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2021 King of the Hammers EMC Race DKA Motorsports 4659 Recap

tribal4krawler

DKA Motorsports
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119
2021 King of the Hammers Race Recap:
The DKA team of Donnie/Alex, Lance/Brittany and Allen headed out West from Houston on the morning of jan 26th. We were making great time going through El Paso until the wheels fell off, literally. We lost the duals on our borrowed trailer from our buddy Tyler, and realized there was enough damage that we would not be taking that trailer to California. We were lucky enough to get in touch with Angel who got us set up with a trailer repair place, and coordinated getting us a borrowed 40' gooseneck from Steven. The next day we got all that set up, and were on our way again. We had a couple of spare tires for the gooseneck and by the time we crossed into California we had used all of them. Luckily, we were able to make it into Hammertown without any more flats.


We settled down in camp with the rest of the Jammers crew consisting of Mike, Chris and Josh of NOE Racing, Rob and Scott from RobGraham Racing and Ken, Tyler and Brandon of Team 187. We went out for some shock tuning with King Shocks which made a massive difference. The truck has never felt so sorted in the chop and whoops as it does now. We noticed some heavy vibrations and that the transfer case was continuing to not shift into 2wd, so we decided to pull the tcase out and inspect it. Many hours later, using the parts of all 3 NP231 cases we had, we put the transfer case back into the truck (still no 2wd). We went out with Mike and Ken in the race trucks with the intention of running the desert loop, but Ken had transmission issues early and had to break off and head back to camp. Alex and I continued on with Mike/Chris and Jeff/Chris on their dirtbikes following into Cougar Buttes. We cruised through Cougar pretty easily but on the last climb the anti-wrap bar literally just dropped off. After inspecting it, it was clear it'd been breaking off for a long time. Jeff and I were able to get the antiwrap cleaned up, and the pinion angle improved using some temporary spring shims and welded all back together. We also had some issues with our Caster adjusters slipping on the upper balljoints, and we elected to tack weld those which seems to have solved that issue. We spent a lot of time prerunning and mostly walking many of the Hammers rock trails, looking at lines with the guys and finding alternative routes. I felt really good about our plan in the rocks, and was just focused on keeping the truck together in the desert and making it to the rocks where the Comanche could shine. Mike of NOE Racing organized our Jammer team meetings, ensured our comms were all good, and we were able to come up with a great pit plan for all teams, using all the people we had to spread out across 3 pits.

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On race morning it wasn't as cold as it's been in previous years which was very nice. We ended up lining up next to Josh Atteberry and taking the green flag.

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We took off and made the turn and headed for the first jump. I'd watched other 4600s already launch the jump and it just didn't look super for our limited suspension trucks so I checked up quite a bit and apparently still didn't work because we hit so hard the truck shut off. I threw the truck into neutral, refired the motor and off we went behind Josh into the sandy washes. Coming up to the first hill I noticed the two samurais were stuck on the hill, and so were others that had tried to go around. I tried taking the middle line and felt the truck digging down so I quickly reversed back to the bottom, and decided to take the left line and try and cleanly go around Amber who was crawling at a couple miles an hour. That worked out well, and we crested the hill with Ken Carter right behind us. We traded positions back and forth all the way to Pit 1A and fought some pretty ferocious dust, especially when Miller flew by all of us in the 600 hp JLU. We decided to splash for fuel in Pit1A as we still had no clue on fuel economy with the new stroker, and then took off for Cougar Buttes. We ended up passing our teammate Ken Hale with Team 187 not long afterwards and then settled down for the rough ride out to CB. We heard NOE Racing over the radio comment that Cougar was already a traffic jam, so we weren't surprised when we came in and saw the line of cars. We had to wait for a little while for the Sequoia to bash the light blue Ranger up a climb (which was pretty entertaining) and then we were able to get by and cruise through the Buttes (and tie up our dang tire strap that always comes free only at KOH)

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We took off on the big loop around back to Pit 1B, and were already thinking ahead to our pit plans for Pit1B and Main pit, and what we were going to do in the rocks when I felt the truck nose over at about 40 miles an hour. I gave the truck some more throttle, and saw the RPM's spike. I slowed down some, shifted down a gear, and the same happened. We pulled over on the side of the trail where i hopped out and checked transmission fluid levels, and noted that the trans cooler and transmission weren't super hot. We decided to wait for a little while with the trans cooler fans blowing before continuing on and almost immediately noticing the lack of drive in forward gears, especially on anything sandy or uphill (which is almost everything). We pulled off the trail again to re-evaluate, and texted "Mother" (Alex, who was running pits for all 4 teams) to see if somebody could somehow source an AW4 to bring to Pit1 or main. While getting out of the way of some 4800 cars, I realized reverse was not slipping at all, and was in fact working perfectly. I glanced over at Lance and told him no matter what, we were finishing this dang first lap even if it was all in reverse. We started working on getting back to pit 1B, with every climb or slight uphill being in reverse looking at our small 3" screen reverse cameras. At one point, a 4800 car was coming up pretty hot so i turned and tried to back off the course and ended up dropping off a 6-8 foot vertical ledge, and I don't know how we didn't roll all the way over backwards. That put us in a pretty tight spot, but we were able to get the truck to bump forward up the ledge and then at an angle down to get off and down through a small canyon all in reverse before getting back on course and to Pit1B.

