King of the Hammers officially kicked off over the weekend with UTV racing. It is absolutely no surprise that a Guthrie made it on the podium. That name has been synonymous with the KOH UTV races since they started. 22-year-old Mitch Guthrie Jr. now has two King titles to add to his already impressive resume. Guthrie Jr. also was the top qualifier, allowing him to start the race out front.
Guthrie Jr. follows in the footsteps of his father, Mitch Sr., who has won the King of the Hammers UTV race six times. For the Guthries, Johnson Valley is their playground. They have also spent a ton of time prerunning and preparing for the race.
Mitch Guthrie Jr. drove a the brand new Polaris RZR Velocity in the race. It was Phil Burton who had the physical lead until the course hit the rock canyons. This is where Guthrie Jr. shines and his experience shows. “The rocks are where it counts, and we had some great lines through them. We never even had to wrench,” said Guthrie Jr.
Twenty-eight vehicles finished this year’s race, which was tougher and longer than previous events. The 160-mile course featured a 91-mile desert loop that had high-speed lakebeds and tight, twisty turns. UTVs had a 9-hour time limit.
Wayland Campbell took Second Place in the race after Branden Sims received a penalty. Sims still finished on the podium in Third Place. King of the Hammers continues this week in Johnson Valley with the Every Man Challenge, T1 Desert Invitational, and the big King of the Hammers main race.
Photos Courtesy of KOH Photographers: Kathy Durrett, Nicole Dreon and Phil Henderson.