If you follow the world of off-road racing, you know one of the biggest and fastes- growing races of the season is King of the Hammers. It has doubled in size from last year and more than tripled from its conception just a couple of years ago. I headed to Johnson Valley, California, to check out this year's big race and to forage on the trails with the 30,000 spectators as we watched the final race for the 2010 title.

I arrived at the makeshift city of HammerTown, filled with RVs and toy haulers, before dawn to catch the final qualifiers at the starting line. The sun was peeking over the eastern San Bernardino mountain ridge and the tent city came alive as the spectators started their rigs and off-road vehicles for a day of chasing the race vehicles. Being a spectator is a sport all its own. You need the right vehicle and the ability to drive the trails and hillsides to watch the race without getting in the way.

The 135-mile King of the Hammers course challenged the will of drivers and the ability of UTVs. Jason Scherer the 2009 King, Shannon Campbell, Casey Currie, Rob MacCachren, and Rick D Johnson were some of the biggest names to follow from the sidelines. These drivers had to overcome some of the most grueling obstacles that quickly changed the leader boards throughout the day. Rick Johnson had a huge lead in the beginning of the race as he made his way through the Backdoor, but soon found himself fighting steering and axle shaft problems. Shannon Campbell had to battle an overheating tranny, and Rob MacCachren's motor blew and wasn't able to finish the race at all. Many of the drivers fell behind due to rollovers and mechanical problems. Out of 100 competitors who started the race, only 43 finished. It's a true test of man and machine. The race zig-zagged through Crowbar, up Resolutions, down the Backdoor, across the dry lakebeds, up and down the Outlimits, Hell's Gate, and Wrecking Ball just to name a few trails. (Click here to view the full race map). The contest went on into the night, until the last able-bodied vehicle crossed the finish line.

Loren Healy took the win and the coveted scepter as 2010 Griffin King of the Hammers title. Two days before the big race, Healy finished fifth place at 14:18 in 2010 4 Wheel Parts Last Chance Qualifier Race. The top 21 winners got the chance to run in the big one. Healy and his co-driver Rodney Woodey started the King of the Hammers race in the 53rd position. It took them six hours/57 minutes/53 seconds to conquer the 135-mile loop course in. Brad Lovell, who started the race in the second position, also finished in second place, only 28 seconds behind Healy.

When the race was over, the residents of Hammertown celebrated another great day of rock crawling and racing with a huge party. As for me, I headed back home. Weaving back to the main highway in pitch-black darkness was a whole other adventure of its own.


2010 Griffin King of the Hammers Final Race Results
FINISHING POSITIONCAR #DRIVER NAMETOTAL TIME
1667 Loren Healy 6:57:53
2 232 Brad Lovell 6:58:21
3 4420 Derek West 7:00:03
4 554 Rick Mooneyham 7:05:58
5 921 Erik Miller 7:16:05
6 427 John Reynolds 7:32:00
7 4417 Buzz Bronsema 7:40:38
8 8 Rob McKenney 7:47:21
9 17 Matt Messer 8:01:09
10 4444 Jason Pickett 8:03:24
11 4466 J.R. Van Ortwick 8:06:49
12 444 Gary Ferravonti 8:36:38
13 34 Kevin Yoder 8:39:08
14 805 Tony Pellegrino 8:39:22
15 321 Tom Wayes 8:43:17
16 4411 Dean Bulloch 8:46:57
17 4488 Brandon Watson 8:47:39
18 76 Jason Scherer 8:53:57
19 5 Shannon Campbell 8:55:46
20 284 Jack Adams 8:57:54
21 101 Adam Woodlee 8:58:59
22 28 John James 9:31:30
23 816 Lucas Murphy 9:44:00
24 4433 Adam Carter 9:54:42
25 212 Matt Peterson 10:00:02
26 4435 Kevin Sacalas 10:22:39
27 202 Ritchie Keller 10:35:16
28 10 Hobie Smith 10:36:46
29 814 Nicole Johnson 10:43:05
30 4422 Todd McCullen 11:29:44
31 4413 Doug Bigelow 11:31:12
32 3 Rich Klein 12:17:45
33 97 David Schneider 12:22:45
34 4450 Greg Hussey 12:24:15
35 20 Brett Porter 12:26:03
362713 Ralf Kuller 12:31:56
37 51 Naozumi Tsuda 12:36:13
38 1224 Wayne Israelsen 12:38:25
39 204 Michael Colville 13:00:29
40 4407 Jon Goodman 13:04:18
41 77 Jeff Mello 13:07:19
42 1006 Derek Summers 13:10:04
43 4452 Barry Beadle 13:27:45

Read some firsthand accounts from Team Marlin Crawler and Gipson Racing. Their stories tell more than what we saw.

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