2017 King Of The Hammers – Photos | Story | Results
The King Of The Hammers is in a league of its own. It is the ultimate test of man and machine and it is by far the most fun race to cover all year. I first attended as a spectator back in 2008 and we began covering the event in 2009. We have not missed a KOH event since we first attended, and once again I have returned from Johnson Valley, CA feeling like I just experienced the best off-road race in the world. Whats funny is, I feel that way and I didn’t even stick around for Friday’s big Ultra 4 battle!
There are many levels of bad-assery in the realm of off-road racing. What makes KOH so special is the experience as an off-road enthusiast & racing fan. KOH has something no other event in off-road has, and thats an interactive experience where you literally get to camp out and then play in your own off-road vehicle, on the same trails the racers use, all week long, while then chasing the race in your OHV or street legal vehicle and watch the best of the best do their thing while literally standing feet from the action. Only Baja rivals the spectating and chasing experience of KOH and in my opinion, its better than Baja!
The race is the catalyst for tens-of-thousands of off-road racing fanatics, racers, teams, sponsors from around the world to gather on this desolate dry lake bed in the middle of Johnson Valley, CA. Dubbed the “Hammers”, this area is surrounded by treacherous rock filled valleys that the ballsiest players in the sport love to come too and challenge themselves and their machines. Weather in past years has been cold, this year we were met with 70 degree weather all week long. Its going to be hard to top the fun we had this year.
Anyway, a race did take place and we once again were on the scene to witness all the action. We spent a lot of time prior to the race hanging with and talking to our friends who would be competing. This years event saw Can-Am take over title sponsorship of the UTV race while our friends at RCV Performance were presenting sponsors. It was the first year that Can-Am actually had a legit presence within the race having fielded a decent amount of their new X3 vehicles. Polaris would once again dominate the entry list while Yamaha, Kawasaki, Arctic Cat and even Bad Boy all had entries of their own.
A total of 75 racers would be entered to take on the race this year. All the usual suspects were entered in the UTV class alongside many new UTV racers. Shannon Campbell was a name that many were excited to see entered into the UTV class. Shannon is arguably the most popular rock racer of all-time but he wasn’t the only Campbell competing. Son Wayland and daughter Bailey were also on the list and all three were representing factory Polaris RZR. IN addition to the Campbell’s, other big names crossing over from the Ultra 4 world were also entered including Erik Miller who was also in a Polaris RZR and Casey Currie who would be putting in a factory Can-Am effort.
Last years KOH UTV winner Blake Van De Loo was primed to defend his title behind the wheel of a brand new factory backed 2017 Polaris RZR XP Turbo. 6-Time KOH UTV winner Mitch Guthrie Sr. was also on hand to try and capture his seventh title while wheeling his own new factory backed 2017 RZR XP Turbo. Mitch Guthrie Jr. decided to step into his own new factory RZR XP Turbo this year in place of navigating for his father, something he has done the past few years with great success. The young gun would qualify first for this years race leaving many to wonder if “the prince” would leave Hammer Town USA as a KING!?
Qualifying took place on Saturday leaving competitors three days to re-prep their vehicles and prepare for Wednesday’s battle. It also left time for the competitors to put in some more homework and practice on the rock trails. The veterans all seemed to echo their displeasure of this years race course. They felt it was too easy, too much desert and not enough rocks. What hard trails that were on the map all seemed to be going downhill and that bothered a lot of the teams who pride themselves on the actual “rock crawling” style of racing. We saw many racers making last minute adjustments to their machines to prepare them for more of a flat out desert race vs. a rough and tumble rock race. With that said, the race still provided many challenges but with finishing times under four hours this year, it was clear that it was a much simpler course layout.
The race kicked off promptly at 8am in which racers left the line two at a time every thirty seconds. We had a hard time determining the actual mileage of the race as UTVs were forced to take many by-pass routes. We estimate the race to being around 100 miles. This year, UTVs would have to go down the famed “Back Door” not once, but twice. They would also descend down “Sledgehammer” and have to once again climb “Chocolate Thunder”! We would be able to see the racers multiple times throughout the day watching them take on their first small climb around RM3, then see them climb up “Resolution” before heading down “Back Door” which was clearly the favorite spectating area for this years UTV race. We then got to see the leaders charge through “Sledgehammer” before catching the leaders crossing the line which was perfectly placed at the “Back Door”.
