EVENT: CAN-AM KING OF THE HAMMERS UTV RACE
Doing the Can-Am crush By the staff of Dirt Wheels
Polaris has pretty much claimed ownership of the UTV race that is part of the two-week rock-and dust-fest that is King of the Hammers. This originally tiny event held among friends has grown into an international happening, like the child of Burning Man and the Baja 1000. Despite the fact that the UTV class is the largest of the event, it still feels like something of an awkward stepchild. UTVs are more than accepted, but it is obvious that the organization reserves its passion for the big Ultra4 cars. We heard Jeep-owner course workers commenting on how fast the UTVs went through rock-wash canyons. It isn’t that they couldn’t do the same terrain in a Jeep, but slowly and nowhere near the upper-echelon UTV race pace. Can-Am is the UTV race sponsor, and the potent 2020 Maverick X3 RRs with 195 horsepower proved almost unstoppable, taking the top three places and having eight of top 10 finishes!
It has been another assumption that rock experience is vital to win the KOH. Proven adaptable, Texas brothers Hunter and Cody Miller started on the East Coast in the GNCC series, but when GNCC dropped UTV classes, the pair headed west for the WORCS races,
a radical change in car setup, but the team already has a championship! The brothers nailed the top spots in qualifying, but that isn’t a shock. The qualifying lap is under 3 minutes for fast guys and has only two short rock sections. Qualifying is just for the start position, and hours on the 142-mile trail should leave enough time to come from behind.
That wasn’t really the case. Cody Miller was fastest by almost three seconds, and he was followed by Hunter Miller, Kyle Chaney, two-time winner Mitch Guthrie Jr. in the first Polaris, and Nathan Wolf. The finishing results were remarkably similar. Fast qualifier Cody Miller struggled a little and finished ninth. That opened the door for Hunter Miller to win by roughly 3 minutes over Kyle Chaney, with Phil Blurton almost an equal gap behind. Guthrie Jr. had to overcome an axle problem early that left him back in traffic. He recovered for 16th place. His father, Mitch Guthrie Sr., is also a former winner, and he nailed down fourth and first Polaris. Nathan Wolfe finished fifth, right where he qualified.
It was bantered about by those knowledgeable about the race and the competitors that 2020 could be the year for a Japanese-built machine to be a threat. The Yamahas and Hondas looked strong, but with 20 miles left to go, a rock-damaged front end stopped seven-time Supercross champ Jeremy McGrath while he was in seventh. Christopher Polvoorde in a Honda Talon was the best of the Japanese brands at 17th, but all three brands showed turns of fully competitive speed.
Casey Currie just made history as the first American to win the Dakar Rally UTV class, and no doubt he would have liked to be the one who first put a Can-Am on top at KOH, but it didn’t work out for him. He picked up seventh place. It was a wild year, and we fully expect that the class will grow for 2021. There were close to 140 entries, but only 33 machines finished both laps within the allotted time. Those are tough odds, but the addiction is real.
2020 CAN-AM UTV KING OF THE HAMMERS RACE RESULTS
1. Hunter Miller, C-A, 04:29:44.201
2. Kyle Chaney, C-A, 04:32:24.935
3. Phil Blurton, C-A, 04:36:17.552
4. Mitch Guthrie Sr., Pol, 04:47:14.386
5. Nathan Wolff, C-A, 04:55:05.224
6. Trey Mckinlay, Pol, 05:07:21.644
7. Casey Currie, C-A, 05:08:49.996
8. Jason Weller, C-A, 05:28:07.029
9. Cody Miller, C-A, 05:30:34.249
10. Nicholas Turner, C-A, 05:36:54.780.
11. Blake Van de Loo, Pol, 05:42:16.003
12. Scott Lesage, Pol, 05:46:32.296
13. Austin Weiland, CA, 05:55:25.309
14. Lanse Chournos., Pol, 05:56:29.031
15. Logan Goodall, Pol, 05:58:48.842
16. Mitch Guthrie Jr, Pol, 05:59:32.517
17. Christopher Polvoorde, Hon, 06:01:40.550
18. Richard Farmer, Pol, 06:04:46.948
19. Greg Uffens, CA, 06:06:34.369
20. Knox Griffin, Pol, 06:07:12.008
21. Raul Gomez, Pol, 06:13:44.313
22. Chip MacLaughlin, Pol, 07:11:18.838
23. Robert Butler, Pol, 07:15:44.752
24. John Duckworth, Pol, 07:17:49.047
25. Nathan Zollinger, Pol, 07:24:09.101
26. Eliott Watson, Hon, 07:29:19.485
27. Kristen Matlock, Pol, 07:39:52.378
28. Justin Barth, Pol, 07:40:21.534
29. Jeremy McGrath, Kaw, 07:42:15.531
30. JP Gomez, Pol, 07:58:28.090
31. Kyle Osborne, Pol, 08:04:49.074
32. Marcos Gomez, Pol, 08:06:41.516
33. Matthew Zeiler, Pol, 08:16:37.929