ARB Air Locker Sweeps 2017 King of the Hammers Week

ARB Air Locker Sweeps 2017 King of the Hammers Week

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ARB Air Lockers sweep the 2017 King of the Hammers week, with ARB Air Locker equipped vehicles winning all three Smittybilt Every Man Challenge classes (Legends, Modified and Stock) and the Nitto Tires King of the Hammers Crown. These races are a unique mix of high-speed desert sections and extreme rock crawling, which pushes the limits of the vehicle, endurance, and driving skill. The winner of each class relied on ARB Air Lockers to provide on-demand traction and true four-wheel drive.

Last week’s off-road racing started with the Smittybilt Every Man Challenge (EMC), a race created in 2012 as an entry level option for budget-minded racers looking to race during the King of the Hammers. The EMC race consists of three classes –  Stock, Modified and Legends. Differences in rules regarding chassis, drivetrain, suspension and tires create a wide variety in the entries, including some that are daily driven vehicles.

This year’s Legends class winner, Brad & Roger Lovell, have been competing in rock sports for over 10 years and running ARB Air Lockers throughout their successes. This year was no different; as they relied on the ARB Air Locker Ford 9” Competition Edition model in the rear axle. These brothers are no strangers to speed, as Brad races in the TORC short course series and numerous desert races. Brad and Roger Lovell would navigate their #232 racecar to 1st place in the 4800 Legends class. This was the fastest overall time in the 2017 Every Man Challenge, second year in a row and third time that the Lovell’s have taken the overall EMC win.

While the Lovell’s have been a staple of the 4×4 racing world, Modified class winner Marty Mann is new on the scene. Racing on the dirt is not new to him though, as he brought an extensive motocross racing history to the lakebed. Marty entered the EMC Modified class with a 500 horsepower, turbocharged 4-cylinder 1980 Toyota Pickup that proved to be winning combination. Marty started the race 91 cars back from the pole position and would race his Toyota, equipped with the ARB Air Locker- Ford 9” Competition Edition model, to the finish line as the Modified class winner and 3rd pace overall finisher in the 2017 Every Man Challenge.

The Stock class would see a familiar driver finally get his win. Ben Varozza has entered the EMC Stock class every year since 2012, but has come up just short of the podium. This year would be different with Ben starting on the pole in his ARB Air Locker equipped 4.6 liter stroked 1997 Jeep Wrangler TJ and he was able to defend his position throughout the entire race to claim the Stock class win and finish 21st overall.

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Shannon Campbell, a name very familiar with rock sports and longtime ARB Air Locker sponsored driver, entered the 2017 King of the Hammers race chasing an elusive third King of the Hammers crown after winning in 2008 and 2011. For the 2017 campaign, the #5AZ buggy was equipped with a prototype 40-spline Ford 9” Competition Edition ARB Air Locker in the rear axle and a production competition 35-spline unit in the front axle. This year he would have to fight his son Wayland Campbell for the title, doing so by only 28 seconds. After several lead changes and hitting a rock wall, Shannon lost his front driver’s side tire and most of the wheel in the last mile of the race. Shannon continued to push hard, down to 3 tires, to the finish line to become the first 3-time King of the Hammers champion.

Watch Shannon Campbell’s 2017 King of the Hammers highlight video below.

Results:

  • Shannon Campbell – 1st Place – 4400 ULTRA4 Unlimited Class
  • Brad Lovell – 1st Place 4800 Legends Class
  • Marty Mann – 1st Place 4500 Modified Class
  • Ben Varozza – 1st Place 4600 Stock Class

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ARB Finishes Strong at the 2016 King of the Hammers Race – 100% of King of the Hammers Finishers Chose ARB Air Lockers Over Every Other Selectable Differential Locker

Jason Scherer finishes the 2016 King of the Hammers race in 2nd place.

Jason Scherer finishes the 2016 King of the Hammers race in 2nd place.

100% of King of the Hammers Finishers chose ARB Air Lockers over every other selectable differential locker

This past week was the 10th annual King of the Hammers race, considered one the toughest single day off-road races in the world. Drivers race against the clock in highly modified off-road vehicles specifically designed, engineered and setup to tackle the high speed desert driving and rock crawling challenges of the course.

Brad Lovell celebrates after finishing 1st over and in class during the 2016 Every Man Challenge Race.

Brad Lovell celebrates after finishing 1st overall and in class during the 2016 Every Man Challenge Race.