Multiple race teams would end their day between the start and “Back Door”on lap 1. Lead qualifier Mitch Guthrie Jr. lost a transmission due to an impact with a rock at RM19 ending his day early. His father and 6-time King, Guthrie Sr. also would suffer some bad luck. After trading the lead with his good friend Shannon Campbell all day long, Mitch Sr. would lose his front diff while battling through “Sledgehammer less than 30 minutes from the finish line and running neck & neck with Campbell. Ultimately, Guthrie’s mechanical while in second place would plug the trail and allow Shannon to check out and put an almost 10 minute lead on the next closest competitor as he climbed up “Chocolate Thunder” in front of a huge crowd.
All-day long we saw Shannon, Bailey and Wayland fight for the lead alongside Erik Miller, and Guthrie Sr.. That lead pack put on a clinic but with a field of 75 UTVs and this years race being based on corrected time, guys like Casey Currie, Jon Crowley & Reid Nordin, Lanse Chournos, and Phil Cagliero who started deeper in the field were beginning to make some serious time. The team of Crowley & Nordin were by far the most impressive moving their RZR XP1000 into a physical second position by the time they hit “Chocolate Thunder”.
Now, their are WAY to many story lines to be able to touch on everyone’s individual stories in one single article. We witnessed more than I could ever put into words. I do want to give props to the Teryx Girls, Sara Price & Erika Sacks who once again put on a terrific performance in their Kawasaki Teryx. Jason Weller, Brian King, Chad Hughes, and Jesse Johnson are all names that also deserve props for their own individual efforts. While everyone is fighting for that title of being named King, at the end of the day, anyone who takes on the hammers would tell you that finishing KOH is in someways just as good as a win. But not quite.
In a time of 3 hours and 33 minutes, the most iconic rock racer in the sport would blast down “Back Door” for the second time and claim the win at the 2017 King Of The Hammers UTV race. Shannon Campbell put on a performance that displayed exactly why he is such a widely respected racer. He lost time and position due to his RZR going into limp mode, he repaired his door at speed for 2 miles while his co-driver steered the car, and despite being passed by both his kids and the former 6-time king multiple times, he still found a way to regain his lead position and not only finish first on time but also first physically. It was a big deal just having Shannon compete in the UTV race, it was even more exciting to see him perform at the level many of us expected.
Finishing 15 minutes behind him in second position was Wayland Campbell in his RZR XP Turbo. This was also Wayland’s first race in the UTV class at Hammers, and while Wayland is closely following in his fathers footsteps as one of the best rock racers in the world, he made a mark amongst the UTV community as one of the best behind the wheel of a UTV in his first outing. It was cool to see father and son celebrate together on the podium.
Rounding out the podium in arguably the most impressive performance of the day were our long-time friends Jon Crowley & Reid Nordin. These two guys are a big reason as to why I love rock crawling, both took me on my first trip to Moab and we have all spent a lot of time together over the years. The two charged from deep in the field to capture third place finishing 4 minutes behind Wayland Campbell.
Popular Ultra 4 racer, Erik Miller would finish in third place physically but would end up behind Crowley & Nordin due to corrected time. Miller put on a clinic in the rocks and displayed his speed, experience and skill all day long behind the wheel of his Polaris RZR XP1000. This was not Miller’s first time competing in the UTV race at KOH and we look forward to seeing him make another run for the crown next year!
Rounding out the top 5 and finishing as the first non-Polaris was Casey Currie in his new factory Can-Am Maverick X3. Casey pushed hard all day, taking wild lines and aggressively passing any chance he got, something we are all used to seeing Casey do. He is not a patient driver. He does his homework and so if you are holding him up, expect him to pass you any chance he gets. He is not one to wait his turn in line, if you leave a door open he will drive right through it.
