LONG BEACH, CA FEBRUARY 25, 2013: Holy Moly Racing and George Kane may not be common names among those at the King of the Hammers, but their intent and enthusiasm put them at the 2012 Smittybilt Every Man Challenge race and this year in the 2013 King of the Hammers. With Bond Gilmer, President of Rebel Offroad, by his side as co-driver this team had one goal in mind: Finish. “Our strategy was to make the car last the entire race. As we headed into the desert we were flying over the whoops, our King Shocks were performing excellent and we started passing other cars,” said Kane. “It wasn’t even 10 minutes into the race and there was a car broken down on the side of the track. Bond kept reminding me ‘make the car last, look someone is already broken down!’ As we continued we came across another broken car, then another and another, there were broken cars everywhere! It was like a pick-a-part lot for Ultra4 cars out there,” laughed George.
The road to the race wasn’t as easy. Two days before the race they realized that they had a cracked steering knuckle and was one of the fortunate teams who utilized RuffStuff Specialties on-site welding expertise. A few hours later they were ready to take the green flag, and at starting spot number #104 it was literally almost an hour after the first green flag on Friday morning until they launched into this journey.
The day really started at the sand hill, where there were at least 10 cars backed up and stuck. “We got into the line and tried to go forward, to back up, horns blasting and sand flying everywhere, we were really stuck.” Bond jumped out and used his PCI handheld radio to communicate with George, and with one back up and a line a little further to the right the car when right up the hill.
“We entered into some tight trails with rocks everywhere, and hit a big rock at about 40 when the car was tipped onto its side and bicycled on two wheels, for at least 100 feet. I thought for sure we were going to roll, then the car balanced itself and came back down onto 4 wheels! The steering wheel jammed out of my hands but the Howe Steering pressure relief valve kicked in and my steering was back to normal. As we came around the bend there was another broken car that we slid into, but I couldn’t do anything the car simply would not turn. When Bond jumped out he found that we had a front flat, thanks to the Staun beadlocks our car drove straight and I didn’t even know we had a flat. We got to the bottom of the hill and Bond really worked hard as he jacked up the car to change the flat,” recalls George of this amazing experience.
“Back on track and headed to the real rock trails. Bond spotted me through some real hairy situations, our JE Reel Driveshaft was getting pounded on the rocks, ultimately he got us past the broken cars, saving us at least a half hour of waiting. It was probably 40 degrees out but I was sweating like crazy, the rock trails were so difficult to navigate, some I had never driven, I guess it was lucky we didn’t pre run or I would have been even more nervous had I known what was in store for us. We came down the bend and there was Chocolate Thunder, we had the green flag, so we went right in, 4-low and we rolled right up in 2:19 seconds! It was great to hear the fans cheering us on.
“We got to Wreaking Ball and while winching up a waterfall, the winch sucked up so much battery that the car backfired and quit, there was smoke everywhere! All the rescue staff came running with their fire extinguishers, but we were ok, the smoke cleared and the motor started right back up and around the corner we came upon Robby Gordon’s broken car, when Bond reminded me again: ‘Look we beat Robby! Remember save the car.’ Somehow we made it thru the rocks of Big Johnson, Balderdash, and Elvis! We were beating many of our competitors just because they broke their cars, our plan to save the car was working. However, we were not immune to damage, when we arrived at pit we were told that we had broken two rod ends. Thank goodness for Rock Krawler Suspensions and FK Bearings as both companies’ just days before the race provided us with new link arms and rod ends, Jimmy Evans our pit chief jumped in and made the repair quick and easy.”
“As it got darker, it was very difficult to navigate at night even with our bright Rigid Lights, some of the trail markers were knocked down or simply not easy to find. We must have gotten lost 10 times, driving around in circles, if it weren’t for the GPS we surely would have never made it. On our second lap the track looped back around to the sand hill but this time I told Bond there is no one in the way and I am going to punch it thru these rocks! I hit the gas and the Pacific Fab motor was revving so high, sand was flying everywhere; we popped a wheelie and the motor pulled us up that sand hill at amazing speeds!” said George with a huge smile.
“It wasn’t long after that we heard that it was 6pm via our Main Pit radio and if you don’t make it back to main pit by 6:30 the race organizers will not allow you to take the 3rd lap. It was peddle to the metal time. We were both shivering cold and were going as fast as we could. Of course we got lost again, made it back to the trail and tried our hardest to get back to main pit by 6:30. I was watching the GPS time and it looked like we were not going to make it, but it would be close! I tried going faster, then we hit a huge bump and the back of the car kicked up onto the two front wheels! As we made it closer to the finish line we punched it up the hills, thru the washes and tried our best to make it in time. At 6:48, just 18 minutes past the deadline we crossed the start line and headed to the pits.
“We didn’t quit the race the race quit on us; we were not allowed to run our final lap. The disappointment was huge; at the drivers meeting no one ever mentioned the 6:30 cut off. Both Bond and I were sad that we were not allowed to finish the race, until we drove up to the pits and there was Jacky and Joy jumping up and down and routing us on for what we had accomplished.”
George Kane and Bond Gilmer would like to thank all the team for dedicating their time and all our sponsors who dedicated their support; it took all these efforts to make this race possible! The 2013 King of the Hammers Race was truly the toughest and most grueling off road race in history, a lot of experience was gained from having survived it! Participating in KOH was an adventure of a lifetime! We are anxiously looking forward to the 2013 season that will consist of several Ultra4 Western Regional races in hopes of pre-qualifying for the King of the Hammers in 2014.
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Sponsors: Rebel Off Road, 21st Centruy Programming, Rigid Industries, Rock Krawler Suspensions, King Shocks, Staun Internal Bead Locks, FK Berrings, JE Reel, Motive Gear, Dynatrac, Artec, Howe Performance, Pacific Fab, PCI Radios, Magnaflow
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