On Thursday 108 vehicles entered the Every Man Challenge to have only 37 competitors survive. Taking 1st place overall and in the Legends class was ARB sponsored team Brad and Roger Lovell in their ARB Air Locker equipped Legends car. Close behind, Jessi Combs and co-driver Martin Castro finished 3rd overall taking first place in the Modified class, also running an ARB Air Locker.

Jason Scherer navigates Jackhammer during the 2016 King of the Hammers.

Jason Scherer navigates Jackhammer during the 2016 King of the Hammers.

The 176 mile 2016 King of the Hammers race kicked off on Friday and would claim 79 of the 110 competitors with 16 of the 31 finalists utilizing ARB Air Lockers to get them home.

Eric Miller navigates Jackhammer and would later go on to win the 2016 King of the Hammers.

Erik Miller navigates Jackhammer and would later go on to win the 2016 King of the Hammers.

ARB Intensity LED sponsored driver, Erik Miller took first place, winning his 2nd King of the Hammers title. Close behind, longtime ARB Air Locker sponsored driver Jason Scherer drove to a strong 2nd place after qualifying 1st and battling overheating issues throughout the race.

Shannon Campbell navigates Jackhammer during the 2016 King of the Hammers.

Shannon Campbell navigates Jackhammer during the 2016 King of the Hammers.

Fan favorite, Shannon Campbell, finished the race 4th in his ARB Air Locker sponsored car after spending over an hour fixing a broken axle shaft during the start of the 3rd lap.

Bailey Campbell navigates Jackhammer during the 2016 King of the Hammers.

Bailey Campbell navigates Jackhammer during the 2016 King of the Hammers.

Only 19 minutes later, daughter of Shannon, Bailey Campbell would cross the finish line in 5th place to become the first women and one of the youngest drivers to ever finish the King of the Hammers race.

Congratulations to all the ARB sponsored and equipped drivers!

ARB Sponsored Driver Results:
1st – Erik Miller
2nd – Jason Scherer
4th – Shannon Campbell
5th – Bailey Campbell
15th – Wayland Campbell

 

Watch Jason Scherer qualify 1st for the 2016 King of the Hammers race:

2-Piece ARB Air Lockers

FOR THE PAST FEW YEARS, ARB HAS BEEN QUIETLY MOVING FROM A THREE-PIECE AIR LOCKER DESIGN TO A STRONGER TWO-PIECE MODEL WITH SOME HEAVY-HITTING INNOVATIONS INSIDE. FIND OUT WHAT THIS MEANS FOR YOU WHEN YOU NEXT ATTEMPT THAT IMPOSSIBLE OFF ROAD OBSTACLE.


ARB’s original three-piece Air Locker design has proven credentials. Since the 80s, it has constantly evolved and improved to become the mainstay traction aid for off roaders across the globe. At a flick of a switch, you can climb out of mud holes, get a grip in sucking sand and rock crawl with the best of them. ARB Air Lockers have been the silent partners in winning many off road competitions as well, from the King of the Hammers in the US to the Malaysian Rainforest Challenge.

So why change a winning formula?

Daniel Bongard, head of ARB’s Air Locker division, was hired in 2000 to design and implement improvements to a small number of Air Locker models that, while featuring all of the components that have made Air Lockers so reliable, were found to underperform when compared to the rest of the locker range.

But redesigning these models proved difficult, as Bongard explains. “We found that there was a delicate balance in regard to attaining optimal strength. When we increased the strength in one area of the locker, a different area or component was weakened. After four complete design options had been explored and dismissed, we knew it was time for something radical. So we put aside the existing Air Locker design and started from scratch.”

What followed was six months of computer-generated concepts involving an original two-piece design, new components and a unique ‘timed’ gear set that showed exciting improvements in strength, durability and locking speed.

“We’re not talking about improvements in strength of 3 or 4%, which any engineer would be proud of,” Bongard says. “The lab results indicated a phenomenal 40% improvement in static torque strength compared to the equivalent three-piece design. It was huge.”

A further six months was then spent proving and refining the design. This meant destructive testing both in the lab and with prototypes fitted to vehicles driven through obstacle courses and across all types of terrain. “It was all about trying to break the prototypes and improving the design,” Bongard says. “But the two-piece Air Locker came out on top.”

In fact, the two-piece Air Locker was such a leap forward in strength, durability and locking speed that ARB immediately commenced a program to implement the new design across the Air Locker range.

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