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Tracy Jordan’s – New Rock Bug at KOH

Situated within the Mohave Desert, Johnson Valley, CA is home to some of the most extreme desert trails and unforgiving terrain.  The seven trails that zigzag up through the valley and into the hills of this popular off-roading locale are commonly referred to as “The Hammers.”

The Hammer Trails and the surrounding Lucerne Valley desert race course are the inspiration for the most unique and newfangled forms of racing to emerge in recent history.  The event, known as King of the Hammers, (KOH), is a 82 mile race which blends the technical aspects and calculated movements of rock crawling with the fast-paced and wide open throttle action of desert racing.  This new hybrid style of rock-n-don’t-roll racing demands a vehicle and equipment that can articulate and traverse through the treacherous landscape of the Hammer Trails and handle the challenging desert course incorporated into this one-of-a-kind event.  The differing terrain and conditions require a finely tuned and tested vehicle with a unique suspension set-up.Spidertrax Offroad, a Colorado-based company owned by Tom Kingston and Eddie Casanueva, is one of the leading fabricators of exceptional rock crawling parts such as axle shafts, wheel spacers and quarter rear elliptical suspensions.  In short, if anyone could build a kick-butt hybrid rock crawler meets desert racer then Spidertrax could – and that is just what Tracy Jordan, one of the biggest names in the rock crawling world, was counting on when he ordered up “The Rock Bug.”

“The goal of the Rock Bug is to create a whole new platform for aggressively testing the working limits of ultra high strength, ultra light weight product designs. When we say working limits, we aren’t talking just about show and shine either. The Rock Bug is set to debut at the 2009 King of the Hammers competition, driven by its proud owner, rock crawling champion Tracy Jordan,” commented Spidertrax co-owner, Tom Kingston. This nervy new ultra compact and lightweight chromoly chassis design demands parts which are equally suited for this brave new build.  A key ingredient and major aspect of any race vehicle is the suspension design and set-up.  Upon hearing of this radical new project, King Shocks stepped up to the plate with an equally radical shock idea.  Since weight savings was a factor, why not design and run a lightweight 2-½ inch by 16-inch quadruple by-pass air shock?!!

King Shock’s owner, Lance King, and in-house shock tuning specialist, Geraldo Iribe, worked extensively with Tracy Jordan and the crew at Spidertrax to develop a finely tuned shock that could perform in the extreme and varying landscapes of the Mohave Desert.   While air shocks are not necessarily a new idea when it comes to rock-crawling, the idea of doing a quadruple by-pass air shock is.

The benefits of these unique King-brand nitrogen air-filled shocks, versus coil-over springs, is the air shocks allow for ride height adjustment without the additional weight and hassles of changing out the coil spring to achieve the varying spring rate and ride heights.  The quadruple external by-passes allow for easy fine-tuning and adjustability through full internal valving of the piston.  By allowing a certain amount of oil to flow around the valving piston and through the by-pass tube, each chamber can have an independent amount of control from the previous.  Internal valving makes the King by-pass shocks velocity-sensitive while the external adjustment of each by-pass tube allows for position-sensitive damping.  Each by-pass tube can be independently adjusted to fine-tune the rebound, bleed resistance, and compression, depending on the terrain and the wheel-travel requirements.

Needless to say, after extensive testing and tuning, both Tracy Jordan and the crew at King Shocks were quite pleased with the results and were confident the Rock Bug would throw the hammer down to the competition at the King of the Hammers race.  “I couldn’t believe the level of customer service that was extended to me by King Shocks!  It was great working with the owner, Lance King.  He definitely rolled up his sleeves and jumped right into the project.  Lance and Iribe spent quite a bit of time testing and tuning to make sure I had winning shock that would perform under the diverse conditions.  I couldn’t be happier or more impressed with their product and level of customer attention,” commented Tracy Jordan.

In addition to working extensively and performing some last minute fine-tuning with Tracy Jordan, King Shocks was the only shock company out in full-force at KOH with service technicians and support representatives.  Many existing customers took the opportunity to stop by the King support trailer and have their shocks fine-tuned one last time before the big event.

As rock-crawling and rock-racing continues to grow in popularity, so will King Shocks support of these grassroots racers and events.  Our continued support and service at King of the Hammers and W.E. Rock Pro Class competitions will be a value-added racer service you can rely on.

So what happened to the Rock Bug rig at King of the Hammers?! Unfortunately, during some last minute rock-crawling testing, Tracy realized the torque converter stall speed was not properly set while at the transmission builder and the computer tuning program for the engine was not properly tuned.  Running the Rock Bug as-is ran the risk of seriously damaging the Scat V4 engine and compromised its chances of running in the W.E. Rock Pro Class competition just several weeks after the King of the Hammers event.

The eleventh hour decision to pull the Rock Bug from the race and run the Twisted Customs rig instead was reached by Tracy and his crew late Thursday evening, just hours before the Friday event.  Starting in the 30th position and moving up to 5th place by race mile 24, Tracy was confident he had the chance at a podium finish when the Twisted Customs rig suffered from a serious, high-speed rollover in a fast section of the course.  The crash was gnarly enough to take Tracy and his co-driver, Eddie Casanueva out of the competition.  Fortunately, everyone walked away from the crash unscathed.

In any case, King Shocks is certain our quadruple by-pass air shocks installed on the Rock Bug rig will perform and impress at the upcoming W.E. Rock Pro Class competition!  Check back often for product and event updates!

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