cody’s brother Bryan pulling navigation duty again. After the success of finishing last year’s race, with Cody placing 7th and Jim finishing in 15th, Lasernut Racing had high hopes coming into KOH 2016. Their main goal was to improve position over the previous years. Sure winning is on everyone’s mind going in, but just finishing this race is a mountainous task! Plus, for this year’s race Cody had a completely new buggy built by Armada Engineering featuring a carefully thought out fully independent suspension design front and rear. Cody and co-driver Stuart Crawford were heading into battle with a brand new rig and limited test time before race weekend. The war over ifs/solid axle or dual solid axles has gone back and forth with buggies of both types winning the prestigious hammer trophy! Cody felt that fully independent suspension designs hadn’t really been explored to the fullest extent yet. He decided it was time to try something different and move away from his solid axle background. Here is a behind the scenes look into Lasernut Racing’s 2016 KOH battle!
The first few days on the lakebed were rough with high gusty winds creating mini sand storms on the dry lake. Then mother nature gave us all a break and the weather cleared for the rest of race week.
Cody watering the trees at the Lasernut Racing Compound early in the morning.
Time for some maintenance and a once over on the buggies.
Reinstalling the body panels before heading out for a little test run.
Pirate the LNR Compound mascot and guard dog! Are you feeling lucky?
It’s like a scene from the movie Step Brothers.
The next day it was qualifying for Cody and Stuart during the “Power Hour”! Stuart strikes a pose before climbing into the buggy.
Smooth is fast! A few shots from Cody and Stuarts qualifying run.
And done! Qualified 21st overall!
The next day Cody’s dad and brother were scheduled for qualifying. Jim and Bryan on the first climb out of the start gate.
Jim and Bryan had a solid clean run as they entered the sketchy finish line waterfall. As they dropped in the rear passenger tire tapped the wall which tipped Jim’s Bomber Fab buggy to his driver side. As they started to go over Jim stabbed the throttle and drove it back onto all 4 wheels! They finished their qualifying run in 91st place overall!
With both buggies entered into the big race it was time to relax and blow off a little steam at the LNR compound! 16ft “chimney” for our fire pit. Watch it burn and tumble to the ground!
Paparazzi is everywhere!
Jumping the fire with Axial’s Yeti TT! We couldn’t resist, that ramp was calling our name!
Day before the big race was more check and prep for both buggies.
Elliot Pollock from Armada Engineering digging in.
General shenanigans with Cody, Stuart and Igor.
The ladies of Lasernut Racing.
Hey, this thing kind of looks like………..
……….a chew toy.
Time for some pit strategy!
Brad Benson and Amanda Weller going through the “to-do” checklist!
Is that a bowl of Scooby snacks?
Jack, Brad Benson’s son, stopped by briefly to give us one of his stickers. We are really proud of this brave little guy. He has gone two rounds with cancer in his short life, and has beat it both times! Team Jack for the win!
As the sunset on the evening before the big race it was time to break out the grill for some grub!
One last meeting before the big show!
Race Day!! Everyone was up well before the sun in order to prepare for the day. Cody and Stuart staged in their starting position!
It wasn’t long before you heard the roar of v8 engines coming to life in the staging area. It’s go time!
Buggies start side by side in 30 second intervals. It doesn’t take long before you have a mass of buggies out on the first lap kicking up dust. Cody and Stuart are first off the line for Lasernut Racing.
Shortly after Jim and Bryan were off too.
Jim passed Cody after he lost a shock reservoir off the back of his buggy. In doing so Jim entered Chocolate Thunder first, throttling his way up and out!
After finding a replacement reservoir and repairing their shock Cody and Stuart entered Chocolate Thunder.
Unfortunately, this is where the Lasernut Racing team ran out of luck. On lap 3 both buggies had to throw in the towel. Cody and Stuart were fighting overheating issues throughout the day and that eventually ended their race. Jim and Bryan suffered a rollover on Wrecking Ball damaging one of their shocks in the process. That shock eventually gave way bringing their race to an abrupt end. That’s why they call it racing, not winning. We will be back next year for sure! We are also extremely excited about the overall performance of the new independent buggy. It just works in the rocks and in the desert! Thanks to our Lasernut Racing family and everyone that helped us along the way this year. While not the result we wanted we learned a lot about the new buggy in an actual race setting. Stay tuned for a little retro rock crawling action from us this year as well. It will be fun to get back to our rock crawling roots! Until then, see you next year on the lakebed.
If you missed it the first time, check out the video recap from our week long trip to King of The Hammers 2016!