|10-02-2018 10:20 AM|
|10-01-2018 04:41 PM|
|03-15-2017 11:04 AM|
|Tgates||Have to say I'm really impressed in what you and your team have accomplished, Finishing KOH every year you've raced is really impressive and something to be proud of. The fab-work on the car is truly top notch and it shows in race results. Congratulations on the 5th place, cant wait to see what happens next year.|
|02-27-2017 09:47 AM|
|pennsylvaniaboy||how did the pro comps do?|
|02-27-2017 07:58 AM|
|RuggedRadios||Congrats guys! Sounds like you guys had a very rough race..|
|02-25-2017 07:23 AM|
Great Job Buckle Down Racing on another finish! Great competitors.......
|02-24-2017 11:28 AM|
|86chevyjoe||Congrats, that was a hard earned 5th place!|
|02-24-2017 08:28 AM|
2017 EMC Race Recap
We arrived in Hammer Town on Saturday this year. We spent the last month prior prepping the car and had a solid game plan to get ready for race day. Saturday’s agenda was to set up camp, register, down load the course and get some practice time in on the qualifying course. We figured there would be a schedule for practicing the qualifying course but after talking to several people, nobody was sure when we could practice. With only a few hours of daylight left we decided to go out and see what the first 5 miles of race course was like. We ran this section of the course a few times looking for passing lanes. This section of the course was mostly 1 slow line and any passing lane was high risk. We quickly came to the conclusion that qualifying position was important.
Sunday we got up early and figured we would go practice the qualifying course before pre running the first lap. After 2 laps on the qualifying course we were informed that the qualifying course was closed. We then began to run the 1st lap of the race course when we were flagged off because the Moto’s were racing. Not knowing the Moto’s race course we hung out and watched them until the course sweep crew came by and then continued to pre run the 1st lap. Everything was going good until we decided to stop for a water break. While we were taking a break we figured we would check out the car. Come to find the front driver side axle seal was leaking pretty bad. Not a big deal, we would jump in the car and cruise back to camp to fix it. But the car wouldn’t start. Fuel pump wasn’t cycling on with ignition. We began to check fuses, finding nothing wrong, then broke out the test light. The fuel pump wasn’t getting power from the relay. We switched out the relay and we were on our way again. Once we got back to camp we spent the rest of the afternoon tearing apart the front end to replace the seals with enough time to watch the end of the Super Bowl.
Monday’s plan was to pre run the 2nd lap. Since we are very familiar with most of the rock trails in Johnson Valley, we decided to run the desert section and the connecting sections between the rock trails to keep the car fresh. The only trail we weren’t comfortable with was Full of Hate, so we planned on walking this section. We made our way around most of the 2nd lap and drove up the bottom of Claw Hammer to the exit of FOH. We parked the Jeep and walked the FOH trail. After walking the trail we found that this trail was short and very difficult. After walking it a few times we had a very easy line down the left side planned for race day. We made it back to the Jeep to finish pre running the 2nd lap when the Jeep wouldn’t start. This time we were able to confirm that the computer was sending the signal to the relay, but the power wasn’t coming out of the relay to the pump. We replaced the relay again and still no power. Luckily a group from out of state was coming down Claw Hammer and was happy to help out. They gave us some wire with a fuse block so that we could run power from the battery directly to the fuel pump. This got us back to camp so we could work on the car. We removed the jumper wire and then the Jeep started right up. We couldn’t get the issue to repeat itself again at camp and were scheduled to qualify first thing the next day. We decided to run power to the fuel pump from a switch on the dash as back up to get us through qualifying. On a good note the axle seal wasn’t leaking!
Tuesday morning we lined up for qualifying 4th off the line. We intentionally signed up for an early qualifying time so that we could push the car hard and have plenty of time to fix anything we might damage before the race. However with our intermittent electrical problems we decided to take it easy on the car during qualifying and get it back to camp to focus our time on figuring out the electrical issue. We put down a slow, conservative pass qualifying us 17th in our class. We left the track and headed back to camp to figure out the electrical problem. As we pulled into camp I noticed the engine temp at 230 deg. This car never runs over 210 deg., so I knew something was wrong. We got out of the car, lifted the hood to found that the fans weren’t on. At the time things felt like they were going downhill quick but this helped us figure out the issue. After investigating the fans not turning on we came to the conclusion that the hot terminal ends in the plugs of the harness for the relay packs had excessive gaps not making good connection with the relays. We made a trip down to CBM in Colton and picked up all new plugs with terminal ends. We spent the rest of the day rewiring all new relay pack plug ends into our harness.
