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King Shocks equipped Raptor to compete in Dakar Rally

A special Ford Raptor has been built to compete in the famous Dakar Rally. The Dakar Rally traverses 6000 miles of punishing terrain from Buenos Aires, Argentina to Arica, Chile and back over a 16-day event. Except for rest days, the teams race a rally stage every day and then bivouac at the makeshift town that moves along the route each day. The rally tests every aspect of a team, driving, navigation, vehicle construction, logistics, preparation and mechanical aptitude. To win is extraordinary, most teams just hope to finish.

The Ford Raptor’s tough construction and well thought out design makes it a perfect starting point for a race vehicle. The truck was built at The Fab School in Riverside, California for driver and Journalist Sue Mead and Dakar veteran Darrin Skilton who has experience in just about everything related to off-road competition.

The Dakar Raptor is basically stock with some key upgrades to make it race-worthy. Students at the Fab School, under the guidance of instructor and master fabricator Troy Johnson, were responsible for the design and construction. The tubular roll cage inside the cab is a work of art as well as the continuously curved front bumper that fits so cleanly that many might not notice it.

The Raptor is outfitted with all the required safety equipment including radios, Baja Designs lighting, a master electrical cut-off switch that ties into the custom wiring harness made by Patrick Smith at Smithracewire.com, comfy Cobra seats and Crow harnesses. General Grabber tires were chosen for their toughness and extraordinary traction in all types of terrain. The drivetrain was built right by Ford so aside from some goodies from ARB and the Royal Purple fluids, it remains stock.

The suspension is where the bulk of upgrades have been performed. In the front, the stock shocks were replaced by 3.0 inch King Coilovers with remote reservoirs. The coilovers bolt on with minor modifications to the factory upper mount. The Kings were chosen for their durability, adjustability and ease of maintenance. With the Kings, you can adjust the spring rate and preload as well as the internal valving to fine-tune the Raptors suspension. The bigger 3.0 inch diameter shock has a much larger piston to provide greater damping at higher speeds in rough terrain. In the rear, the team has installed a heavy-duty, Deaver leaf spring pack on each end of the factory solid axle and a King 3.0 inch externally adjustable bypass shock with piggyback reservoir mounted to the stock mounts. The 3.0 external bypass shocks allow precise, position sensitive tuning for the compression and extension strokes. Racing for days in remote and challenging terrain, the team wanted the peace of mind that King Shocks provide. They not only offer unparalleled performance but any valving adjustments or service deemed necessary by the drivers or by mechanics Dan Moore and James Fisher can be done in the field with simple hand tools.

Competing in the Dakar Rally places huge demands on a vehicle and its drivers. You need the most durable and best performing shocks available. That’s why the Fab School Raptor team chose King Shocks. King Shocks have been race proven in the harshest environments around the world. When you ride on Kings you will know, there really is a difference. Nothing else rides like a King.

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