KOH Rookie Hunter Miller Wins 2020 Can-Am UTV King of the Hammers
As the 2020 King of the Hammers week kicks into full swing, entries to Sunday’s Can-Am UTV King of the Hammers Presented by HCR were at an all-time high, with 131 vehicles starting the race. A varied mix of entrants could be found at the start line, from veteran winners such as Mitch Guthrie Sr., to competitive drivers in higher level classes such as Shannon Campbell, Cameron Steele and CJ Greeves, to those just getting their feet wet in the most entry-level-friendly class in Ultra4 racing.
The day began with racers leaving the start line two at a time, headed off on the same 143-mile, two-lap course as the EMC classes will race on Wednesday. It didn’t take long for attrition to set in, with many racers having serious issues before the first pit stop midway through Lap 1. Bailey Campbell was one of those, having gotten backed into at an early rocks section and needing to replace a radiator. Not only are UTVs smaller than their counterparts in EMC and 4400 unlimited races, but they’re more prone to failure in the harsh terrain of Johnson Valley. Ultimately, Bailey would get back on course, but after suffering further issues at Back Door toward the end of Lap 1, her day was done.
The big competition of the day played out in the front of the pack. Brothers Cody and Hunter Miller started off the line side-by-side in first and second positions, with Kyle Chaney and two-time winner Mitch Guthrie Jr. directly behind them. By the time they’d finished their first desert-centric lap, Hunter Miller held a commanding lead. Though a rookie in Ultra4, Hunter has vast experience in racing both ATVs and UTVs. Hunter was able to maintain the lead through all of the rock trail-heavy Lap 2 and secure the win at finish, coming in minutes ahead of the second-place finisher Kyle Chaney.
Prior UTV KOH winner Mitch Guthrie Sr. bypassed his son Mitch Guthrie Jr. early on in the race and made an impressive jump from a 13th starting position to being physical 4th headed into Lap 2. Though it appeared that Guthrie Sr. could be the threat to Miller in in the lead, he wasn’t able to gain much more ground and ended his day with a 4th place finish.
Another racer gaining a lot of ground during the day was Casey Currie, fresh off a major win as one of the first Americans to ever win Dakar. Currie began in 24th place and steadily moved up the pack to finish 7th.
Casualties built up throughout the race, right up to the end—with just 33 of 131 vehicles finishing. Nearing the eight-hour time limit, Raul Gomez broke down yards short of the checkered flag. As he got out to begin pushing his UTV over the line, nearby racers jumped in to help (the only people allowed to provide help of any kind). It was then that race founder Dave Cole stepped in, reminding them that the official timed finish line had already been crossed and there was no need for the herculean effort. Regardless, it was fitting reminder of the camaraderie found across all classes of Ultra4 racing.
Also evident at the finish line was the way Ultra4 racing continues to push forward the development of aftermarket parts and OE platforms alike, with Can-Am taking their first podium of the race and extending it with a full podium sweep, along with many more top finishers completing their race in a Can-Am. The Honda factory team also raced and finished.
2020 Can-Am UTV King of the Hammers Results
|4||Mitch Guthrie Sr.||56|
|11||Blake Van de Loo||1945|
|16||Mitch Guthrie Jr.||9|