Wednesday we spent the day going through our normal pre-race prep. We cycled the car a dozen times with no fuel or fan issues. As a back-up we left the fuel pump switch wired up and made some jumper wires with fuse blocks for the fans. Feeling much better about our electrical problem we relaxed and finished packing for the pits and setting our race day strategy.
Race day was finally here. We were lined up 85th overall (17th in class) and knew we had a lot of ground to make up to catch the leaders in our class. The strategy this year was going for the win! We have finished this race the past 5 years with 2nd and 3rd place finishes, playing it conservative, so this year we were going to be aggressive. The flag dropped and we went to work. The 1st lap of this year’s race was the most fun I have ever had racing. With the Legends class starting in front of us we were racing and passing cars from the first mile all the way to coming down Resolution/Backdoor into Main Pit. We didn’t plan on stopping at Main Pit this year but when coming down Backdoor I had to throttle out of the drop and hit a rock flatting the passenger front tire. While changing the tire at Main Pit the pit crew discovered the front passenger axle seal was blown out again. They filled the diff full of oil and we took off to start lap 2. Flying through the desert passing more cars we made our way to Aftershock finding our first bottle neck. Knowing all of the alternate lines in this trail we were able to pass three cars that were clogged up in the middle of the trail. We made our way out of Aftershock and headed towards Hells Gate/Devil’s Slide. We cleared Hells Gate/Devil’s Slide and moved through Sunbonnet without issues or site of any other cars. With the axle seal blown out we now had to stop at every pit to add oil. We stopped at Pit 2a to fill the front diff when the pit crew found the steering nut loose on top of the steering box, leaking fluid everywhere. They tightened the nut, filled the steering reservoir with fluid and we were off headed up Fisher Mountain. While we were in the pit a Legends car and Marty Mann (Red Modified Class Toyota) passed us. We chased their dust through Fisher Mountain catching them at the first rock section in upper Sledge. Again, with our knowledge of these trails, we were able to take a different line and pass both cars. As we continued down Sledge, just pass the first water fall after the mail box, we came up on Pellegrino. At this point in the race we knew we had to be in the top three. As we worked our way down Sledge I ran into a sharp rock with the sidewall of the tire instantly exploding the tire. We worked on getting the car off the trail as quickly as possible to change the tire and not hold up Marty Mann who was now right on our tail. In fact, they even helped push us off a few diff hangers to get out of their way. We pulled off the trail, up onto a rock, and changed the tire. We finish putting everything away and started getting in the car when Adam (Co Driver) says “we have a problem”. Come to find out we had two front flats, not one. This was the point in the race where we went from racing for a win to figuring out how we were going to finish. We jumped in the car and headed to Chocolate Thunder. With not a lot of experience driving on a flat we weren’t sure how far we would go before the tire came off the rim, so we discussed multiple options of how we were going to get through Chocolate Thunder, Wrecking Ball, Full of Hate and Lower/Upper Big Johnson to get to the pit for a fresh tire. Meanwhile we went into methodical rock crawl mode and crawled up Chocolate Thunder and headed towards Wrecking Ball. We started up Wrecking Ball and I was amazed that the tire was still holding up when about half way up Wrecking Ball the steering became very stiff. We stopped and Adam found the nut on top of the steering box loose and fluid everywhere. Adam tightened the nut added steering fluid and some diff oil and we were back on our way. Clearing the top of Wrecking Ball and heading towards Full of Hate our confidence was building knowing all we had left was down an easy left line of Full of Hate and up Lower/Upper Big Johnson and we were home free. Then we found that the easy left line on Full of Hate was blocked off and we had to run down the harder section on a flat. Still on the same flat, we crawled our way down to the last left hand turn to get out of the tough rock section and dropped the passenger front into a deep hole putting the car into a roll. Luckily there was a boulder the size of the Jeep that caught us from going over. Adam jumped out and quickly threw a strap around a rock and attached the winch line to stabilize the car. He then stacked rocks and we winched the car back onto all four tires, but now we were facing backwards on the trail. With the flat, we were unable to drive forward out of the hole so we opted to back down this portion. While backing down we put the car in another jam. Adam went to get the strap off the rock that we used further up the trail and the strap was pinched. So he wrapped the winch line around a rock to pull the car out of the stuck position, but the winch line pinched between two rocks and snapped. We now had to get hammers out of the tool bag and chip away at the rock to get our strap back and get the winch line out. We wrapped the strap, tied off the winch line and pulled the car back onto the trail. We were stuck in Full of Hate for over an hour and were exhausted. We drank a bottle of water quickly and headed to Lower/Upper Big Johnson. We began up the trail when we lost brakes. Barely catching our breaths from Full of Hate we jumped back out of the car to find the flat tire was wrapped up in the caliper. We removed the wheel and tire finding that the brake line was still good, just needed to be tightened. We figured we made it this far on a flat we would go ahead and put the other flat back on. We added brake fluid and were off. We crawled up Lower/Upper Big Johnson and headed in to Pit 2b. The pit crew changed out the flats, blead the brakes, and added diff oil and steering fluid in less than 5 minutes. We took off and headed to Resolution/Backdoor. We slowly worked our way down Resolution/Backdoor and made it to the finish line.
