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KOH Prep W/Mel Wade: 10 Pre-Race Rituals


The 2016 Nitto Tire King of the Hammers race is just a few short weeks away. We’re looking forward to getting back out on the lake bed to once again cover one of the most grueling off-road races on the planet. We know many of the drivers have certain pre-race rituals they do before the Hammers race. So, we reached out to some of them to get the 10 things they always do pre-KOH. 

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Here, we sat down with a man that has the most watched rollover in KOH history. We’re talking about EVO MFG and Off Road Evolution owner Mel Wade. As the only full-bodied Jeep Wrangler Unlimited in his class (and one of the few JK’s to attempt the race period), Wade is once again looking get it done with his Discount Tire/KMC Jeep #4451. Here’s a look at Wade's pre-race list.

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  1. “About a month before the race, I change my diet and focus on being as healthy as possible for the race.”


  1. “Every shock on the Jeep (a total of eight) is completely gone through.”


  1. “I swap on a new set of 40x13.50R17 Nitto Trail Grapplers on my KMC beadlocks. This includes all new spare tires. No. I don’t run tire balls.”


  1. “All of the frame-side brackets are closely inspected. We’re looking for any cracks or damage to the chassis. Unlike the other racers in my class, I am still running a mostly stock Jeep Wrangler Unlimited frame.”

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  1. “Typically, we can leave the engine alone for the series. But, after suffering engine failure racing the Baja 1000, I will be starting fresh with a built 6.1L Hemi for KOH.”


  1. “Another usual ritual is to have the transmission rebuilt. While the transmission is out, we will go through the front and rear Dynatrac axles to make sure the axleshafts are not twisted and internals are in good shape.”

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  1. “We pre-run the area a full month before the race, then dial in our plan of attack once the course map is released.”


  1. “A big part of our program is getting the volunteers and race day helpers all up to speed with the crew. We will do a full pre-race strategy and location meeting the week before the race so everyone knows exactly where they need to be on race day.”

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  1. “I’ve found going through the support vehicles is extremely important. You want to make sure you have every tool and spare part you need long before you set foot on the lake bed.”


  1. “I like to check to see how many views the video of my rollover has gotten from last year (laughter). I don’t want to do that again, but it’s cool to see so many people liked seeing my Jeep taking a spill and keep going.”


We’ll have more from some of your past winners and Ultra4 champions in the coming weeks. So, stay tuned!


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