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.
John Currie earned his third Everyman Challenge consecutive win today in Johnson Valley, but in spite of the fact that he ran away from most of the field, it didn’t come easy. Brad Lovell challenged Currie for most of the race, although Currie said that he wasn’t aware of Lovell’s presence.
After two days of qualifying and last-chance qualifiers, the starting lineup and order is set for the 2014 King of the Hammers. There were 145 racers who left the starting line, with 123 of those posting qualifying times to earn starting positions.
After 114 miles of brutal, rocky racecourse in Johnson Valley, the father-and-son duo of Mitch Guthrie Sr. & Jr. crossed the finish line in their Polaris XP1000 to earn the team’s fifth UTV King of the Hammers victory in the Pro UTV class. The Guthrie team from Glendora, California – consisting of Guthrie Sr., 49, and, Guthrie Jr., 17 – finished the two-lap run ahead of Branden Sims for the first spot with a time of 5 hours and 13 seconds; Sims finished 8 minutes and 14 seconds behind the Guthries on corrected time. Casey Currie earned third place in the Pro class to nab the final podium spot with a time of 5 hours, 34 minutes and 17 seconds.
“We ran our own pace,” Guthrie Sr. said. “We were getting passed by some people, and we were just like, ‘I’m not sure how long they’re going to last.’ Honestly, we were running at 80 percent. Even when you saw us flying, we weren’t to the floor because I had heard some things about belts popping off once they get up to the top. We were never on the floor. We just ran our own pace and kept the car together.”
In spite of the fact that treachery lies around every turn on the 114-mile course, the team had very little trouble and only had to winch up a few sections.
“I’ll be honest, it was a really smooth run,” Guthrie Sr. said. “We had to winch three times. The car was working and the tires were grabbing good. We had to winch at Highway 20 because we had to get around somebody who was stuck, and at the very end of Wrecking Ball, and Aftershock once.”
The race was certainly a tough one today, as only seven Pro-class racers crossed the finish line, while only three Sportsman-class racers made the finish. Even though the Guthrie team has won this event four times before this year, Mitch Guthrie Jr. said they were still prepared for a tough race.
“We came into this year and it was the same course, and we knew it was going to be really tough,” Guthrie Jr. said. “But going through all these trails this year… Chocolate Thunder was a catastrophe last year. I was winching all over. But we got right up it this year.”
Taking the win in the UTV Sportsman class is John Duckworth, who was actually first across the finish line in Hammertown with a time of 4 hours, 35 minutes and 24 seconds. The Sportsman class ran nearly the same distance but had a few key bypass sections, including one that avoided Wrecking Ball and Clawhammer. Cody Currie earned second place with a time of 4 hours, 47 minutes and 13 seconds. Scott Barnett finished in third with a time of 6 hours, 17 seconds and 32 seconds.
Check back for more updates on the UTV King of the Hammers as racers continue to cross the finish line.
More King of the Hammers Coverage:
Cody Webb Wins 2014 King of the Motos
KOH Coverage Page
2014 KOH Pro & Sportsman Results
1. Mitch Guthrie – 5:00:13
2. Braden Sims – 5:08:27
3. Casey Currie – 5:34:27
4. Matt Enochs – 6:20:19
5. Blake Van de Loo – 7:49:10
6. Bill Barnett – 8:09:44
7. Wesley Gryner – 8:19:22
1. John Duckworth – 4:35:24
2. Cody Currie – 4:47:13
3. Scott Barnett – 6:17:32
Although thousands of race fans and off-road enthusiasts travel out to Johnson Valley, California, each year to check out the 2014 King of the Hammers first hand, not everyone can make the trek. If you’re at home trying to keep up with the action, be sure to check back with the live feed Ultra4 Racing is putting on all week during the event.
King Shocks hosted a Monday night competition called the Shootout at Backdoor to kick off the week for the 2014 King of the Hammers. Over 50 racers signed up to tackle the ledge at Backdoor all while vying for the a $12,500 prize purse from sponsors King Shocks, 4 Wheel Parts, Raceline Wheels, RCV and Dynomax. There ended up being 43 racers taking runs during the event, with a great deal of carnage on the rocks that saw many racers leaving chunks of their cars out on the trail – or at least a little fluid.
Defending King of the Motos Champion Cody Webb couldn’t have gotten a better start if he had bribed the officials and the rest of his competition.
The American Beta rider, who had finished second by mere seconds after the morning loop, dominated the 2014 King of the Motos in Johnson Valley, California, today, defending his KoM crown after pulling an incredible holeshot up the rock formation known as Chocolate Thunder during the afternoon’s second, more technical, loop.
We know that Cody Webb crossed the finish line first, and it appears unofficially that he’s won the 2014 King of the Motos from here in Johnson Valley, California, but we’re still waiting on official results from today’s race.
According to the Toyo Tires Dakar blog, BJ Baldwin is not continuing in the 2014 Dakar after a hole was found in his fuel cell before starting the 10th stage. Here’s what the Toyo blog said: BJ made the decision to not start this morning after a massive hole was discovered in the fuel cell end of day yesterday. Of course it was a tough decision to not continue but also an easy one when he considered the risks and his family.
Whilst the motorsport season may feel like a distant memory to some, this is the time of year that an elite band of hardened racers crave for more than anything else as they dial in their final preparations for the Dakar Rally Raid. Arguably the most fearsome and awe-inspiring race on the planet is now only a matter of weeks away.
Since moving to South America in 2009 from its original form – barreling through the streets of Paris all the way to its namesake in Senegal, Africa – the most grueling motorsport race in the world has proved that no matter where the epic deserts are: the best races in the world will come to fire their highly tuned machinery across them.