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. "  


Oakley Downhill Derby


Oakley is pretty good at events for the employees and we’ve been lucky enough to do a LOT of random things there over my 5 years. However, the Downhill Derby we put on last year took the biscuit for the best yet. It was wild – the commitment from the teams that entered blew my mind.  Stupidly, I thought that it might be a big disappointment. I mean, surely none of the teams would put in real effort, nobody would fabricate legitimate racecars, test performance weeks in advance, carefully select people based on the skills they bring to the team or generally grind the company to a halt for a few days in 2011… surely not… Wrong. It done gone got brung. Big time. 23 teams entered from the company, every one with a unique theme and every one planning to win. Derby tanks, kegs, rum bottles, golden baths, Nascars and fighter jets rolled up to the start line one Friday afternoon to compete with a ferocity I’ve rarely seem.  People might have died.  We got pretty clear instructions from our head of design:  “You’re the design team here – win”.

It quickly became clear we had some serious talent on the team. One of the designers arrived at work one day with a tubular chassis he “knocked together last night” and the “sketches” from the designers looked like we were in the final review process for a new sports car. It became really fun, really quick.

We built a P51 Mustang and dressed simply as racecar drivers, keeping it classy. Classy is a little dangerous though, we could be seen as boring, boring at Oakley is very bad.  However, our team genius, Jano, is an extrovert and had an idea that guaranteed zero boredom - that his idea skirted along the lines of indecent exposure was conveniently overlooked by the company. . Ricky Bobby “on fire” in his tighty whities 100% STOLE THE SHOW.

The 2 40,000 cubit ft smoke bombs that I lit in our exhausts prior to the green light didn’t hurt either…

Pictures tell the remainder of the story. We did as instructed and won everything and are now Oakley sponsored in the official Red Bull Soapbox Race in Los Angeles this year. Watch this space.

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