This was the first time King of the Hammers had included motorcycles in their event. Jimmy Lewis and Dave decided about a month and half ago about to doing something like this. Jimmy ran the motorcycle side of it and designed an 85-mile course that consisted of both extremely fast stuff and some of the gnarliest terrain I’ve ever raced through! They put up $10,000 for the winner and only invited 21 of the best riders around to see who took it home! This was also the first time I’ve ever raced with a GPS, and since the course wasn’t marked much you had to follow the course with it. I posted my race story below. However a lot of it turned into a blur, towards the end, so I tried to remember what I could
None of us knew how the race was going to start until the morning meeting. At that point, we found out it was going to be a mass start up this nasty, rocky hill! I didn’t draw a good start position so I found the best line I could (we could only walk the start). It was a dead engine start and we all started behind our bikes. When Dave waved the flag, we were trying to get on as fast as we could and start our bikes. I had a pretty good start, but went into full spode mode right away! I took a bad line and couldn’t clear a rock gap that I tried. I flew off the back of the bike, and the bike was upside down. I tried to get up and going as fast as I could, but there were already bottlenecks going up the hill and I had to wait for some of it to clear. I finally made it to the top and then going down the back side, still only 1/2 mile in, I hit a huge rock with my shifter and bent it all the way back to my footpeg! I thought my race was already over and since I couldn’t shift it I was planning to go back to the truck and change it, but Jimmy Lewis was at the bottom of the hill and said if I went 50 feet off the course I would be DQ’ed. Since you can’t get any outside assistance, I laid the bike down and found a huge rock and started beating on my shifter (picture attached). I was worried it was going to snap or brake my shift shaft, but once I got it somewhat to the point I could shift it I was back up and going again in around 14th place. Now we were in some fast stuff, and since this was my first long, extreme race I didn’t know how fast to go. However, I knew I needed to make up a lot of time! I pinned it and was passing a lot of guys in the fast stuff! We had a couple tight sections and when I got to the first check I had already made it up to 10th. Then just before the first alternate gas, there was this nasty rock mountain we had to go up and then down the other side. I did the best I could going up and made some more passes! It was insane, but the going down part was intense! I don’t think I would’ve ever thought someone could go down this on a motorcycle and I honestly wouldn’t even dare someone to do it! Well, if I was going to continue on I knew had to do it! I spent pretty much the entire downhill off the bike pushing it down (no one rode their bike down it). It wasn’t that far to the bottom where the gas stop was, but it took about 20-minutes to get there. You had to be patient and choose where you thought you wouldn’t go flying off the side or loose the bike into a section you wouldn’t get it out of. I was able to get right on Gary Sutherlin here, and just followed him down. When we finally got to the bottom Gary had ripped his front caliper off, and had to try and fix it. I gassed up and the course guys told me I was in 5th (which I was pumped about). Everyone in front of me were amazing riders (Cody Webb, Graham Jarvis, Kurt Caselli, and Kyle Redmond) and since I couldn’t see them I figured I would have a tough time catching any of them. I headed right back into another fast section, where I was way more comfortable, and could get my heart rate back down. I enjoyed being able to relax and started thinking how tough that last section was and wondering what I had gotten myself into. I remember there were more nasty climbs and downhills, but wasn’t sure how far the guys in front of me were. At the halfway point I stopped at a check and saw Cody Webb sitting on his bike. I asked him what happened and he said he broke a radiator. At this point it was already turning into a survival race, and I asked if I could have some of his water he was carrying. He helped me out and now I headed back out, in 4th place, up another long mountain climb. There were a few times I just had to stop and let the bike cool off and let my body get some rest. You just had to take your time and really pick good lines. A few times I would pick a bad line, and have to turn around and find another one since it would be a huge cliff you couldn’t go up. I started to realize I shouldn’t have pushed it so hard to make up time earlier and was already hitting the reserve mark! Luckily I had some bars and energy gels that helped me out a little. Some of the sections you just had to pull the bike up or push it as far as you could, and then take another break. After finally making it up to the top there was another check, and the guys there told me Kurt had some mechanical issues and had to drop out. I couldn’t believe I was in 3rd considering how things started! It was right back down the other side and since we were close to the main pits there were a lot of spectators cheering us on and enjoying watching us struggle Once I got to the bottom there was another gas stop where I topped it off for the last 25, or so, miles. Right out of the gas stop it was right back into another good rock climb! There were around 600+ spectators and I could hear them cheering me on and what a great feeling that was! I made it up halfway and then hit a couple rock cliffs where I was just struggling on (I was beat)! Of course there were a lot of camera and media people here to take in the spectacle, and show how bad we were all hurting (I attached a video that shows this spot and it shows me beat and crashing). At one point I finally had to just sit there and take a good 5-minutes to get some energy back in me. Then I saw Jordan Brandt coming up the mountain and figured I better get going again. I made it close to the top and got stuck again and after pushing for a while had to take another brake. That’s when Jordan passed me and then had his chain derail! I sat there and waited for him to put it back on since it would’ve been tough to pass him back in that spot. Once he got going again, I took off and was so happy to finally make it to the top! It was back into some whoops, and dunes, and I was able to get back around Jordan to build up a gap again (his bike broke later). After this fast section, it was back into another downhill and halfway down the guys said you only have a few minutes until you finish! That was the best news I’d heard all day! When I got to the bottom there were a ton of spectators cheering me on and then I saw the finish line! I was so happy and exhausted at the same time!
Definitely the toughest race I’ve ever competed in! I’ve been racing all over for a long time and this was a race that I’m pretty pumped on finishing! I think of myself as an old school guy and don’t like giving up no matter what! Things started off pretty bad, but it’s so rewarding to finish a race like that! My fitness level has been at the highest point it’s been in a long time, but after that I felt like I was totally out of shape I’ve never been in a race where I either pushed, pulled, dragged, or ghost rode my bike that much. Then sitting there where you can barely talk because you’re so beat or just have to sit on the bike for a few minutes to take a break. It was intense and something I really enjoyed, but I wouldn’t say that during the race!