2015 King of the Hammers: Insane UTV Racing

King of the Hammers, presented by Polaris RZR, is considered to be one of the most difficult off-road racing events in the world. The terrain changes constantly—from flat highspeed lake beds to crawling up and down hills filled with giant boulders and rock faces that require the use of a winch and a navigator willing to climb in and out of the UTV to traverse. It doesn’t just take a well-built machine to race KOH; preparation and planning are key. Only five of over 50 UTVs completed this year’s race, and Mitch Guthrie once again took home the top podium spot in his Polaris RZR 1000.

This event is spectacular. The vendor and pit areas buzz with the sounds of machines being prepped for upcoming races, people crowding around the giant Polaris RZR/HCR stage where you can follow along with the race on a giant viewing screen, and spectators leaving the area to go find an intense section of the course to watch UTVs battle the terrain. Viewing the race from the sidelines might be the closest you want to get to entering the race yourself. The course is brutal. It is littered with giant boulders, steep hills, wide-open lakebed sections and over 100 miles of abuse. King of the Hammers takes place once a year in Johnson Valley, California. Check out www.ultra4racing.com for more information and entry forms.

Co-drivers consistently get out of their machines to connect their winch cables to hook points, spot the right paths and navigate the race using a GPS system. They have a tough job during this race.
Practice, preparation and pre-running the course are some of the best ways to be able to compete at King of the Hammers.
You need to know the weak points of your machine and be equipped to fix broken parts. One wrong turn over a boulder could
end your race.
Finding your way to different sections of the race to see the action is no simple task.
You could get to a great spot to watch machines race down the rough stuff, but
oftentimes you wait between 10 minutes to an hour just to watch two machines go
by. Asking long-time KOH spectators where the best spots to go is your best bet.
While the Polaris RZR XP 1000 is a
popular choice, widening it for this race
was not always the best decision. Most
of the racers that had their UTVs set up
like this one didn’t finish the race. Axles
were one of the first parts to go.
Dean Bullock and Kyle Munford piloted
their nearly stock Arctic Cat Wildcat
Sport 700 to second place. Most of the
UTVs were highly modified, and for a
stock UTV to beat over 50 competitors
is impressive.
The course has steep hills covered in boulders that were often bigger than the
machines. Flat, high-speed lakebeds and desert runs were littered in between deep
sand and tracked-out terrain. Only five racers ended up completing King of the
Hammers this year.
The over 100-mile race claimed many UTV victims. Machines would bottleneck
themselves in the roughest sections, causing other racers to have to take more difficult
routes around them. They, too, would then break down, creating sections that
other racers had to wait for over an hour to clear out.
Mitch Guthrie and his co-driver, Mitch Guthrie Jr., took home their sixth King of the Hammers victory. They had over an hour of lead time ahead of the closest competition in their Polaris RZR XP 1000.
King of the Hammers is often considered one of the biggest off-road racing events
around. The course is so big that helicopter crews fly around to capture as much
action as possible
In some sections of the course, the terrain gets so brutal that a winch is required.
Oftentimes, the racers have broken machines that they have to limp through the
course. They can’t receive outside help for repairs; otherwise, they are out of the
Arctic CatDirt WheelsKing of the HammersPolarisRZRRZR XP 1000UTVUTV Racing