Barbie Jeep Racing: The KOH Race You Didn't Hear About!
While most of Hammertown was watching the Every Man Challenge race in Johnson Valley, another invitation-only race event was taking place not far from the course- the 2016 Jeep Asylum vs. JK-Forum Barbie Jeep Race.
What is a Barbie Jeep Race? It’s an off road downhill race in power wheel Barbie Jeeps. Yes, grown men racing tiny Barbie Jeeps! It is absolutely hysterical to watch, and from what I’ve been told by the racers, it is even more fun to participate.
Ladies, did I mention men in kilts? Jeep Asylum showed up in full force dressed in tactical kilts (and now I do know what a man wears under his kilt- at least when he’s racing a Barbie Jeep!).
There are two classes for Barbie Jeeps; stock and modified (Unlimited).
In the stock class, a driver still needs to make some minor modifications before the vehicle can be raced downhill. The drive gears, which would slow down the Jeep, need to be removed along with the wiring harness. The logistics of fitting a grown man in a tiny Barbie Jeep also mean that most racers remove the stock seats and replace them with something more appropriate. I’m not sure that “appropriate” is the right word, as I did see one toilet seat. Some also throw caution to the wind and remove the rollbars. We found most welded washers to the axles so the wheels didn’t fall off.
In the Unlimited Modified class, anything goes. This is as long as the race vehicle began life as an non-motorized toy Jeep. Many of the plastic parts are replaced with metal. Frames may be strengthened, and steering components can be beefed up with washers added to the steering shaft and the stock rivets replaced with nuts and bolts. Wheels and hubs need to be reinforced. Some people also build a subframes to further strengthen the vehicle’s ability to withstand the tough conditions of the race. As it is with the King of the Hammers race, building a rig that is capable of completing the race without breaking into pieces is the key to success.
The Barbie Jeeps are hauled to the top of a steep hill.
All racers were required to wear a helmet and sign a liability waiver.
Spectators had a vantage point that allowed them to watch the Barbie Jeep Race in one direction, and the King of the Hammers Every Man Challenge race zooming by in the opposite direction. If any EMC racers were wondering why a crowd of people had their backs turned, the secret is now out.
Two at a time, the Jeeps are shoved down the hill by their pit crew. The winner of each heat continues to the next round.
Having a good pit crew is essential.
Or, your Jeep may not even make it off the starting line.
Figuring out where to put legs is a challenge, and we saw racers try a few interesting positions.
There was a good deal of carnage in the Stock Class, and many Jeeps didn’t make it past the first round.
If they made it to the bottom of the hill in one piece, the racers then haul their Jeeps back to the top for the next round.
As the race moved into the final rounds, it was decided to move to an even steeper hill. DesertJeep, in an Unlimited Class Barbie Jeep with a custom paint job to match his own Jeep, continued to mow down the competition.
AMCJeff easily racked up one easy win after another.
The final round was down to the two Unlimited Class Jeeps, and you could feel the excitement in the crowd as DesertJeep and AMCJeff dropped over the edge of the hill. All of AMCJeff’s hard work paid off, and his Barbie Jeep flew down the hill for the clear win.
AMCJeff, King of the 2016 Jeep Asylum vs. JK-Forum Barbie Jeep Race.
Rumor has it that the Barbie Jeep Race is going to become an annual event at King of the Hammers.