We managed to cross the finish line 5th in class and 15th overall out of over 130 racecars. Even though this finish didn’t meet our expectations we were still proud to once again overcome adversity and find a way to finish our 6th EMC race in a row. We are also very proud to be the first EMC car to finish both EMC and KOH races in the same week. We could not uphold this perfect record without all of the support from our family, friends and sponsors.
- My Wife and Kids
- Co-Driver Adam Wright and his family
- Pit Crew (My Dad, John, Jerry, Steve, Victor )
- My Mom and Grandparents who have been at every race supporting us.
- Havasu Crawlerz Team for all of their support at camp and help in the pits.
- Fox Racing Shocks
- Tri-County Gear Team
- PSC Steering
- ProComp Tires
- Rugged Radios
- Raceline Wheels
- G&J Aircraft
|02-15-2016 01:08 PM|
YORR is a bit of a drive for you, but they are endurance races with Ultra4 style obstacles tossed in, or try to. Nothing I've had to shift into low for, but it breaks it up and shows they are trying. They also have a pay out. Depending on how many cars show, you can easily win back your fuel/entry fee just getting on the podium. Plus it's super low key, not stressful at all....
|02-15-2016 12:51 PM|
|02-15-2016 07:45 AM|
|02-15-2016 06:45 AM|
|02-15-2016 06:41 AM|
|02-14-2016 10:18 PM|
|cajunrebel||I just went back through your build tonight. What was it that caused your steering gearbox to seize up last year? Bent components or is the wear?|
|02-14-2016 02:02 PM|
|02-13-2016 09:42 AM|
|02-13-2016 06:53 AM|
|REDLYNER||Nothing lucky about consistantly being on the podium. Congrats on another great race.|
|02-12-2016 05:43 PM|
|Lake_v2||I was watching the live feed this year instead of racing, you guys were putting on a good show. Congrats on the podium.|
|02-12-2016 05:32 PM|
|matzell||Way to go Brandon, you looked good out there.|
|02-12-2016 04:51 PM|
|hurleygo3||Congrats Brandon. Always cool to see an actual garage built rig on the podium. You better take that top box next year.|
|02-12-2016 03:30 PM|
|02-12-2016 03:24 PM|
|pcoplin||Nice work! You certainly looked fast. One of my favorite cars.|
|02-12-2016 01:25 PM|
|the freeak||WELL DONE!!!!|
|02-12-2016 12:42 PM|
2016 EMC Race Recap
For the first time in five years of racing we weren’t under the gun rebuilding our car from the ground up to get to the KOH EMC Race. We finally had the time to pre-run and test the car. Not to say that we didn’t have to overcome any challenges to get to the lakebed. One month before the race I ran out of talent during a shock tuning session, barrel rolled the car twice and head over heels two more times at speed. With lots of help from my Co-driver Adam, Tri-County Gear, Lasernut, and PSC Steering we repaired the car back to new in just two weeks to get out and finish shock tuning with Wayne at Fox Shocks. This year we showed up to the lakebed the most prepared we ever had been and the car faster than ever.
