If King of the Hammers were a Jeopardy game show question surly the answer would be - what is Thor? Mjolnir is the hammer weapon of choice for superhero Thor. And, if it is indeed made of a star, as the legend holds, it would weigh as much as 300 billion elephants. Astrophysicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson, took the time to cipher up an answer to that truly perplexing, albeit fictional, scientific question. Yet even the wrath of Thor and all the might of his pachyderm dense star-hammer couldn't have battled any tougher, or more successfully, than Jon Crowley and his UTVGuide.net team in the genuine 2013 King of the Hammers.
Jon Crowley's King of the Hammers co-pilot/winch operator was Blake Van de Loo.
The 2013 King of the Hammers lived up to its billing as toughest one-day off-road race on the planet.
The founders of Hammerking Productions are the force behind King of the Hammers, billed as the toughest one-day off-road race on the planet. King of the Hammers takes place each year in February, on public lands in Johnson Valley, California. Over the years the race has evolved from 12 teams racing for bragging rights and a case of beer, to more than 150 teams competing before thousands of zealous fans, both live and online.
The faintly sadistic folks of Hammerking have also established a racing class known as the Ultra4 class. The defining characteristic of this class is that all cars must be capable of 4-wheel drive. Beyond that, the class is unlimited, meaning these cars come in all shapes and sizes, and are capable of speeds over 100 miles-per-hour. However, they still include gear ratios as low as 100-to-1, in order to even have a chance at negotiating the insanely sick technical rock crawling sections that have become such fan favs.
"The road to the 2013 HCR King of the Hammers UTV Race was a tough journey for me," Crowley remarked. "Although this was my 5th year racing, I have struggled most years and have questioned my sanity many times for coming back to race year after year. The first four years of the UTV race were more like a desert sprint with a few rock obstacles sprinkled in. This year rumors flew all over cyberspace that King of the Hammers organizer Dave Cole was going to step up the game. Those rumors proved to be oh so true and much more."
Crowley and Van de Loo finished only 16 seconds behind the leader at the HCR King of the Hammers Race
We had the opportunity to speak with Mitch Guthrie earlier, so it will be great to get your perspective on the battle you guys shared. How tough is it to get your mind around finishing only 16 seconds behind him?
"If I had to finish 2nd place to anyone, Mitch is the guy. It's very tough knowing though that after almost 8 hours of racing, we were only 16 seconds behind. You second guess the whole race for days afterwards, wondering how different decisions along the course would have changed the outcome, but that is racing."
Care to give a shout-out to your co-pilot/winch operator during the race?
"My co-dog for King of the Hammers was Blake Van de Loo. We had never raced together, but we worked very well together. He is super experienced in the rocks and with the Polaris RZR XP, so I don't think I could have asked for anyone better."
What in your opinion took a bigger hit in this race, your vehicle, or you body and mind?
"I was absolutely spent at the end of the race, mentally and physically. Making sure I took care of the car was paramount to finishing the race. The course was absolutely brutal and it did take its toll on the car, but the RZR XP is a great platform for this format."
What are your thoughts about returning to the King of the Hammers event next year, and how do you plan to stay busy for the rest of the season?
"I am not sure if I will return to King of the Hammers next year. I have raced every year in the UTV class and it takes a huge commitment. It is one of those races that is hard to stay away from though, so I wouldn't count me out. I do race some local short course and possibly some desert races with VORRA in Northern California and Nevada."
More K&N off-road desert racing and rock crawling news can be found in XRRA Rock Racers Prep for King of the Hammers Race with new Fabtech Rig, Guthrie Racing's Father and Son Team Win the 2013 King of the Hammers UTV Title and Carnage at King of the Hammers Extreme Desert Race and Rock Crawl.
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