A ‘never say die’ attitude and Maxxis Trepadors fitted to their custom off-road vehicle — and a team of Aussie off-roaders were set to take on the infamous King of Hammers race in California, USA.
The largest off-road event in North America, and first race in the ULTRA4 Racing season, King of Hammers sees no less than 500 teams participating with 50,000 avid fans watching on! Alongside the main race, other eye-watering events include an eight-hour endurance race and contest for the fastest time up a rock waterfall, all within the extreme rocky Johnson Valley terrain.
Racing their reworked and refitted 4400 Class Ultra 4, off-roader Barry Smethurst and his team were on a steep learning curve as they joined the other diehard competitors, with their M8060 42” Trepador tyres at the ready for race day action!
In the qualifying lap the boys came in towards the rear of the field leaving them a heap of work to move up the field on race day.
“Our Trepadors performed beautifully in the sand and rocks – but we had more work to do,” Barry explains.
Over the next few days, the team did countless hours of finetuning, preparing their rig for the gruelling 320km desert and rock race of a lifetime.
“The tyres held up perfectly against the rocks and high-speed desert sections of Lap 1.”
Then disaster struck! While attempting the famous “Black Door Trail” involving a daring vertical rock wall, the rear diff pinion failed, leaving the Aussie team stranded and their journey seemingly over.
But, with a couple of deep breaths and plenty of Aussie attitude, they set out on foot to the pits to collect a new diff centre and the tools and oil required to do the swap in the field.
The team made up time, however it just wasn’t enough to get them over the finish line – this time round at least.
Says Barry: “The experience, the support and the event as a whole was an awesome journey. It didn’t go as well as we hoped but we are still excited to have raced the biggest race of its type in the world and we will be back (with our gutsy Trepadors) to have a crack again!”