ARB Air Locker Sweeps 2017 King of the Hammers Week
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.
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.
- 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