This Year King of the Hammers had something special for all the VW fans out there, well actually they had two something specials. The Baja Jerky Class 11 showdown and the Great American Short Course Class 11 season opener. Join Off Road Xtreme as we take a look at what happened when the bugs swarmed the lakebed.
Baja Jerky Class 11 Showdown
The Baja Jerky Class 11 showdown has been a part of KOH for a few years now. Always a fan favorite, the VWs have been constrained to the infield short course in years past. But this year the teams set out and away from Hammertown and reconvened on the Melville lakebed. They were tasked with a sprint race back to Hammertown navigating the 40-mile prologue desert loop used in the Toyo Desert Challenge.
In all, 37 bugs lined up for a land rush start. When the green flag dropped it was like a swam of locus headed towards Baldwin’s Jump. That jump only about half a mile from the start quickly turned into a graveyard of cars getting caught in the deep sand on the steep slope. For those that made it, there were only 39.5 more miles of brutal unforgiving track to go.
Hunting Down Trucks And Making Passes
The next major hurdle for the cars was Heartbreak Hill. A bottleneck of 1400 trucks from the Terra Crew Rush was already strewn across the track there. As a note, part of the Terra Crew special race rules stated, any truck passed by a Class 11 was immediately disqualified.
It was the Pink Fox Racing car of Cisco Bio that led the field through Heartbreak and back onto the lakebed ruining the day of several trucks as he buzzed by. Unfortunately for Cisco, he got held up around ten miles out and SCORE Champion Alex Gonzales was quick to take the lead.
Alex’s second run up Baldwin’s jump was flawless and he sailed into Hammertown to take the win. Cisco was able to get underway again after getting buried in the sand and finished second. Veteran off-road racer Larry Roeseller navigated the mayhem and took the last step on the podium. Overall, the Baja Class 11 Showdown was huge fun and great racing. For full results check out King of the Hammers’ official site. After the inaugural running, we can only hope the land rush start desert race is a permanent fixture at KOH events to come.
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2023 Terra Crew Rush | Baja Jerky Class 11 Showdown Presented by EMPI Race Highlights
Throwdown At King Of The Hammers Class 11 Showdown
Great American Short Course
Class 11 fans didn’t have to wait long for some more VW action. Two days after a grueling 40-mile desert run was the Great American Shortcourse (GAS) season opener. This year KOH partnered with GAS to bring fans some intense short-course action on the lakebed. The race started with 18 cars ready to tackle the short course for a total of 12 laps. As the action got underway the large field stretched out down the track. But it didn’t take long before a rollover near the end of the first lap would bunch them right back up under yellow. Greg Shapiro led the field back out, followed by a pair of Slow Ride Garage cars piloted by Ryan Rodriguez and Donny Donavan.
Going wide in the first turn, Shapiro lost momentum and got swallowed up by Rodriguez. Donavan was able to get by as well as the two banged door-to-door through the next turns. At the competition yellow, with six laps to go, it was still the light blue Slow Ride cars up front. That changed as soon as the track went green again though, Donny Donavan had the same luck as Shapiro earlier and got pushed wide in turn one losing a spot to Josh Felix.
For the next two laps, Donavan fought back and was able to squeeze back into second. Cisco Bio then caught a run and made a double pass on the back straight to pull into 3rd. From there, it was pretty smooth sailing for the top three to finish in that same order. For all the results and points standings head over to GAS’s official site for more information.