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. "

Driving On Two Wheels


Every now and then I get a “drop everything” phone call from Sam ( If I’m lucky, part of that phone call involves the words “Oh, and bring your helmet.” Past phone calls have led to shakedown testing of the 860Hp Dodge Challenger drift car, Movie sets, go kart racing and a launch party on the docks in LA for Ken Block’s Gymkhana 2. These calls are very much welcomed.

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Last week’s call was about as random as it gets. For an upcoming project, Sam has to be able to drive on 2 wheels, comfortably, in a large fast car. I guess we’ve all seen 2 wheel driving at some point in time, but have you ever thought about how you’d learn how to do it? You cant really just take your BMW and drive it up a ramp onto 2 wheels…that would be a wee bit nuts. What we actually did was take his BMW and drive it up a ramp onto 2 wheels. Except, this BMW is a little different. It’s what I’ll call Brad-ified. Samuel’s crew chief, Brad, bought a 1989 BMW 318, stripped it naked and got to welding. The car now cunningly sports a 5th wheel by the driver’s window that acts as a stabilizer for the grown-ups doing dumb stuff. It’s actually a genius piece of fab work. He hooked the car to an overhead pulley, tilted the car to it’s balance point and mounted the wheel on a quick release just a few inches past balance.

Off we went to Irwindale Speedway where we had the track to ourselves – one of the perks of being a professional racecar driver –tracks donate themselves to you for practice - NOT fair for the rest of us mere mortals, but GREAT when you get to tag along.

Sam is one of these disgusting drivers that is good at anything involving an accelerator and a wheel. After 5 tries he was balanced and a short while later he was literally driving around the banking (Since I’m a good friend I’m conveniently ignoring the part where he had a brain fart and drove straight into the ramp tearing a tire and sending us off to the middle of nowhere to find a used 14inch tire.)

It was a blast watching it and I couldn’t wait for my turn. The excitement quickly morphed into some form of terror-nerves as soon as I was harnessed in. The 2 foot wide steel ramp somehow now looked to be about 3 inches wide and I had to hit it at 30mph. The theory is this: Drive up the ramp, throw the steering wheel to the right to tip the car, balance. Even though I knew I had the safety wheel it took me easily 10 tries to get it over onto that tire, I cant describe how random it is to be on TWO WHEELS trying essentially to flip the car, no matter what I tried to do, my body refused to believe that it was OK. I did eventually “get it” and it is incredibly fun. I couldn’t steer it yet, but I was definitely driving on 2 wheels and I felt like I was master of the universe for about 9 seconds. I will absolutely be doing it again and am available for 2-wheel driving stunts that don’t require any directional predictability...

Big thanks to Samuel Hubinette, check out his work –

Snow Karting in Cortina


Disclaimer: I failed epically with the camera on this one, but it wasn’t my fault, I swear. I was doing everything in my power to retain any form of feeling in my fingertips and taking a picture simply wasn’t an option. Europe was in a cold snap and I was being snapped. The 2 artsy pics are mine, the others are from the Snowice website. I just returned from a business trip to Europe. It was one of those great work trips where everything goes right and all the productivity you hope for does indeed happen. The trip required a weekend away from home, so we managed to sneak in a little fun alongside some serious goggle testing on the ski slopes of Cortina D’amprezzo in Northern Italy.

I have an uncanny magnetism to anything “car”.  I can’t help it and it drives my wife insane. However, on this trip, my partner was Brandon, a former professional Supercross rider and someone with a matching affinity to all things internally combusting.  It took all of a minute in the hotel for me to spot the flyer for “Snowice Driving School” and all of another minute to stumble through Italenglish with the purveyor to establish the track's location.

We’d have been there in a heartbeat had the diesel fuel lines not frozen in our AWFUL Lancia (it breaks my heart to see something so unrelated to the epic Lancia Delta Intergale bear the same name).  Eventually we mde it and the gigglefest began.  Unfortunately the rally prepped Mitsubishi Evo 8 on snow tires was a little expensve for my blood, though it looked like a BLAST. However, sitting squarely in my price range were the 150cc race karts running studded snow tires.

I love rear drive vehicles. They beg to move around under power and should you choose to move them around a little too much, you get a slide. Well, “too much” on snow is a very smal poke of the accelerator. This resulted in some of the most fun driving of any vehicle I’ve ever been in. The Karts simply do not steer conventionally on the ice, the front wheels think about turning the kart, but require a healthy dab of power to rotate the rear around. Too much and you are chewing snow from a snow bank, too little and you’re, well, chewing snow from a snow bank. But get the throttle just so, with just the right amount of opposite lock and you find yourself in a glorious slow-mo, Hollywood, snow spitting drift. Neil it even better and you connect that drift to the next corner and become convinced you are a driving God.

Then you probably hit a snowbank again.

I spent my laps laughing hysterically, but sadly was forced to stop far too soon. I simply could not feel my hands or feet any longer. I was steering with my palms and accelerating with my heels, it was just too cold.

It was an incredible morning and I can’t wait to return in slightly milder weather!

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