The folks at Roadflydug up some older footage of me testing the 2011 Range Rover out in the mud. It just proves that I am the textbook example of dork. An entertaining dork, but dork nonetheless. Enjoy!
Man, did I have an awesome weekend or what? Friday night found me on a little road trip up to Rausch Creek, PA to watch the qualifying race. Qualify for what, you may ask? For one of the hottest races around, the King of the Hammers. It’s only been in existence for a few years, but KOH now attracts some 20,000 spectators and 150 teams to Johnson Valley, CA every year in February. You can read all about the King of the Hammers at www.ultra4racing.com
It had been raining for two days before the race, so the course was really muddy. There were a lot of rock sections, this little bit in the video above being one of the easier parts. I’d never been to an event like this. The racers did 5 laps of about 12 miles, and the leaders did it in 5-6 hours. There was a lot of winching to the top, a lot of flat tires, and a lot of flames. Seriously, two cars had on board fires!
The feel good story of the race was in car 5252. My pal JT Taylor was co-driving with Bill Baird. Bill has been kicking ass on the stock car racing circuit for years now, but this was his first off road race. And what does he do? He comes in 5th overall and earns himself a coveted spot at King of the Hammers! First. Race. Ever. It’s kind of amazing. Above pic features Shannon Campbell, winner of the 2011 KOH, Bill Baird, wearing a street racing fire suit for which he got endless crap from his crew, JT Taylor, general manager of Torchmate Racing, and then some guy I don’t know.
After a fun Saturday night with the all the racers, I left early Sunday morning to get to Old Dominion Speedway in Manassass, VA for 15 laps on a NASCAR short track. I’m not particularly all hopped up on NASCAR, but it was a good deal and its always fun to drive high horsepower cars, even if all you do is turn left.
Frankly, the outfit seemed a little lax on safety. Nobody looked at my helmet to make sure it was rated, there were kids running all around the pits, the flagger (who had no flags and was using hand signals) was spotted talking on his cell phone, and the guy driving the ride along car routinely sped through pit row. Oh, and if you did a ride along, you didn’t have to worry about wearing a fire suit. Apparently you won’t burn up if you’re in the passenger seat. I felt like I knew the rules of the track and how to remain safe well enough, so I mostly kept to myself and did my own thing.
I followed a pace car for all 15 laps, and he would get faster as the session progressed depending on how well I followed. Most of the time I remained 3 car lengths behind, and was able to catch up easily if I fell too far back. There were no speedometers in the cars, but I’d be surprised if we were going over 80mph. I never felt like I was pushing it or driving just on the edge of fear. It’s a fine line that I try to live on while in the dirt; to feel like I’m going just fast enough to feel just a little scared. I never got to that point at Old Dominion, but that’s okay. It was just for a lark, and it was fun to hear the rumble of the 450 hp engine and accelerate out of the turns. The left hand turns.
Next weekend I’ll be taking an autocross school. That should be a lot of fun and I hope to improve my focus. I’m also planning my drive cross country to California. I’ll be in Santa Cruz for 6 weeks or so. I emailed with the Tesla folks today and I may get a tour of the facilities. Here’s hoping!