Hammerdown to Havasu

Hammerdown to Havasu

Written By: Louis Yio

March 21, 2019

I first met Casey Currie during King of the Hammers in 2015, and since then I’ve had the opportunity to follow him around the US, documenting his racing antics. From short course racing in Crandon, to Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, I’ve gotten acquainted with his family and team from all the events I’ve shot for him. Back in August of 2018, Casey told me about an idea for a video shoot. The concept was quite simple: Do cool stunts in his Trophy Jeep. It seemed pretty basic, but it was far from it.

His Trophy Jeep was designed specifically to race down in Baja, but it can also tackle obstacles found at King of the Hammers. This 2-in-1 racecar was truly unique since it was one-of-one in the world. With a vehicle this diverse, Casey knew the best way to showcase its capabilities was through video.

I’ll do my best to take you on a behind the scenes tour of the shoot from my perspective. But first, give the video a watch.

We started the shoot in the town of Oatman, Arizona. Tempt Media was on site to handle the video. Ironically, more guys I met through King of the Hammers in 2015.

If the backdrop looks familiar, Oatman was one of the towns that helped inspire the original Disney movie, Cars. It was an old mining town that still has many of the buildings intact. This place definitely attracts tourists.

A town with so much character, how could you not choose it as the opening sequence. The narrative shots taken here definitely helped to set the tone for the rest of the video.

In the cool morning light, we prepared for the scorching day ahead of us.

Then right on queue, the sun came out as we began our first action shot.

Wild donkeys roamed onto set every now and then. Apparently, they're regulars of the town and don't care if you're trying to film.

When we filmed in the old mine, locals were telling us about how the bats like to hide inside and escape the heat. We found some of the donkeys in there as well since the temps were easily 10+ degrees cooler.

Casey decided to blast up a trail just outside of town before we moved on. I had to stand pretty far back to capture this incredible view.

Down the road we found some land that was graded for homes that were never completed. It was a perfect set of stairs for Casey to jump around on.

We happened to be close to the road, so we started to build up a small crowd as some people pulled over to watch Casey drive up and over these lumps of land.

Next stop, the outskirts of town where we were going to shoot the final scene of the day.

Nearing the half a million dollar mark was the Tempt Media guys chase rig. This purpose build RZR was mounted with a Shotover F1 Gimbal.

What really blew my mind, was when I attempted to walk up the slope Casey was so effortlessly climbing, only to realize it was almost impossible without the use of my hands. It didn't help I also had all my camera gear on me.

A cliff also formed this nice bowl for Casey to send a shower of rocks into the air. One of them, may or may not have chipped my lens filter from this shot.

The higher vantage point allowed us to see the vast and untouched Arizona desert. Talk about desktop wallpaper material... Don't forget you can click on any of the images and download them in 4k!

Now back to the AirBnB for some rest after baking in the sun all day.

The following morning we began at the center of Havasu on the London Bridge. The local authorities do their best to keep the bridge on lockdown, get it, lock? It’s their London Bridge, and is essentially the city's most prized possession that brings the tourists.

They did allow us to shut down the road for this shot but forbade Casey from doing anything reckless.

The crew spent the morning debating pulling a stunt on the bridge, and if it would be worth it. Better judgement won, and they decided to save the stunts for the dirt.

Even though it was only 8am, the sun had just enough height in the sky to offer us some nice 115 degrees (46C) of absolute pain.

Pushing through the heat we finished the final shot at the bridge and moved on to Crazy Horse Campgrounds.

Once at Crazy Horse, Casey only had to do a few burnies until we moved on to the next London Bridge, the London Bridge Resort.

At the resort, the crew rented out the golf course to build a jump. Casey’s dad Ray gave it one last look before the "all clear". Note the AStar helicopter in the background.

David from Icon Helicopters was there to get the aerial goodness. After Eric from Tempt moved their F1 gimbal from the RZR to the AStar, I hopped in to get some shots of my own.

The shots from the air definitely turned out better than my stomach after the ride. I got a little sick but it was definitely worth it as the shots offered a different perspective with the famous bridge in the background.

After any successful jump, you gotta throw a roost.

Casey was happy with the result, so we moved on.

The heat was starting to take a toll on everyone so we took a little break in the shade, where it was a "nice and cool" 110 degrees.

After the cool down, we grabbed a few more high speed narrative shots around the outskirts of town.

Casey told me he intentionally got closer for the above image. He said it was to give me a better shot, but also revealed that he wanted to scare me a little in the process.

After my previous encounter with vertical air travel, I decided to shoot this next part from the ground. Casey went screaming up the shore side by side with a twin V8 engine speedboat.

On the final morning, we trekked back to the Crazy Horse Campgrounds. I wasn't complaining, it’s perfectly placed around Lake Havasu.

A quick intro to set the scene, and we were ready to spend the day at the campgrounds shooting action sequences.

Several takes gave me the chance to get multiple angles, and after seeing the line, I was able to shoot a lot closer than I was the day before.

I wasn't as excited for the jump as you would think. Casey teased me with the details of the main stunt the day before, so it was the only thing on my mind.

If you watched the video, which you should have by now, you'd know the climax of the day was exploding through a caravan trailer.

But not just one.

Or two...

But three..... consecutively.

It was the highlight of the shoot for sure. I only wish there were a few more caravans so I can witness it again, without looking through my camera viewfinder.

Unfortunately, I had to hop on a flight the following day when they filmed the scenes in the junkyard. I was extremely jealous and sad that I wasn’t able to be there with my desert buds.

If you get a chance to make it to Baja this November, you can see first hand what this Trophy Jeep is capable of.


Louis Yio

IG: lusciousy