My alarm clock went off at 3am this past Saturday morning. It was time to get ready for my ride in the #8111 HUMMER H2 SUT piloted by Josh Hall of Team HUMMER. After I zipped up my race suit (which I was told gave me an edge of 15 seconds over an inferno) and headed towards the parking lot. Since the Terrible’s Town 250 is held in Primm, NV, about 40 minutes outside of Vegas, my hotel was also a casino. If you’ve ever been in the area, you’ll know that there are more night owls out at 3am than early birds. The particular inebriated night owls I came across gave me enthusiastic high-fives and wished me luck.
Once I made it to the lot where the team had been storing the race trucks, I found a group of Team HUMMER members. Those who would be racing were busy downing sports-drinks and nibbling on light, stomach friendly foods like cheerios and oatmeal – all others were making sure the race trucks and pit equipment were ready for race day. Then it was time to jump into the truck and drive over to the staging area.
At this point, it’s around 4:30am and still dark and a little chilly with temperatures in the mid 40s. Josh Hall takes myself and Sam Cothrun, the crew chief and navigator for the #8111 SUT, over to the staging area where we fall in line with the 9 other vehicles in our class. When it comes time, the line of trucks heads toward the starting line where vehicles of all classes are being sent off at 30 second increments. I give my 5 point racing seat belt a few more tugs, put on my racing helmet, attach the breather hose and communications wire, and before I know it, we’re shooting off into the desert right at daybreak.
I immediately realize that we’re going to be moving a lot faster than the pre-run a few days ago when, in the first 15 seconds of the race, we’re completely airborne. That would prove to be a somewhat common theme throughout the race.
In the first 10 minutes we see two vehicles on their sides and disabled – with a quick slowdown and shout out the window, Josh checks to see if they’re alright and speeds off. Undoubtedly some of the accidents we saw had to have been caused by poor visibility. Between the dust picked up by other competitors and the sun rising right in the face of the truck, I’m not sure how Josh was able to steer the truck in the right direction. Even when visibility was at its worst, he was able to keep the vehicle moving quickly and on the right path – very impressive.
Perhaps even more impressive was how durable the truck was – considering Team HUMMER races in the stock class. Aside from some shocks, the vehicle’s build is mostly as you’d find it on the showroom. One of the only issues the SUT had during the race was our spare tire came loose and fell off somewhere between pits. Inside the truck we had no idea, so we found out when the pit crew spotted the problem and radioed the truck – impressive since we were going through the pit area at around 85 mph. Josh circled in towards the trailer, and the expert pit crew was able to put on another spare in about 20 seconds. The spare tire can be a life saver – It would really be disappointing to get a flat tire 20 miles away from a pit, and be taken out of the race for a repair that would only take a few minutes and could be done on the race course.
After all was said and done, the SUT was able to cross the finish line in front of the nine other competitors, and Team HUMMER was declared the winner of the 8100 class.
Racing with Team HUMMER was an experience I will never forget – and not just the race itself. The camaraderie of the team and the passion they have for racing was incredible. My terrific experience would not have been possible without the generosity of General Motors and HUMMER, as well as the warm welcome from the Hall family and Team HUMMER. To everyone involved: Thank You!
Check out the complete release on the race below, along with a quick video of the SUT entering the pit area with no plans to stop!
Team HUMMER owner and 40-year Baja 1000 veteran, Rod Hall, and his sons Josh and Chad entered their stock-class H3, H2 SUT and H3 Alpha in this year’s race, which consisted of three 84.2 mile laps.
“The entire team did a phenomenal job of securing Team HUMMER wins in every production class,” said Rod Hall. “Today’s results demonstrate the off-road capability designed and built into every HUMMER vehicle.”
Team HUMMER races Best in the Desert’s 8100, stock production full-size truck; 4100, pure-stock production full-size SUV; and 3100, pure-stock production midsize SUV classes. Each class features production-based vehicles with stock frames, stock suspension designs and production-based engines.
Josh Hall and Sam Cothrun piloted the #8111 2008 H2 SUT to a commanding victory in the production full-size truck class, finishing in 6:03:39, at an average speed of 41.75 mph. The team ran a near flawless race, with stops only for fuel and to make a minor suspension repair.
“The team has done a great job preparing and tuning the new H2 race truck,” said Josh Hall. “It has gotten better every race and I think we’re just starting to tap into the truck’s true potential.”
The Team HUMMER #4111 H3 Alpha was piloted to victory in the production full-size SUV class by Chad Hall and Thad Stump. The pair piloted the vehicle across the finish line with a final time of 6:18:52 and an average speed of 39.98 mph.
“The H3 Alpha continues to demonstrate the capability and reliability of Hummer’s production trucks,” said Hall. “That truck is a strong runner in every type of terrain.”
Team HUMMER’s third victory came from team of Rod Hall, Mike Winkel and John Chapman in the #3111 H3. The trio combined to race the H3 to victory in the production midsize SUV class, finishing the 252 mile race in 7:27:48. The team ran the grueling course at an average speed of 33.83 mph, beating the nearest competitor by more than 48 minutes.
In addition to the three production class entries from Team HUMMER, Emily Miller made her desert racing debut, by piloting the #1810 Team HUMMER H2 SUV to a second place finish in the Safari Pre-Runner Sportsman class. The sportsman class is open to any type of race vehicle and consisted of two 84.2 mile laps.
With a finishing time of 4:49:52, Miller and co-driver Jake Povey finished the two-lap sportsman class race at an average speed of 34.84 mph.
Team HUMMER’s next scheduled race is the SCORE International Baja 500, May 30 – June 1, 2008. The 2008 Baja 500 marks the 40th Anniversary for the infamous off-road race in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico.