After working through the pack to challenge Currie for the overall win, Lovell had a tough time getting up one of the tougher climb sections.

“Finally we came through the pit here and started up Wrecking Ball, and I don’t know if the sway bar broke, flat tire first or what, but we just came over this berm and it should’ve been fine and the next thing I know we just flopped it on its side,” Lovell said. “So then I was freaking out, and we had to get out and luckily there was this rock that we could winch to. We winched it back up and we just kept running that flat all the way up through Wrecking Ball. We came into Pit 2 and we tried to change the tires, and we had a problem with the wheel fitment, and we actually had to put the flat back on, and we had a flat in the rack, so off we went in the desert again. We got out past the lake bed and the first flat came apart, so we had to pull over, and all we had was a 15/16th wrench; we didn’t have our impact wrench with us because we gave it to them at the pit. So we’re out there cranking on it [and] we had to bend the wrench to get it in the wheel, and finally we got the wheel off and put the other flat on, and that thing was about 10 feet from coming apart in the end here.”

After running on two flats for a good chunk of the race, the team came in to earn the Legends win, finishing roughly 12 minutes behind Currie.

“For me, I’m used to running race tires and I think I was pushing it a little too hard for DOT tires so it’s a lesson,” Lovell said. “We’re happy to get the class win. We were coming up on Currie for the overall when we rolled it, and it’s just how it goes some days.”


Matt Messer was the third car across the finish line in Hammertown. Photo: Scott Rousseau

Crossing the finish line third and earning second in the Legends class was Matt Messer.

“We had a great day of racing,” Messer said. “We just had one little slipup. We got caught up on one little rock trail and that cost us about 10 minutes. We actually had to get out and winch the car off. It was disappointing, I mean, but I really can’t complain. We had no flat tires, the car ran phenomenal. We were at race speeds all day, and we didn’t really have to check up for anything, so it’s just one of those things. It happens.”

The bottleneck on Jackhammer really slowed down the action for many of the racers today. Photo: Scott Rousseau

The bottleneck on Jackhammer really slowed down the action for many of the racers today. Photo: Scott Rousseau

One of the stories of the day was a massive pileup on Jackhammer behind the leaders. Currie and Lovell came through the section about four minutes apart, followed by Cody Addington and British driver Jim Marsden about 28 minutes later. Then came Adam Arsenault and George Evans another 41 minutes back. That’s when the fun began.

Evans got high-centered on the trail and needed the winch to get clear. Erik Miller and the 4871 cleaned the section, but after that, the next several competitors ran into trouble, creating a bottleneck. It started when Ross Stanford got stuck before the huge boulder just above the Jackhammer commemorative plaque and blocking the line that most of the competitors were taking, and the traffic jam moved into full force.

Jessi Combs took an aggressive line to get past the logjam on Jackhammer earlier today. Photo: Scott Rousseau

Jessi Combs took an aggressive line to get past the logjam on Jackhammer earlier today. She earned the win in the 4700 Spec Class. Photo: Scott Rousseau

Paul Bickerton rolled the dice and chose a left line that was steeper and more perilous than the main line, and other gamblers followed, only to create even more carnage. Jessie Combs hopped out, took a look and then went for the steep left line, nearly endoing in the process but she made it through. After a few more cars passed cleanly, Mike Johnson got high-centered on the main line and lost five minutes trying to winch out. Eric Bothwell also got stuck and had to rely on help from the stock Toyota team of Justin Reece. By then the backmarkers began to pile up and folks got anxious. The ensuing free-for-fall saw Richard Gauthier block the entrance to either line passed the boulder, causing Ben Varozza to have to lend winch assistance—twice—to clear the lane, only to get stuck himself just a few feet farther down the section. While all this action was taking place, Casey Gilbert tried to skirt the extreme right edge of the course and managed to get buried up to the chassis, stranding the next four rigs behind him as the team relied on good old-fashioned jack work and winch assistance to break free. In the meantime, others with more experience and/or creativity managed to avoid trouble, while others, such as Shannon Campbell, got hung up multiple times (and later had to stop at the base of the trail to make repairs). The Gilbert team took nearly an hour to get free and get moving again.

In other words, it was just another day at the Hammers.

More King of the Hammers Coverage:
2014 KOH Photo Highlights

Mitch Guthrie Earns Fifth UTV King of the Hammers Win

Cody Webb Wins 2014 King of the Motos

Results – 2014 Smittybilt Everyman Challenge
4500 Rubicon Express Modified Class
1. John Currie
2. Mike Johnson
3. George Evans
4. Jordan Pellegrino
5. Joey Simeone
6. Aaron Sykes
7. Brandon Heyes
8. Paul Bickerton
9. Steve Lopez
10. Alan Johnson
11. Richard Garrett
12. Matson Breakey
13. Jesse Bayne
14. Jay Callaway
15.  Joe Gardner

4600 Pro Comp Stock Class
1. Erik Miller
2. Ben Varozza
3. Richard Gauthier
4. Casey Gilbert
5. Brian Behrend
6. Justin Reece
7. Brian Calhoun
8. Austin Stone
9. Matthew Salyers
10. Jason Kaminsky

4700 Spec Class
1. Jessi Combs
2. Ross Standford
3. Eric Bothwell
4.  Larry Nickell

4800 Legends Class
1. Brad Lovell
2. Mathew Messer
3. Dave Schneider
4. Richie Carter
5. Hans Oswald
6. Cody Addington

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