After a fun podium celebration and an evening of adult beverages it was time for me to pack up and head home. I always enjoy my time at Hammers, hanging with our friends and chasing some of the most exciting off-road racing in the world. I look forward to hearing more stories from our friends who raced and chased this years KOH. I can’t wait for 2018!
I want to take a moment to thank each and every racer who represented UTVUnderground.com this year at KOH. It means a lot to us, and to me personally, to see those logos on your vehicles. Receiving that return love and support is truly what keeps us going. I want to also thank our team at UTVUnderground.com who once again dedicated this week to helping us cover the event. Rusty & Daniel got some amazing shots that I hope you all will enjoy. Last but not least we want to thank the guys at CageWRX for sponsoring our coverage this year, giving us the chance to get back to Hammers and help tell a little of the story. Without support from companies like CageWRX we couldn’t do this, so thank you very much guys!
Until next year…..
2017 Can-Am King Of The Hammers UTV Race Presented by RCV Performance Results
ORDER | CAR # | NAME | START | LAP1 | TIME LAP1 | ELAPSED LAP2 | TIME LAP2 | ELAPSED | TOTAL ELAPSED
1 UTV 5 SHANNON CAMPBELL 8:09:30 9:53:43 1:44:13 11:43:14 1:49:31 3:33:44
2 UTV 3 WAYLAND CAMPBELL 8:11:00 10:01:56 1:50:56 11:59:37 1:57:41 3:48:37
3 UTV 1965 JON CROWLEY 8:14:30 10:00:24 1:45:54 12:07:01 2:06:37 3:52:31
4 UTV 921 ERIK MILLER 8:09:00 9:57:50 1:48:50 12:04:53 2:07:03 3:55:53
5 UTV 2 CASEY CURRIE 8:23:00 10:15:01 1:52:01 12:36:45 2:21:44 4:13:45
6 UTV 395 BRIAN KING 8:17:00 10:15:29 1:58:29 12:36:22 2:20:53 4:19:22
7 UTV 21 PHIL CAGLIERO 8:10:00 10:02:13 1:52:13 12:30:26 2:28:13 4:20:26
8 UTV 1910 JASON WELLER 8:12:00 10:17:30 2:05:30 12:34:06 2:16:36 4:22:06
9 UTV 1295 CHAD HUGHES 8:14:00 10:14:06 2:00:06 12:36:40 2:22:34 4:22:40
10 UTV 4975 ALAN CLARK 8:25:30 10:24:59 1:59:29 13:01:09 2:36:10 4:35:39
11 UTV 1929 LANSE CHOURNOS 8:19:30 10:28:33 2:09:03 12:56:13 2:27:40 4:36:43
12 UTV 1947 JESSE JOHNSON 8:22:00 10:34:16 2:12:16 13:00:50 2:26:34 4:38:50
13 UTV 485 JAMI PELLEGRINO 8:21:00 10:40:52 2:19:52 13:02:07 2:21:15 4:41:07
14 UTV 1914 GARISON CALLAWAY 8:19:30 10:41:35 2:22:05 13:02:37 2:21:02 4:43:07
15 UTV 35 BAILEY CAMPBELL 8:10:00 9:55:14 1:45:14 12:55:14 3:00:00 4:45:14
16 UTV 1905 SEAN HALUCH 8:13:30 10:19:14 2:05:44 13:03:25 2:44:11 4:49:55
17 UTV 90 DARIAN GOMEZ 8:11:30 10:15:29 2:03:59 13:02:01 2:46:32 4:50:31
18 UTV 123 SARA PRICE 8:13:30 10:34:07 2:20:37 13:07:29 2:33:22 4:53:59
19 UTV 1944 GREG UFFENS 8:14:30 10:44:30 2:30:00 13:20:51 2:36:21 5:06:21
