OFFICIAL! Red Bull Soapbox Atlanta

We are confirmed! We're disassembling, packing up and shipping the whole "Fire In The Hole" team to Atlanta, Georgia on June 9th for the 2012 Red Bull Soapbox Race. Oakley is the only representation outwith the South and we're coming en-force.

The P51 Mustang is in the chop-shop for some serious upgrades. Pilot George is getting a roll bar to protect his expensive designer noggin, some front suspension is being installed to cushion the jumps and the entire steering geometry is getting a little more aggressive.

It's a serious production to get the car and all of us over there in 4 weeks, the to-do list is growing rapidly!

You may enjoy our documentation we submitted to explain our car...

"Let it be noted that numerous treaties and 2 protocol of the Geneva Convention are being broken by sharing this information with you. 4 Military secrets are being shared, 2 Federal offenses committed and worse than all that, a bond of secrecy between Fire In The Hole and a small African goat is being broken. However, in the interests of fair play, here goes…

The Body is fabricated from mild steel tubing in various wall thicknesses and diameters (where required for strength or weight saving).  The main frame rails were shaped by pie cutting, bending, sprinkiling pixie dust and welding to the desired profile shape. The tougher welds were reinforced by liberal binding with Unobtanium (Copyright Oakley. Don’t use that, we’ll sue…haha, that’s cute, you think we’re kidding).

With the frames created, cross braces were then put into place to establish the width of the body. We knew we wanted to use a 20" BMX wheel because of the ride height we wanted to achieve. We also wanted to integrate proper disc brakes (front/rear) found primarily in Mountain Bikes. Our driver, George is not only cute, but he likes being able to walk and requested some safety features. Some of us couldn’t quite understand this, but he’s Asian and they are all ninja’s, right?  Nothing existed in this combination, so we had to figure out how.  We had planned on re-lacing MTB hubs to a 20" BMX rim, but time was not on our side and George put the remainder of the pixie dust in his hair.  While driving around Santa Ana (a locale in Orange County without the Maserati’s and big fake breasts) looking for a taco truck, we came across a homeless fellow with exactly what we were looking for. Why his recycling cart was outfitted with 20" BMX wheels, custom fabricated to hold with MTB Brakes, we will never know.  Anyway, we rho-sham-bo’d him for George’s hair and luckily won.

The underside belly pan is a 1/16" thick Aluminum plate. We ran a very simple traditional Go Kart steering system with homemade spindles and a hot rod dropped front axle (cutting edge design for Nick, who’s newest car is a 1934 pickup truck). The rear is a solid axle with built in camber plates. We found a Fiber glass Go Kart seat and fab’d up a small steering wheel with a quick release hub and, of course, Oakley B-1B grips...(shameless plug! Woo!)  The body was inspired by a sketch from Jae of a WW2 

P-40 Tiger, morphed into an open wheeled race car. We scoured a few of the local homes in Orange County for a P-40 tiger and only found 3 Bell helicopters, 27 Lamborghini’s, 16 Gulfstream jets and 612 barrels of botox.  We wanted to keep the weight down so resorted to cladding the car in sheet styrene. The airplane 

Jae had drawn worked easily for sheets of styrene. A blast of paint and Cool Graphics to finish it off and we were set. Agh! Wait! A final touch from Jae was the REDBULL can exhaust manifolds - sugar free on the right bank and regular on the Left bank. You’ll notice we veer to the right, something about that damn fake sugar freeness. "

Scotland Whisky Testing


My good friend and mentor, Ken, has a world class weak spot for valuable whisky. His collection will probably end up in a museum one day, or we’ll die drinking it all when we find out the Mayan’s are correct about 2012. It’s housed in a bunker underneath his home and is accessed via a secret elevator - more on that another day.

This last summer, he, I and another friend decided to head over to Scotland and visit some distilleries. I’ve done some of the whisky trail before and it’s great fun, but let me tell you, it’s a little different when you consult to one of the brands and are travelling with a guy who owns more of their old stuff then most of us could ever conceive. I couldn’t believe the “insider” treatment we received, most notably from Glenfiddich and The Macallan. We stayed in the 300 year old Easter Elchies house on Macallan’s grounds and were hosted impeccably by their team. It was the most magical place to wake up to on the banks of the river spay, with early morning Scottish mist (fog).

Both distilleries did what I'm coining “open cask” tours for us. That basically means if we pointed at a cask and asked a question, we got to taste it. Frankly, it was nuts and at some points a little overwhelming. I think at one point in time I had 2 glasses in my hand and we couldn’t remember which was the 1934 or the 1941 - so I did the noble thing; I drank both and refilled, just to make sure.

Forgetting the craziness for a minute, these old distilleries filled me with awe wherever we went. I guess it maybe seems stupid, but it was moving  to sit by a cask, knowing that it lived in that spot through 70 years and a world war and still houses something that tastes so delicate and incredible. There was a cask of ‘41 at Glenfiddich that really stuck with me. I got lost thinking about the fact that it was being filled back when my 19 year old grandfather was gearing up with his mates in Burma to go dogfight in his spitfire. I know that partying and drinking is fun, but I get such enjoyment pondering the history of good whisky as well. Another incredible thing I learnt is that every bottle of a certain age, let’s say 12 year old, comes from an exact mixture of 55 casks of 12 yo. Not every cask tastes the same, though, so Ian in their lab takes a 10ml sample of every cask and mixes exact portions of the 55 samples to get the approved 12 yo taste AND color. These exact portions are then scaled up to barrel volumes. It seemed like completely mad science, but it works. I just drank an 18 from 1983 and it tasted like the 18 I know so well. I love being back in Scotland and I love the culture of the  whisky business.  Hopefully this will make you ponder the history just for a second when you pour your next dram.