Jeff Knoll and partner Dave Cole scratched out an idea on a napkin 7 years ago that has blossomed into one of the biggest off-road motorsports events in the United States attracting over 20,000 spectators for the weeklong King of the Hammers event held in the California Desert near 29 palms Marine base next week. Following the 2011 event Knoll announced plans he would be leaving the company and event he helped build, to pursue other interest shocking the Ultra4 Community. ” The time seemed right for a single person to take the company to the next level, and after much debate Dave proved the best choice” said Knoll speaking for the first time about his decision to leave Hammerking Productions. “We had accomplished far more together then we ever imagined producing 4 feature films, multiple TV shows, a racing series, and of course the mammoth King of the Hammers event. Leaving gave me the opportunity to explore some ideas I had wanted to expand Hammerking into without the burden of producing the existing product line and focus more time on political issues inside the OHV industry.” Knoll continued.
Knoll has done just that with his Carrera Performance Group based out of Whitefish Montana. The management and marketing firm seems to have embedded itself across a wide path of services ranging from Non-Profit OHV groups to some very big names in the off-road industry, and beyond. But this week thanks to a friendship forged with Eric Morales in Baja California, Knoll will experience something he may have dreamed about since the night he and Dave Cole started sketching on a napkin. Racing in his vision of the perfect off-road event.
Eric Morales of Lincoln, California has a love affair with all things fast, and Ultra4 racing is his next target. Building a state of the art Ultra4 car is no easy task but Morales who has raced a stable of Ford Mustang backed Drag, Road, and Auto Cross events, jumped into the Off-Road world when he saw a Youtube Video of the King of the Hammers in 2008. “It’s been a long road to get here, but I am happy we made this journey.” said Morales of the 4 years it took to build his race car. His race effort was scheduled for a trip to the LCQ whenKnoll called him and asked if he would like to exercise Knoll’s hall pass to the big show. After a short discussion the two agreed to share driving duties for the 2012 King of the Hammers, and potentially build on that relationship for additional races in the 2012 season.
“With any new team you are going to have growing pains and bugs to work out, so we are just going to run a conservative race for KOH, and try not to buy into the hype.” Knoll said of the collaboration.
Fatherhood is something both men take very seriously, so there was little question about branding the car with the Children’s Miracle Network fundraiser of Rockin 4 the Kids. “Being a Dad is far more rewarding than racing, and since I paid to build the car I thought it would be great to have a group like Children’s Miracle Network represented” said Morales.
There is little doubt the Banditoe racing partnership forged in Baja is far more about the adventure and experience of the journey than the destination.
Banditoe racing is supported by its familia, PSC Steering, Goodyear tires, Fishmouth Fabworks, Shaffer’s Off-Road, and the dedicated crew that makes things happen.