John Currie Wins the Smittybilt Every Man Challenge
Although his wasn’t the first car across the finish line, John Currie earned his second victory at the Smittybilt Every Man Challenge at the 2013 King of the Hammers today. Currie ran a solid race leading well into the second lap, but a tricky sand hill climb opened a window for English racer Jim Marsden to pass him and cross the finish line first. It wasn’t until after the two car crossed that Marsden was disqualified for having equipment not allowed in the class.
“We were going to win it hands out,” Currie said after the race. “We were almost counting our money already, and we got to the sand slide over there and that thing ate us up. The first lap through we just crawled through it no problem at all. [The second lap] we got in there and just hit some rocks, spun the tires and just buried it. [Co-driver] Gerald [Lee] jumped out, got a winch position, [we] got through it and then buried it again.”
After jumping out, Currie was able to help sort out a gameplan to get moving again. He and Lee stacked rocks and winched up the troublesome hill, but the winch line got stuck in the spool and they had to eventually cut the line. After backing down the obstacle he was stuck on, Currie finally made it up the hill and continued to the finish.
“We thought [Marsden] had passed us but we weren’t sure, so we jumped in and headed for the finish line as fast as we could,” Currie said. “We realized when we were coming over the hill that they were just finishing. They beat us; there’s no doubt they beat us.”
Not only is it his first King of the Hammers, it is Marsden’s first time in America, and he brought over his unique Discovery Land Rover race vehicle and tackled the racecourse with confidence. Unfortunately, with improper equipment for the class, including hydraulic steering and sticky tires (not street-legal DOT tires as required), Marsden was DQed. Dave Cole brought the teams up on the stage, and both racers handled the situation with class.
“We’ve got to hand it to the guys that really did win it, and that’s John Currie,” Marsden said on stage, noting they do plan to race the King of the Hammers tomorrow in the same vehicle.
Currie praised the team for their effort in the race.
“I have to tell you, I have the greatest respect for these guys, because when they tell you they’ve raced the King of the Valleys, you don’t know how that compares to the King of the Hammers … but these guys kicked some serious butt today,” he said. “That car has about a 100-inch wheelbase, and to run they speeds they are running, whether it had sticky tires or hydraulic steering that might not be legal, but they kicked some serious butt. Now I’m afraid they are going to come back next year and show us what they really can do. I have the greatest respect for you guys and have a whole new respect for what you guys do there in England as far as off-road racing.”
After Marsden was disqualified, that moved Brandon Heyes up into second place with a time of 6:16:58, just over 38 minutes behind Currie’s time of 5:38:39. Mike Johnson finished in third place with a time of 6:17:52. Jesse Haines was the next car to cross with a time of 8:12:22.
The only stock racer to finish the race was Matthew Peterson with a time of 8:18:22, finishing just before the cut-off time for the Every Man Challenge. The team finished and went to work tonight repairing the car to compete in tomorrow’s King of the Hammers race.
Be sure to check back with Off-Road.com for more on the 2013 King of the Hammers.
MORE 2013 KOH
Live Coverage of the 2013 King of the Hammers
Unofficial Overall Finishers
1. John Currie 5:38:39
2. Brandon Heyes 6:16:58
3. Mike Johnson 6:17:52
4. Jesse Haines 8:12:22
5. Matthew Peterson 8:18:22*
*Pro Comp Stock Winner