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Carnage at King of the Hammers Extreme Desert Race and Rock Crawl

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Extreme Rock Crawling on steroids is one of the ways to describe the inaugural King of the Hammers 50 mile rock race. Early morning showers made the desert manageable for racing at the Means Dry Lake area near Twenty Nine Palms, California.

Brad Lovell in one of several rock crawling sections at the Hammers
Roger Lovell in one of several rock crawling sections at the Hammers

Roger and Brad Lovell at Means Dry Lake Bed camp
Roger and Brad Lovell at Means Dry Lake Bed camp
Team Lovell was part of the invitation only event on BLM (Bureau of Land Management) lands. The K&N sponsored brothers arrived ready to compete for the first time against 43 others in an event that combines desert racing and rock crawling under harsh conditions.
Roger Lovell in Upper Johnson Canyon during King of the Hammers competition Roger Lovell in Upper Johnson Canyon during King of the Hammers competition
Brad Lovell at the start of the Hammers
Brad Lovell at the start of the Hammers

It was both a success and a learning experience,” said Roger Lovell. “We decided to split forces and it worked out for us. Only one of our Febtech sponsored Ford Rangers with K&N products finished the destructive race.”

Brad Lovell hit desert a few days early with plans to pre-run the course. “I wanted to get a good feel for Johnson Valley so we would not get lost,” he said. “Everything from the lug nuts to the steering wheel was new and our truck had zero miles on it when I arrived.”

Brad Lovell put in some high speed desert runs before bad weather blew in. “The next day, I took out our tried and true Ranger through some of the rock sections and put another 20 miles on the new truck,” he said. “Through it all my pre-running efforts only covered half of the course. When the rest of the team showed up it was time to get serious.”

Part of Team Lovell consisted of Kris Hernandez and Miles Hadden of Fabtech Motorsports, Woodrow Carroll and Brian Bingamon of K&N Filters. “It was the best team we could ask for,” said Lovell. “Having never run whoops before, I was astounded by the performance of the new Fabtech Ranger. I floored it and ignored the bumps in the road. The crew kept telling me to trust the suspension and I knew the car was going to make a lot of time in the desert.”

On race day Roger Lovell started out in 6th place and Brad started in 15th place. The racer went off in timed 30 second intervals. Placement was defined in this race by the elapsed time of the course. “We flew off the lakebed and into the sand,” said Roger Lovell. “At mile 3 I saw Roger off the course and out of his vehicle. I fought the urge the stop and went back to concentrating on the terrain.” A fan cut a radiator hose but the crew was able to quickly fix the problem and get Roger back on the track.

While the desert portions of the race were new to the Lovell brothers, the rock portion of the course was familiar territory. “The cars handled the rock portions of the course easily,” said Brad Lovell. “I couldn’t be happier with how that portion of the race turned out.”

Brad Lovell opened up into a long desert section, but had problems at mile 25. Roger finished 17th in a race that consumed nearly half of the field. Brad was forced to throw in the towel due to mechanical damage. Roger finished the race in 6 hours 12 minutes and 15 seconds. The winner, Shannon Campbell finished in 3 hours 12 minutes and 15 seconds.

“We experienced high winds on a dry lakebed and I literally got a taste of what K&N sees in an off-road race,” said Brad Lovell. “Filtering this air is a feat, but with K&N air filters performance is easy.”

Team Lovell will display both vehicles at the Off-Road Impact Trade Show in Anaheim, California on March 6-8.

Also check out the King of the Hammers, Rock Crawling & Desert Racing Combined video.

Follow Team Lovell throughout the racing season at the K&N news site. Find K&N products for your vehicle using the K&N application search then use the K&N dealer search to find a K&N dealer in your part of the world.

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K&N Engineering, Inc., with headquarters in Riverside, California, has been the world's leader in performance filter technology since 1969, serving the needs of the automotive, motorcycle, marine, industrial and military markets. K&N is heavily involved in nearly every form of motorsports from off-road and powersports to drag racing, stock cars and road racing. For more information about K&N Filters, please contact K&N Engineering, Inc., P.O. Box 1329, Riverside, CA 92502-1329, (800) 213-4182 for a dealer near you, (800) 858-3333 for technical service/questions, (951) 826-4001 Fax, e-mail tech@knfilters.com, or visit www.knfilters.com.