20 UTV 933 STEVE SCHNEIDER 8:15:30 10:13:16 1:57:46 13:28:53 3:15:37 5:13:23
21 UTV 1481 CHAYSE CAPRARA 8:22:30 10:40:34 2:18:04 13:40:34 3:00:00 5:18:04
22 UTV 82 JP GOMEZ 8:11:30 10:15:23 2:03:53 13:36:47 3:21:24 5:25:17
23 UTV 1930 KYLE ANDERSON 8:15:30 10:41:17 2:25:47 13:45:46 3:04:29 5:30:16
24 UTV 4919 TYLER GREVES 8:09:30 10:30:15 2:20:45 13:41:26 3:11:11 5:31:56
25 UTV 1903 MATTHEW WILSON 8:20:30 10:38:16 2:17:46 13:54:14 3:15:58 5:33:44
26 UTV 1921 DAVID UPTAIN 8:16:00 10:48:21 2:32:21 13:58:52 3:10:31 5:42:52
27 UTV 1948 PAUL WADLINGTON 8:24:30 11:17:41 2:53:11 14:41:42 3:24:01 6:17:12
28 UTV 31 BRENT ZIMMERMAN 8:21:00 11:30:09 3:09:09 14:40:58 3:10:49 6:19:58
29 UTV 1931 JEFF PALHEGYI 8:13:00 10:41:32 2:28:32 14:35:57 3:54:25 6:22:57
30 UTV 913 BRANDEN SIMS 8:10:30 11:47:50 3:37:20 14:41:19 2:53:29 6:30:49
31 UTV 1950 LOGAN GOODALL 8:27:00 10:50:53 2:23:53 15:01:00 4:10:07 6:34:00
32 UTV 22 CODY CURRIE 8:23:00 12:13:31 3:50:31 15:02:44 2:49:13 6:39:44
33 UTV 4959 RICKY FARMER 8:25:30 10:29:12 2:03:42 15:06:07 4:36:55 6:40:37
34 UTV 1908 CRAIG HONNOLL 8:21:30 11:00:24 2:38:54 15:03:39 4:03:15 6:42:09
35 UTV 191 AARON BURTON 8:22:30 11:03:34 2:41:04 15:08:15 4:04:41 6:45:45
36 UTV 4911 RON SCHAEFER 8:11:00 10:43:45 2:32:45 15:05:11 4:21:26 6:54:11
37 UTV 1975 CHASE BRIDGMON 8:20:00 11:50:47 3:30:47 15:36:52 3:46:05 7:16:52
38 UTV 777 RICK MARKLEY 8:15:00 12:20:19 4:05:19 15:55:49 3:35:30 7:40:49
39 UTV 6 MITCH GUTHRIE 8:10:30 9:57:55 1:47:25 DNF DNF DNF
40 UTV 1919 BLAKE VAN DE LOO 8:12:30 10:01:09 1:48:39 DNF DNF DNF
41 UTV 1933 RYAN BERGAMINI 8:24:30 10:40:42 2:16:12 DNF DNF DNF
42 UTV 1907 DANIEL PARKER 8:26:30 10:44:16 2:17:46 DNF DNF DNF
43 UTV 1852 HARRIS WELLS 8:27:30 10:46:47 2:19:17 DNF DNF DNF
44 UTV 994 DUSTIN NELSON 8:19:00 10:39:29 2:20:29 DNF DNF DNF
45 UTV 1009 AARON CLARK 8:16:30 10:39:50 2:23:20 DNF DNF DNF
46 UTV 1904 TONY COSTA 8:18:00 10:44:45 2:26:45 DNF DNF DNF
47 UTV 7 WESLEY GRYNER 8:14:00 10:45:57 2:31:57 DNF DNF DNF
48 UTV 4927 AUSTIN WEILAND 8:23:30 11:01:14 2:37:44 DNF DNF DNF
49 UTV 1966 GEORGE LISENBERY 8:17:00 11:04:54 2:47:54 DNF DNF DNF
50 UTV 407 PETER BASLER 8:26:30 11:16:16 2:49:46 DNF DNF DNF
51 UTV 79 CASEY SCHERER 8:15:00 11:41:35 3:26:35 DNF DNF DNF
52 UTV 1028 SEAN STROUD 8:18:30 11:46:01 3:27:31 DNF DNF DNF
53 UTV 2007 AARON WEDEKING 8:27:00 12:05:04 3:38:04 DNF DNF DNF
54 UTV 4991 ANDREW WALKER 8:18:30 12:00:55 3:42:25 DNF DNF DNF
55 UTV 1964 CARSON KUCHTA 8:23:30 12:06:01 3:42:31 DNF DNF DNF
56 UTV 727 CLINT SCRUGGS 8:21:30 12:07:06 3:45:36 DNF DNF DNF
57 UTV 1998 ETHAN OSBORNE 8:19:00 14:58:54 6:39:54 DNF DNF DNF
58 UTV 209 AARON HENRY 8:16:30 15:35:49 7:19:19 DNF DNF DNF
59 UTV 9 MITCH GUTHRIE JR 8:09:00 DNF DNF DNF DNF DNF
