Rick Mooneyham had the difficult task of coming off the starting line with the pole positi
4W: What type of wheeling do you do at home?
LH: I live within walking distance of Choke Cherry Canyon here in Farmington, New Mexico, so our group (667 Rockers) gets to wheel two or three times a week. I love steep vertical walls that require a lot of throttle to make, and we have a lot of that here!
4W: What can you tell us about your buggy?
LH: My buggy was built by Jimmy's 4x4 in Cortez, Colorado, especially for racing KOH, the Grand Slam series, and the IEC series. It is a lot of racing all over the country, and I hope to make all of it.
4W: What did you do to it to make it work in both the rocks and the high-speed desert section?
LH: It is really a fine line to build a buggy to work well in the desert and the rocks. I wanted it to be long, wide, and low so that it would be more stable at higher speed but also not be worthless in the rocks. Things like big Griffin steering and transmission coolers, bypass shocks, and a redundant fuel system all make the car survive the desert but add weight, hurting the performance in the rocks. It is all about how much you are willing to give up in one area to gain in another area.
Johnson Valley is a wide-open desert badlands. It's not difficult to get lost out there, s
4W: Did you have a game plan for the race?
LH: Not really. We didn't get to prerun any of the course, so we were playing it safe for 90 percent of the race. We had a goal to place in the top 10 so we could be competitive in the rest of the series.
4W: What was your favorite part, the high-speed desert or the rocks?
LH: Every time I got into the rocks I told Rodney (co-driver) that all I wanted was back into the desert. The rocks in Johnson Valley are brutal and take a toll on your buggy. My favorite part of the course was after the remote BFG pit around race mile 80, where the roads were flat. You could see for miles and could really open the buggy up. That was awesome!
4W: Did you have any breakage, rollovers, or major problems during the race?
LH: We had to stop and get out two times, once to change a tire and once to change a fuse when a fuel pump shorted out. I would say we had about 30 minutes of downtime.
There were a lot of big-name sponsored racers in the KOH, but you came out of nowhere, got in through the last-chance qualifiers race, and went on to win the whole deal. What advice would you give other four-wheelers who think they might want to want to race?
Go all in! Spend every last penny you have and a bunch you don't have. It is a huge commitment but definitely worth every bit of it. Do your research to find out what it takes to make a buggy survive this brutal race.
4W: Is there anyone you'd like to thank?
LH: Jeff and Dave [Jeff Knoll and Dave Cole, the race promoters-ed.], I never had any desire to race until you started KOH. Everyone at Jimmy's 4x4. And of course my family for supporting my addiction! I would also like to thank all my sponsors: PSC steering, BFGoodrich Tires, Twisted Stitch seats, Turnkey Engine Supply, Radflo shocks, and HIDX lighting.
4W: Anything else you'd like to tell the readers of Petersen's 4-Wheel & Off-Road?
LH: Thank you for all your support, and I can't wait to see you on the trails!