Can-Am Tops UTV King of the Hammers
The UTV King of the Hammers race had 113 side-by-sides (SXS) lined up at the start. True to its reputation as the most brutal one-day race, only 46 vehicles, or 41 percent, finished.
Can-Am owned the podium, as their racers, Kyle Chaney, Cody Miller, and Phil Blurton finished one, two, and three. Chaney won $10,000 earlier in the week at the Toyo Desert Challenge, adding $25,000 to his total by taking the UTV King of the Hammers title. Chaney’s finish this year was redemption for 2020 when he broke his foot and dislocated his toes when rolling his UTV. Despite the setback, he still managed to finish second.
“I wanted to make it through the desert loop today. It had a bunch of nasty chop in it. I knew I could get through the rocks, but the desert was going to be tough,” Chaney said, after completing the 121-mile course in three hours and 47 minutes. The desert loop combined tight, twisty ridge lines with mixed high-speed lake beds, followed by rock-crawling trails that challenged the teams and their machines.
Cody Miller, 2020’s fast qualifier, came in second, finishing 12 minutes behind Chaney.
“I was headed up Jackhammer when I saw Kyle coming down. I knew at that point that he had a very serious lead,” Miller said. “We pushed really hard, but couldn’t catch him.”
Relatively new to rock crawling and King of the Hammers, Miller has raced for Can-Am previously, winning championships in GNCC and WORCS.
“King of the Hammers is just a great team event. A lot of the races that we run are driver versus driver. Out here it’s team versus team. All the way from the pits to the passenger seat, it’s a major group effort. It brings everyone together, and it’s a good family environment.”
A follow up to his third-place finish last year and a second at the Toyo Desert Challenge this past Saturday, Phil Blurton rounded out the podium. When asked about King of the Hammers, Blurton said, “Every two weeks we’re racing somewhere different and this race is just so unique. You’re in the desert doing 100 miles an hour, and then you’re in the rocks doing three miles an hour and next thing you know you’re stuck on the rocks and out of the car winching. It is a combination of everything.”
Finishing 19 minutes behind from Chaney, Blurton lost time when he got a flat tire and found that his jack had flown off the car.
In 2021, 46 of 109 UTVs finished the race within the ten-hour time limit, while in 2013, out of 35 entries, only three reached the checkered flag. The action continues with the Every Man Challenge before the grand finale on Saturday, February 6th with the unlimited King of the Hammers. Live coverage starts tomorrow at 8 AM Pacific at ultra4racing.com/live.
[Images: King of the Hammers/Nicole Dreon, Redline Projects]
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“Every two weeks we’re racing somewhere different and this race is just so unique. You’re in the desert doing 100 miles an hour, and then you’re in the rocks doing three miles an hour and next thing you know you’re stuck on the rocks and out of the car winching. It is a combination of everything.” I've never heard of this event before, and it's interesting. Sounds like a sort of Ironman contest for desert runners. Perhaps I've lived a sheltered life, but I got my first ride in a UTV last weekend. A friend bought one for his farm, but it certainly isn't a brute like these machines. If they can develop a 2-3 hour event instead of a 10-hour event, people might have the patience to tune in and watch the entire thing.
Here's some real racing. Carrera Coches de Madera. It's a little slow until around the 2:30 mark or so. youtube.com/watch?v=MXQqJQWe7g8