I have a serious love hate relationship with King of the Hammers UTV race. I love to build something to conquer the desert and survive the rocks, but it takes a ton of time to do it like I want to. Since the first race in 2009, I have attended every King of the Hammers UTV race. Most times I have built cars and raced, but two years I have sat out and focused on the media side of it. 2019 was supposed to be another sit out and do media stuff year, but one week before the race it got all turned upside-down for me….
From 2009 through 2012, the UTV race was mostly a desert sprint with a few easy rock sections sprinkled in. So from my perspective, things got serious in 2013 and on when hammerking promoter Dave Cole decided UTVs weren’t just glorified golf carts anymore. That year, the course had three finishers, about 10% of the starting field. Mitch Guthrie and his son Mitch Guthrie Jr. took first place. I finished 16 seconds behind him after almost 8 hours on the course.
In 2014, I jumped in the codog seat with Blake van de Loo, and we got 5th place after many different issues tested us and our Jagged X pit crew to the limits.
In 2015, I was crazy enough to think that racing an underpowered RZR S 900 with less suspension travel was a good idea. Even with the toughest course to date, I was able to pull off a third place finish.
In 2016, I sat the race out and focused on the media side of the race. But then again in 2017, I was back at it. While most competitors were racing a turbo RZR, I focused in on a Rock & Trails Edition RZR XP 1000. I teamed up with Reid Nordin, and we pulled off a 3rd place finish.
In 2018, I sat the race out and focused hard on pre-running and race coverage.
For the 2019 King of the Hammers UTV race, I had planned on doing extensive media coverage with several of the top teams, from different manufacturers. I had three trips to Johnson Valley under my belt by the middle of January and was getting some great video content for different teams and manufacturers including the Guthrie’s (Polaris), Ronnie Anderson (Polaris), Jason Weller (Yamaha), Phil Blurton (Can-Am) -> 2019 King of the Hammers Pre-Run
I was gearing up for race week, when I got the call from Mitch Guthrie Jr. asking if I’d be interested in being his codog. Well that certainly wasn’t part of my plan for KOH week, but when the current King wants your help, it is hard to say no. Even so, I took a few days to think about this. I had some media obligations, plus I take this race very seriously and wanted to make sure that I could give the Guthrie’s 100%.
After some serious contemplation I made the call to go for it. This type of opportunity doesn’t come around every day, and I felt I was the right guy for the job. After filming in Johnson Valley so much, I was confident that no other codog had spent anywhere near the amount of hours on the ground running up and down the rocks at the Hammers. I checked over my gear, and my firesuit, gloves and hans were all good to go, but my helmet was out of date. I made a call to Rugged Radios and got that figured out quickly.
Full story: KOH2019 Race recap
Fastest qualifying lap: