Day -133 – A Look Back at KOH

kohThe earth moves on the lakebed like nothing you’ve seen, in my mind it compares to a sand storm in the Sahara or a snow storm in the rockies, low visibility, abrasion, all in all, not so much fun.  But that’s what you can expect when you spend ten days on a dry lakebed in February.  For the uninitiated, KOH stands for King of the Hammers, it is a halo offroad happening each year in Southern California.  At one time it was an event, in current time it is bigger than that, I heard it compared to Burning Man for gearheads.

Last Friday was the eighth running of KOH, it started as a simple event, thirteen guys running for a case of beer, it has evolved in to a multiple race event covering almost an entire week.  Tens of thousands of people make the pilgrimage to take part in what is billed as the “toughest one-day off road race in the country.”  If the attrition rate is the measure, that is sure to be true.

Throughout the year, we host events all over the US to prepare competitors and their teams for this day, some years we are more successful than others.  I am proud of our Dirt Riot competitors and their accomplishments, while I would love to take credit for their efforts, the truth is it takes tenacity, hard work, perseverance, talent and sometimes, just pure luck to get through race day.

These are the folks who make every day a pleasure, who provide us with a lifestyle we love and who live their passions.  Not everyone made the podium, not everyone made the finish line, hell, not all of them made the start line, but they made us proud and they represented us well – whether that was their intention or not, we appreciate them.  Thank you to all.

The week started with the King of the Motos, not many racers or rockcrawlers participate here, it is an entirely different group of athletes that challenge the rocks on their bikes, but a shout out is well deserved to Craig Thompson, former competitive rockcrawler.

The UTV race was up next, the best finish came from Matt Enochs, in fourth place.  Matt was the 2012 UTV National Champion at Bridgeport, Texas.  Finishing seventh was Wesley Gryner, winner of two Central series events in 2013 in the UTV class of Dirt Riot.  Other competitors from Dirt Riot included Dean Bulloch, Chris Barnett, Brian Bush, Cody Nygren, Rob Usnick, Darryl Dunlap, Lindsay Syler, and Terry Kenyon. 

The next race of note was the Every Man Challenge, there were several races within the race in numerous classes on this day, we were represented in all of them.  In the 4500 class, champion rockcrawler Team Superchips Aaron Sykes placed sixth; eighth was Paul Bickerton, tenth was Alan Johnson from Letzroll, twelfth Jesse Bayne, thirteenth Jay Callaway, other competitors included Shawn Rants, WE Rock Unlimited Champion Justin Hall, Broadsword Racing’s Adam Arsenault, Daniel Sach from Olympus Offroad and rockcrawler Jeremy Eaton from Washington.

The 4600 class was represented by Matt Salyers, another member of the Letzroll team finishing ninth and Jason Kaminsky in his Superchips LJ finishing 10th.  Other Dirt Riot competitors were Victor Buness, Matt Peterson and Mike VanZyl.

The Spec class included former champion rockcrawler and former King Shannon Campbell.

The Legends class saw Brad Lovell placing first, with Matt Messer in the second place position, both are competitive rockcrawlers, Matt still competes in the unlimited class, Brad races the Moab Dirt Riot race, winning that in 2012.

And then there was the big race, Friday’s race determined who was the King…for a second time, Loren Healy won the event.  I would love to claim Loren as ours, but honestly, he was already King before he started racing with us.  We are still very proud.   Lots of other names make that very proud list, of the 154 cars that started the race, only 32 finished.  Finishers that have competed with us and hold that special place in our hearts:  Bill Baird, current National Finals champion finished third; Derek West, second place National Finals champion finished fifth; Rick Mooneyham, sixth, Andrew McLaughlin, 2013 third place National Series points, tenth; Roger Lovell, twelfth; Travis Cook, thirteenth; Wayland Campbell fifteenth; Dave Ashman, eighteenth; Brian Shirley, 2013 National Series points champion, twentieth; Levi Shirley, 2013 Runner-up National Series points champion, 21st; Hunter Sparrow, 23rd; Jason O’Neal, 29th

Others who competed and deserve a great round of applause and our respect; Spencer Murphy, Chris Hoyt, Randy Rodd, Airen Patrick, Matt Lee, Jeff McCullough, Kenneth Goodall, Jesse Haines, Dustin Isenhour, Adam Macke, Masa Tsuda, Kenny Blume, Billy Briney, Chicky Barton, Clay Gilstrap, Matt Burkett, Jeremy Hammer, Jonathan Terhune, Matt Nieman, Chris Sommer, Adam Carter, Dustin Sexton, Carl Langerhans, Shelby Gilstrap, the other Matt Peterson, Mike Nappi, Chip MacLaughlin, Greg Lundeen, Aaron Peters, Travis Leach, Peter Basler, Ben Swain, Tony Arledge, Jeremy Dickenson, Chad Wheeler, and Mike Klensin,  Congratulations to you all, each of you has a story to tell about your journey to KOH and the heartbreak that befell you there, be proud, we certainly are.

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