Erik Miller is unofficially the 2016 Nitto King of the Hammers winner.

Erik Miller is unofficially the 2016 Nitto King of the Hammers winner.

After coming so close in recent years, 2012 race winner Erik Miller set a blistering pace today en route to his second victory at the 2016 Nitto King of the Hammers. With his win here today in Johnson Valley, Miller now joins elite company, as only Shannon Campbell, Loren Healy and last year’s winner Randy Slawson have earned two wins at KOH.

Full House: Emily Miller (far left) addressed the media tonight on the even of the 2016 Nitto King of the Hammers Presented by Optima Batteries. With so many new media signups each year, it’s important to explain the lay of the land and relay important safety information so the Johnson Valley OHV area remains open for many years to come.

Full House: Emily Miller (far left) addressed the media tonight on the even of the 2016 Nitto King of the Hammers Presented by Optima Batteries. With so many new media signups each year, it’s important to explain the lay of the land and relay important safety information so the Johnson Valley OHV area remains open for many years to come.

The King of the Hammers is celebrating its 10th year in 2016, and the event is bigger than ever. The event has grown to become, as some put it, the “Burning Man of Off-Road” because of the uniqueness, and difficulty, of the competition, which has help spawn explosion of rock crawling across the country. Even if those attending the event never plan to race, there are more crawlers roaming around the event than one could imagine – most of which could have won the race five years ago.

Thanks to FCA Group and Mopar, we hungry media can get some chow morning, noon and night.

Thanks to FCA Group and Mopar, we hungry media can get some chow morning, noon and night.

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Brad Lovell and co-driver and brother Roger Lovell appear to have won the Smittybilt Everyman Challenge today during the 2016 Nitto King of the Hammers week.

After 116 miles of brutal racecourse in Johnson Valley, California, Brad Lovell crossed the finish line first in Hammertown to take the unofficial win in the Smittybilt Everyman Challenge today.

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The 2016 Polaris RZR UTV World Championship (UTVWC) announced today it will include a separate class for new Turbo models in the Production race and will also add a Youth Unlimited 250cc class for modified Polaris RZR 170 racers. In addition, this year’s UTVWC will eliminate the existing Production 850cc class due to limited entries last year, but will retain the 700cc & 900cc Production classes. The desert racing classes will remain based off of the current Best In The Desert (BITD) class structure.

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As he’s done before in 2013 and last year in 2015, Jason Scherer posted the fastest qualifying time today for the 2016 Nitto King of the Hammers. The 2009 KOH Champion didn’t only post the fastest time today, but his time is the fastest among yesterday’s qualifiers as well.

Scherer will now sit on the pole for Friday’s 2016 Nitto King of the Hammers powered by Optima Batteries, giving him clear air provided he can stay in front of the pack of race cars chasing him through Johnson Valley.

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Another King in Loren Healy finished just a few second behind Scherer. Derek West was third fastest, two-time KOH Champion Shannon Campbell fourth and Clay Gilstrap in fifth. Raul and JP Gomez sit in sixth and seventh, respectively. Wayland Campbell, son of Shannon, qualified in either. Levi Shirly posted the ninth fastest time and Andrew McLaughlin, and his awesome roll we posted yesterday, rounds out the top 10.

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Below is the top 20 qualifiers for Friday’s 2016 Nitto King of the Hammers. Be sure to check back tomorrow for coverage of the Smittybilt Everyman Challenge.

Top 20 Qualifying for Nitto King of the Hammers
1. Jason Scherer – 1:54:71
2. Loren Healy  -1:59:49
3. Derek West – 2:02:07
4. Shannon Campbell – 2:02:85
5. Clay Gilstrap – 2:03:49
6. Raul Gomez – 2:04:16
7. JP Gomez – 2:05:32
8. Wayland Campbell – 2:05:41
9. Levi Shirley – 2:08:19
10. Andrew McLaughlin – 2:10:89
11. Casey Currie – 2:11:38
12. Greg Adler – 2:12:54
13. Pete Antunac – 2:12:96
14. Jeff Russell – 2:13:47
15. Jason T Shipman – 2:14:48
16. Michael Trebino – 2:15:63
17. Ben Swain – 2:16:21
18. Gary Ferravanti Sr. – 2:16:65
19. Brian Caprara – 2:17:63
20. Rob MacCachren – 2:18:72

More 2016 King of the Hammers
Official Results 2016 UTV King of the Hammers

Blake Van de Loo Wins the 2016 Polaris UTV King of the Hammers

Day 1 King of the Hammers Qualifying Results, Highlights

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Ultra4 has released the official results for today’s UTV King of the Hammers race. Compared to last year, quite a few more vehicles crossed the finish line and completed the race in time, with 21 racers finishing this year compared to last year’s whopping three.