Race day was finally here. We staged our car in 26th position, strapped on our helmets, and buckled ourselves into the racecar. As cars began to leave the starting line and we slowly approached my Co-driver Adam said “Take it easy. This race isn’t won off the start”. It felt like an eternity but we finally made our way to the start line and the green flag dropped. We took it easy over the jump than laid into the throttle. We quickly gained a couple positions by the time we exited the backside of Short Bus. Three more positions as we worked our way to the dry lakebed behind Back Door. Once we hit the dry lakebed the dust was so bad that we could hardly see the front of the hood on the racecar. This lasted for about 8 miles slowing us way down navigating off the GPS alone until we passed enough cars to find clean air just as we entered into Pit 1. We cruised through Pit 1 and headed back out onto the race course. Cars were spread out at this point so we ran our pace chasing down one dust trail after another. We were running a really clean first lap until we reached the sand hill. This is where I made our first mistake getting us hung up pretty bad. Adam jumped out of the car and winched us up the hill. Unfortunately this mistake cost us a few hard earned positions. We worked our way back to race pace and entered into Main Pit completing the first lap of the race. We stopped for fuel and a quick once over of the car before we headed out to the rock sections of the race. At this point we have worked our way up from 26th to 8th in class. Pit crew gave us thumbs up and we took off to start the second lap. We moved quickly to our first rock trail Boulderdash, where we ran into our first bottleneck. Once we worked our way through Boulderdash and down Upper Big Johnson we knew we had a small window of opportunity to pass some of the cars in front of us before entering Claw Hammer. This is where I made my next big mistake. Pushing hard through this section I nailed a huge boulder at speed ripping the steering wheel out of my hands and exploding a front tire. We jumped out, changed the front tire and inspected all of the steering components. Again this mistake cost us a few hard earned positions. We jumped in the car and worked our way up Claw Hammer running into another bottleneck at the waterfall. Once we worked our way through the waterfall section on Claw Hammer it was clear sailing down Wrecking Ball and up Chocolate Thunder. We then entered into Jack North which didn’t have me concerned at all until we reached the waterfall at the end of the trail and hit the biggest bottleneck of the day. With no alternate route around, Adam jumped out of the car and began to help cars in front of us winch up the waterfall. As frustrating as it was to be sitting in a traffic jam during a race, it was awesome to see all of the Co-drivers work together to get the cars up as fast as possible. It was a great example of good sportsmanship. Once we worked our way to the top of Jack North, we ran a really smooth consistent pace down Jack Hammer, out around to Sunbonnet, and then up HWY 19/20 leading into Pit 2b. We stopped at Pit 2b to replace our spare for peace of mind knowing that we would be pushing the car hard to the finish line. We motored out of Pit 2b and flew down Aftershock making our last pass of the day. After exiting Aftershock we opened the car up and started quickly clicking off the final miles of the race. We flew up the sand hill that kicked our butt earlier in the race and headed into Hammer Town. We crossed the finish line and the emotions kicked in. We have finished this race 5 years in a row now and the feeling of gratification every year is as strong as the first.
I knew we had a good day but I was not expecting it to have been good enough for a podium finish. We came across the finish line 3rd in class and 7th overall out of over 100 cars. This year was by far the most competitive EMC field. There are dozens of experienced race teams with cutting edge cars driven by exceptionally talented drivers. We have learned so much again this year and have already started talking about how many areas of our game we can improve on. We will be back next year even more prepared and faster than ever going for the win!
I am extremely proud of our team to be able to build a competitive car in a 2 car garage on spare time. We have accomplished so much in the last five years of racing. We are still the only Mod Class car to finish both the EMC and KOH race in the same week. We are the first team to bring a full body Jeep across the finish line of KOH (before the cut off). We are one of only 2 cars in the entire EMC field that has finished 5 years in a row and it makes me happy to say the other car is a close friend Michael Johnson. None of this would be possible without the help and support of so many.
- My Wife and Kids
- Co-Driver Adam Wright and his family
- Pit Crew (My Dad, John, Jerry, Steve, Victor, Michael)
- Marketing Manager (My Mom)
- All of the family and friends that come out and support us.
- ProComp Tires
- Fox Racing Shocks
- Tri-County Gear
- PSC Steering
- Rugged Radios
- Raceline Wheels
- G&J Aircraft
|02-11-2016 03:43 PM|
[QUOTE=jr4x;35500521]Congrats and good job on your 3rd place podium! You've got pictures to share Brandon!
Thanks! Just about complete with a race recap. Also getting some awesome shots from some very talented photographers together. Here are a couple from Rhys Walker and Alan Johnson with the ESAB Team.
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