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In Pit1B we had Josh, Evan, Chris, Jeff, Brian, Bob and Eddie all ready to assist, and they quickly jumped on the truck and started evaluating. The transmission had gotten so hot from us pushing the trans while it was slipping that the trans fluid was puking out of the transmission dipstick, and when they sprayed brake cleaner on the bellhousing to clean off the ATF it instantly boiled off. They put some more ATF in, and I said no matter what we were going to finish the first lap, even if we had to burn down this brand new transmission that'd just been completely built. We went back to our rhythm of reversing up hills and climbs, and coasting in neutral down the hills and through the flats until we were stopped roughly 5 or 6 miles from the start finish. The course marshal said "Ultra4 says you can't go backwards on course." I replied that I understood, and that we were technically reversing forward on course, which I thought should be legal. He disagreed, but called it in and JT allowed us to continue on (Happy Birthday JT) From then on, we started noticing course workers and spectators cheering and waving us on, which was pretty cool, but honestly was laser focused on just finishing that first lap. We came up to the Bronco Arch, where i almost ran over the strap holding the structure up, and Lance insisted that we roll down that going forward which we did and to the Start/Finish where we got our sticker for completing the desert loop. Immediately after, knowing that the rocks loop was a graveyard of stuck 4800 and 4600s, we called the race and limped back to the Jammers tent.
I was pretty disappointed that the transmission let us down, and it was probably my fault as we'd never had transmission issues before I decided to get it built. However, on the bright side we were able to watch Mike and Chris of NOE Racing in 590 finally finish their first KOH EMC race in their 3rd year of trying, which was amazing.

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All in all, it was a crazy, crazy experience that nobody that doesn't come see and do for themselves will absolutely never understand. Lance did a great job codriving, and I laughed when he said for once he yelled at me more than I yelled at him (mostly giving directions while i was driving in reverse) We are very grateful for all the help that we got from Jeff, Chris, the NOE and Team 187 guys, Brian Rankin and Bob, and all the suggestions and advice from fellow racers. The food cooked by Chef Allen was absolutely on point as always, and Alex for ensuring I did more than just ingest Monsters and beer. We can't wait to do it all again next year, and I think we will truly have a truck that can finish, and finish well.

 
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Austin

Blame Canada
CAL4
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Hey man it was great meeting you and the wife! Awesome recap videos, like I mentioned on YT it was something else to watch everybody int he media tent gather around the TV and give you props for driving in reverse to get to the finish line.

Didn't get many pics this year but here are a few from the starting line :beer:

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tribal4krawler

DKA Motorsports
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Jun 1, 2020
Member Number
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119
Thanks Austin it was a pleasure meeting you as well! We definitely used the irate gaiters and koozies and still do!

RideRed3 appreciate the support!! We will definitely be back at AOP looking for another podium finish. Next race for us is Rush, KY April 17th.
 

RunningProblem

Well-known member
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2860
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It was definitely cool to watch you guys go in revers for the final miles AND see a course official clap for you guys. Announcers were even into it and I was really impressed with your driving skills the whole way to the finish line in reverse.
 

tribal4krawler

DKA Motorsports
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Thanks RunningProblem and SurfNSnow. Yeah I’ve always been pretty comfortable driving in reverse but it was definitely a mental workout for me driving that far. We did have reverse cameras but sometimes there wasn’t enough definition in the sand/dirt to see where the trail went, and we have almost zero visibility looking back so that’s why my codriver had to get out a couple times and guide me up trails
 

Austin

Blame Canada
CAL4
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1
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We did have reverse cameras but sometimes there wasn’t enough definition in the sand/dirt to see where the trail went, and we have almost zero visibility looking back so that’s why my codriver had to get out a couple times and guide me up trails

I was wondering how you were doing that with a hans device on ... :beer:
 

OllieNZ

Donk
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May 19, 2020
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48
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Limeyland
Thanks RunningProblem and SurfNSnow. Yeah I’ve always been pretty comfortable driving in reverse but it was definitely a mental workout for me driving that far. We did have reverse cameras but sometimes there wasn’t enough definition in the sand/dirt to see where the trail went, and we have almost zero visibility looking back so that’s why my codriver had to get out a couple times and guide me up trails

Sounds like it's time for a 4k upgrade to the back up camera :flipoff2:

Did you find out what happened to the trans in the end?
 

tribal4krawler

DKA Motorsports
Joined
Jun 1, 2020
Member Number
1745
Messages
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no we haven't figured it out yet, but i'll certainly update once we do know. I have another AW4 rattling around here and i think i'm gonna just get another TC and throw it in and see how it feels. on a funny note, we actually run 2 backup cameras as the original one on the bumper likes to break when I get nerfed, so we ran a separate camera thats in a less vulnerable spot but doesn't have as much visibility so we had two monitors to watch and judge. Before we got to pit 1B, i was actually using 4Hi in Reverse and we were moving along at a pretty good clip (until we drove backwards off an 8 foot ledge) after that we decided 4lo and going a little slower was probably a good call.
 

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