Blake Van de Loo is still the official winner, and not much changed with the top five. Of the official finishers, only two racers were penalized, and it wasn’t for any deceptive moves. Arctic Cat teammates Sheldon Creed and Robby Gordon were both penalized 135 minutes for, according to Ultra4 officials, “unintentionally short-coursing the course,” or in other words, they missed a chunk of the course.

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It actually appears to be nothing more than an honest mistake. Neither Creed or Gordon had GPS units equipped in their vehicles, and while heading toward one of the pits, Creed bypassed a section. Gordon was chasing him down as both were still in contention for the race, but unfortunately they both missed a chunk of the course. Ultra4 officials took the average of five different racers completing the section and deemed it to be 27 minutes, and the penalty by Ultra4 rule is five times that amount to equal 135 minutes.

In the end, Creed and Gordon’s mistake were thought to be unintentional in nature and sound far worse the penalty would indicate. Below are the official results of the finisher’s from today’s race. For more, check out the race recap here.

Official Results – 2016 Polaris UTV King of the Hammers
1. Blake Van de Loo – 4:22:55
2. Branden Sims – 4:55:21
3. Chad Hughes – 5:05:54
4. Dean Bulloch – 5:11:44
5. Mitch Guthrie – 5:14:19
6. Rob MacCachren – 5:21:33
7. Jason Weller – 5:30:52
8. Evan Engelhardy – 5:36:55
9. Erik Miller – 5:37:23
10. Richard Bronsema – 5:43:18
11. Ross Pilgreen – 6:26:54
12. Brian King – 6:29:19
13.  Tyler Greeves – 6:34:36
14. Austin Massingill – 7:01:54
15. Anthony Yount – 7:22:44
16. Brent Zimmerman – 7:22:45
17. Wesley Gryner – 7:37:58
18. Sheldon Creed – 7:42:51*
19. Jesse Johnson – 7:47:12
20. Brian Fisher – 7:54:40
21. Robby Gordon – 8:18:59*
*Both Creed and Gordon were assessed 135-minute time penalties for missing part of the course.

Blake Van de Loo crossed the finish line first almost two hours quicker than last year's winner.

Blake Van de Loo crossed the finish line first almost two hours quicker than last year’s winner.

With nearly 60 race teams vying for the win in the 2016 Polaris UTV King of the Hammers, it was Blake Van De Loo of Phoenix, Arizona, who came away with the victory, crossing the finish line well ahead of the rest of the field.

Ben Swain qualified in 8th in the first day of KOH qualifying.

Ben Swain qualified in 8th in the first day of KOH qualifying.

Story and Photos by Valerie Douglas

Qualifying Day 1 of the Nitto King of the Hammers Powered by Optima Batteries did not fail to entertain. Throughout the day, 49 drivers tackled last year’s qualifying course run backwards, which was just around 2 miles, with multiple lines available throughout the course that would, or would not, save a driver time. Yes, short cuts on this course were often slower.

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Plymouth, Minn. (Feb 2, 2016)
– Arctic Cat will enter five Wildcat UTV Teams in the World’s Toughest One Day Race – The King of the Hammers in Johnson Valley, Calif. The UTV Class competes on February 3rd before 35,000 fans and nearly 500,000 on-line viewers.

Arctic Cat partner, Robby Gordon, will be bringing his 30 years of off-road racing experience to the King of the Hammers in a 2016 Wildcat X; the same Wildcats raced in Gordon’s popular Stadium Side x Side Series. Gordon has won seven international off-road class championships, two stadium series and three Baja 500s and is expected to be one of the front-runners.

Randy Slawson crawling down Outer Limits. Photo: Josh Burns

Randy Slawson crawling down Outer Limits. Photo: Josh Burns

MESA, ARIZONA: Like most of the off-road community, Bower Power Hour is celebrating the 10th annual King of the Hammers at Johnson Valley this week. Charlene did some pre-interviews with some key folks to the event. But, like Charlene does, she didn’t ask the normal questions, such as ‘what is the course like’, instead she dug deep into the history, and the thoughts of the past and the future. Want to know what makes Dave Cole tick and understand some of his views?