As the 2014 King of the Hammers drew to its conclusion, it was clear that the brutal off-road race had the making of a heavyweight title fight. After a long day of racing, only a handful of competitors were still on their feet in the ring, with previous KOH Champions Erik Miller, Randy Slawson and Loren Healy battling for the win along with title contenders Derek West, Tom Wayes and Tony Pellegrino.
Wayes was actually the first racer to cross the finish line in Hammertown, and he did so in dramatic fashion with no tire on his front left wheel. Unfortunately for him, it was reported by KOH announcers Cameron Steele and Chad Ragland that he missed a number of key trail sections during the race and would be assessed potentially as much as 1.5 to 2 hours worth of penalties, pending Ultra4 official review.
With Wayes now out of the mix, it seemed that other key racers followed suit and were out of contention for one reason or another. Miller broke his steering orbital on Wrecking Ball during the third and final lap, while defending champ Slawson also suffered mechanical issues that put him out of the race.
In a thrilling conclusion, the lead pack reached the final few seconds of the 12th round when Healy and West crossed the finish line within seconds of each other. Since Healy had started a minute ahead of West, it was clear he was the winner of his second King of the Hammers crown, and as a sign of respect West waved the white flag let him pass to cross the finish line first. NOTE: Ultra4 officials penalized West for missing the “Elvis” section. The penalty moved him back to fifth.
Back in 2010, Healy shocked the world with his surprise win at KOH, but he left the line today with intentions of earning another win and knew he could no longer surprise anyone with a magical haymaker. Fortunately both he and his and crew were ready for the challenge.
“It was going great today, 150 miles in we were the physical leader, I had passed Tom Wayes and was just running real strong and having no problems with the car,” Healy said. “But just then the jack came loose and clipped my radiator, and it put a hole in my radiator, that’s why all of the coolant is all over the back of the car. We were at about race mile 150, just before Pit 2. We were able to limp the car into Pit 2 with no coolant, and my pit crew went to work and somehow got this radiator to work and get cool again.”
Thinking his troubles were behind him, Healy headed back out on the course but immediately noticed another issue.
More King of the Hammers Coverage:
2014 KOH Photo Highlights