With a statement-making performance, Can-Am racer and rock-crawling rookie Hunter Miller won the 2020 Can-Am UTV King of the Hammers race Sunday in Johnson Valley, CA.
Can-Am drivers Kyle Chaney and Phil Blurton rounded out the podium to complete the historic all-Can-Am podium sweep, and Can-Am drivers took four of the top five spots and eight of the top 10.
“It’s the absolute hardest race I’ve ever done in my entire life,” said Miller. “I’ve been racing for 25 years now, and I’ve never experienced anything like this. Next to the day my wife said ‘yes,’ this is the best day of my life.”
Miller, whose resume includes a GNCC UTV Championship with Can-Am, was solid from the start, earning the second qualifying spot behind his younger brother and eventual ninth-place finisher, Cody Miller. He faced stiff competition from Can-Am teammates Chaney and Blurton, but remained poised under pressure, trusting his Can-Am Maverick X3 X rc Turbo RR and co-driver Chad Hughes to carry him to the finish line.
“I could go fast in the desert because I have an awesome car setup,” said Miller. “My Can-Am X3 was flawless the whole day. We got to the rocks, which were not my strong suit, and Chad Hughes guided me through it—I couldn’t have done it without him.”
Between Miller, Chaney and Blurton, all three Can-Am Maverick X3 racers held the lead at one point during the race, but it was Miller who led when it counted most. Chaney and Miller vied for the lead at one point, but Chaney said he misread the course in the dust, and it set him back. It also gave Miller a sizeable time cushion from which to work.
“We caught up to Hunter in the lakebed and I thought the trail went right behind him. I was in the dust and I went off of a cliff, and it rolled,” said Chaney, who pushed on to the finish after turning his car back over. “I told people I wouldn’t be happy unless I won, but I’m just as excited for Hunter to win, and I’ll take second place any day from what we went through.”
Blurton, who is a multi-time desert-racing champion and has placed in the top 10 at King of the Hammers the previous two years, had another strong showing in his No Limit RD-built Can-Am. His third-place finish was a career best at the race, and it secured the podium sweep for Can-Am.
Can-Am racers took full advantage of the Can-Am Maverick X3 vehicle’s impressive performance and supreme handling to dominate the 2020 event. Nathan Wolff earned fifth place, and recent 2020 Dakar SSV champion Casey Currie was seventh, while Jason Weller was eighth, and Nicholas Turner shortly behind to round out the top ten. Only 33 of 131 entries completed the 143-mile course that included a 77-mile desert loop with high-speed lakebeds with tight, twisty ridgelines and numerous rock-strewn chutes and nerve-wracking challenges.
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