When we heard legendary off-road driver Robby Gordon, with more wins that you can count on all your fingers and toes, and two-time King of the Hammers champion Erik Miller were being teamed together in a race car for the 2019 4WP Every Man Challenge (EMC) during the week-long Nitto King of The Hammers Powered by Optima Batteries (KOH) off-road racing event, we knew it would be exciting. Add the fact they were racing a 2020 Jeep Gladiator JT pickup in the Spidertrax 4600 Stock Class and things became even more interesting.
All vehicles competing in the Spidertrax 4600 Stock Class of the King of the Hammers Every Man Challenge are required to utilize a factory engine, stock frame and body, a single shock at each wheel and 35-inch tires. Savvy Off-Road created a custom link-and-coil suspension with Fox remote reservoir shocks, and added Dynatrac 60 front and rear axles, beadlock wheels with 35-inch Falken Wildpeak M/T tires, a Warn winch, and custom a safety cage. The interior remained relatively unchanged, though Sparco racing seats have been added and rear seats have been removed.
Miller had set the fastest time in the 4600 class on the two-mile qualifying course, besting the next closest competitor by more than 10 seconds so things were looking good for race day. The race took place on Wednesday, February 6 with Gordon behind the wheel for the high-speed portions of the course, while Miller mastered the tight and tough rock sections of the famed Hammers trails. They would start first in class, but 49th in a herd of more radical and powerful Branik Legends (4500) Class and Yukon Gear Modified (4800) Class cars. Winning was of course in the back of the Gordon’s and Miller’s minds, but the ultimate goal was to finish the race, and that is exactly what they did. Of the 130 vehicles that started the race, only 48 of them finished, but with just minutes to spare on the race clock, the team brought the 2020 Jeep Gladiator JT pickup across the finish line of the 165-mile long open desert and rock-filled canyon course, having no major mechanical problems along the way