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Parker 425 Desert Race Ends for Brad Lovell, King of Hammers Off Road Race is Next

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There is a level of endurance necessary to take a truck on a 425 mile desert race which batters the body and punishes the vehicle. “It’s hard to understand the feel of it without experiencing it first hand,” said Brad Lovell. “The bruises and aches I have are a testament to the difficulty of such a race.”

Ford Ranger fights weather at Parker 425 near Colorado River in Parker, Arizona
Ford Ranger fights weather at Parker 425 near Colorado River in Parker, Arizona

King of the Hammers competition in 2008 with Team Lovell
King of the Hammers competition in 2008 with Team Lovell
The Parker 425 takes place along the Colorado River which is surrounded by thousands of square miles of desert. Racers drive three laps around a 140 mile course. “Our team piloted the No. 7231 Ford Ranger into the desolate landscape,” said Lovell. “There were four of us, Bill Kunz, Greg Jones and Bradley Bolton rounded up our team.”
Team Lovell is ready for the 2009 King of the Hammers
Team Lovell is ready for the 2009 King of the Hammers

K&N products help Team Lovell in difficult desert races with extra filtration and power
K&N products help Team Lovell in difficult desert races with extra filtration and power

Kunz and Lovell took the green flag and began their 235 mile leg. “I was a little nervous about the unknown terrain, but got comfortable quickly,” said Lovell. “I started calling out turns and hazards from our GPS map. This job proved to be very important as we passed multiple trucks and buggies upside down or crashed within the first ten miles of the race.”

Simple tasks like focusing on gauges was a constant effort for the racers due to the bright sun, dust and constant jarring on the course. Before pit number one the vehicle Lovell was navigating slowed to a stop. The entire wheel and tire were missing and they had to call the chase crew. After about an hour of work they were back in the game.

“We had more hammering and jarring,” said Lovell. “My helmet slammed into my head when we crashed into an overgrown washboard that was up to five feet deep. The whole process was extremely violent. This is why people say desert racing is like a 24-hour plane crash.”

After the sand wash, the team made it to the high land. “Bill opened up all 496 horsepower and we topped out at nearly 100 mph,” said Lovell. “It is, however, very difficult to determine when there is a faster car behind you and the hazards that can bring to you.”

Vehicles can hide in the thick dust and the loudest sirens are muted. Lovell said the aggressive way to make a pass is to simply crash into the truck in front of you. “We learned this first hand when an unlimited buggy slammed into us,” he said. “We were doing about 65 mph at the time and the buggy was doing about 90 mph. The rear of our truck lifted and slid to the side and we just let him by.”

The next hurdle was a desert downpour. Silt and sand became miles of mud as the low areas filled with water. “Chances were, if we stopped for any reason we wouldn’t get going again,” said Lovell. “We were soaked and cold and our communications went out because of the moisture. We made it to Pit Three and the next crew took over.”

The Ford Ranger was equipped with a K&N. “It was filthy out there but with our K&N air filter we had one less thing to worry about,” said Lovell. “We got the extra filtration we needed in the desert mud, sand and silt with K&N.”

Eventually a rear suspension link ended the race for the four. Only 76 of the 275 entries finished the race and many teams abandoned their rigs in the desert and had to retrieve them later.

Brad and his brother Roger Lovell are looking forward to their next event, the King of the Hammers Race. “It’s an epic race, and one of the most daring in rock sports,” said Lovell. “We hope to bring home the win for K&N in our FABTECH Ford Ranger.”

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.