The year 2020 was one for the ages and going into this year many questions surrounded putting on races and events as large as King of the Hammers. Never to shy away from a challenge Dave Cole and his talented crew at Ultra 4 Racing put their heads down and refused to even fathom the idea of not putting on KOH.
Working with local and state authorities Ultra 4 Racing and Hammerking Productions put together a Covid-19 mitigation plan that put safety above everything else which followed sanitation and health protocols necessary to ensure the event could go on. You can find their mitigation plan on the link below:
Today marked day one of a long week of action and it started off with all the desert classes qualifying for their starting positions. The UTV’s (B3) and 10 Cars (B2) qualified first since they had their race pitting the two classes against each other only two hours later. Chase Warren put down the fastest time on the 5 mile qualifying loop with a time of 7 Minutes and 12 seconds followed by Blaine Conrad 6 seconds later. The first UTV was Austin Weiland just 9 seconds behind Conrad.
The other classes to qualify today were T1, B1 (Class 1 / 4400 Cars), and B2 (6100 / TT Spec Trucks). In T1 Bryce Menzies laid a time of 6 Minutes and 26 seconds, 11 seconds faster then Cody Parkhouse in his Class 1 car. Ray Griffith was 10 seconds behind Parkhouse and Kyle Jergenesen just two seconds behind him.
What is interesting with these classes is that they didn’t just qualifying for starting position in their class, but for the race overall. All three classes will be intertwined with each other on race day making for a very interesting race.
B2 VS B3 GRUDGE MATCH
With a short break in the action the UTV’s and 10 Cars lined up for their grudge match to try and settle the debate of which is faster. Year after year the UTV’s have been knocking on the doors of the 10 cars so Dave Cole decided it was time to put the argument to rest this year. Before the race it was an interesting debate, would the 10 cars who have higher top speeds and can handle the rough terrain better win or would the UTV’s with 4wd and lighter vehicles take the win. Both arguments could be made for either one but Wheeler Morgan decided to answer the question with his right foot.
The race would consist of 5 laps alternating between two loops, one larger and one smaller. Coming into the finish on the first lap the 10 cars had already started to put a gap on the UTV’s. Five 10 cars would cross the finish line lead by Blaine Conrad putting 10 minutes on the first UTV of Kyle Chaney. Off the start line the first UTV off the line started three minutes behind the leader so the writing was being set.
Lap two Wheeler Morgan took over the lead in his single seat Class 10 followed by Conrad who maintained second place. More 10 cars followed the lead pack and now Brandon Sims who was the lead UTV was 17 minutes behind the leaders. After two laps around the entire course the question moved away from which class would win to who would win in each class. Wheeler maintained his lead the entire time having a trouble free race and finishing 4 minutes ahead of second place Jeremy Davis. Brent Fox would round out the podium and Conrad would hold on to a forth place finish.
After lap two the battle in the UTV class came down to Chaney and Phil Blurton after Sims was forced to retire wit ha mechanical issue. Chaney led physically the entire race but on corrected time the two were very close. Halfway through the race Blurton would suffer torn CV boots but rather then pull into their pit and lose time replacing they decided to roll the dice and continue to push on.
The dark horse of the class was Kaden Wells who was racing his N/A Polaris RZR in a field of turbo powered side by sides. Each lap Wells to closer to Chaney and Blurton but they had to change out an axle on lap three putting them down on time. Chaney and Blurton battled the entire race but in the end Chaney would take home the class win finishing 17 minutes ahead of Blurton and 42 minutes behind Wheeler.
The grudge match was settled and Wheeler not only took home $10,000 for his class win, but an additional $50,000 for winning the race overall. Chaney would take home $10,000 as well for his class win.
CLASS 11 SHOWDOWN
After all that with a full day of qualifying and racing done with the day wasn’t over just yet. For the first time Class 11 cars were invited to participate in the show. Set under the lights on the short course section the 11 cars took off in a land rush start and would battle hard for 25 laps around their course.
The crowd cheered in excitement as the 11 cars battled door to door all 25 laps. Blake Wilkey set the tone early grabbing the lead a few laps into the race and looked to be checking out but Bryan Croft seemed to grab another gear as the laps went on reeling in Wilkey. Lap after lap cars started to drop out but Wilkey and Croft kept battling, but Wilkey couldn’t be caught and was the first to complete 25 laps.
With the win he takes home a check for $20,000 thanks to Baja Jerky along with some bruised kidneys.
Photos by HighRev Photography