60 UTV 706 CHRIS ARMSTRONG 8:25:00 DNF DNF DNF DNF DNF
61 UTV 808 ROSANNA DUPRAU 8:17:30 DNF DNF DNF DNF DNF
62 UTV 1609 LABRONN OSBORNE 8:24:00 DNF DNF DNF DNF DNF
63 UTV 1911 PAULY HART 8:12:00 DNF DNF DNF DNF DNF
64 UTV 1920 JOHN DUCKWORTH 8:16:00 DNF DNF DNF DNF DNF
65 UTV 1961 CHRIS BARNETT 8:25:00 DNF DNF DNF DNF DNF
66 UTV 1991 EVAN ENGELHARDT 8:13:00 DNF DNF DNF DNF DNF
67 UTV 1999 ROB FRYREAR 8:20:00 DNF DNF DNF DNF DNF
68 UTV 2506 ANTHONY YOUNT 8:12:30 DNF DNF DNF DNF DNF
69 UTV 4904 NICK NELSON 8:22:00 DNF DNF DNF DNF DNF
70 UTV 4906 CONNOR FULTS 8:17:30 DNF DNF DNF DNF DNF
71 UTV 4925 BILL KREIG 8:26:00 DNF DNF DNF DNF DNF
72 UTV 4951 HARLEY WADE 8:26:00 DNF DNF DNF DNF DNF
73 UTV 4969 JEREMY BERZINSKI 8:18:00 DNF DNF DNF DNF DNF
74 UTV 7075 COLTIN HOBACK 8:20:30 DNF DNF DNF DNF DNF
75 UTV 5585 DAVID MIZE 6:00:00 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
Shannon Campbell Takes the Crown at the 2017 Can-Am UTV King of the Hammers
February 9, 2017 (Hammertown, CA) – While all eyes were on UTV legend Mitch Guthrie and defending champion Blake Van de Loo, it was the Campbell family who stole the show at the 2017 Can-Am UTV Race Presented by RCV.
One of Ultra4’s favorite racing families, all three members of the racing Campbell clan—Shannon, Wayland and Bailey–took the start line at 8 a.m. None of them had ever competed in a UTV race before, although all three have competed several times in the King of the Hammer’s main race.
Shortly into her UTV debut, Bailey—the only woman driving in two classes at King of the Hammers–was out in front as her father (Shannon) and older brother (Wayland) chased her down. “To tell you the truth when Bailey was out in front, I was like, ‘that would be so cool if she won’,” said Shannon, who has won King of the Hammers twice.
Ultimately, Shannon took the lead while Bailey and Wayland stayed close behind. Wayland, who was 5th off the line, started to pick off riders until he finally caught up with his sister on Sledgehammer. When he saw that she was stuck, he stopped to help her out. “We winched her out,” said Wayland. “We are family and a team. You can spare the time; it’s not an issue.”
Wayland then moved his way into second with Bailey close behind. Unfortunately, about 10 miles before the finish, Bailey suffered a mechanical, and she fell back to 15th place. Shannon and Wayland went on to finish 1-2 on the podium, the first time the father-son duo have stood on the same podium at KOH.
“I wouldn’t say it was easy,” said Shannon about winning his first UTV race,” because at every corner we felt like we were going to flip. I would say we were lucky, though.”
ALL PHOTOS BY: Rusty Baptist & Daniel Shenkelberg // UTVUnderground.com