For an amazing fourth time in a row, Kyle Chaney (#191) took the overall victory at the Can-Am UTV Hammers Championship. He battled over 130 competitors, the challenging and varied terrain of Johnson Valley, and even the elements to cross the checkered flag first. The historic victory makes him the only 2024 Progressive King of the Hammers Presented by Nitto and Powered by OPTIMA Batteries competitor ever to four-peat standing on the top spot of the podium.
Photography by Paolo Baraldi, Story by KOH
Chaney started from the pole and immediately set a blistering pace through the 72 miles of fast desert terrain on the opening lap. By the middle of the first lap, he had built a sizeable gap on the rest of the field with no one visible running in his dust. After a quick pit stop for two front tires and fuel, Chaney and his Can-Am Maverick R were still in the lead heading into the second lap, which consisted of the infamous rocks of Johnson Valley. He quickly worked his way through some of the most technical trails on the planet, only stopping to change a flat tire at the bottom of Jackhammer. Not even an afternoon downpour of rain or a slow puncture late in the race would slow Chaney’s dominating charge to the finish line.
“We definitely earned this one. I have to give it up to Can-Am and my team. This car was awesome the whole time,” said Chaney after claiming the overall and 4900 Can-Am Pro Mod UTV class wins. “I have to give it up to my co-driver Cash, too. We lost comms right before the rocks, so he was telling me where to go with hand signals. It started raining and getting slick out there. Dave Cole made us a tough, fun course and the weather made it a challenge.”
Raging behind Chaney for the entire Can-Am UTV Hammers Championship race was an epic battle for second between CJ Greaves (#33), Philip Blurton (#944), Brock Heger (#1896) and Mitch Guthrie Jr. (#51). The first three racers of the bunch ran within seconds of each other for most of the race, passing each other multiple times for the position, until Guthrie shot ahead. A pivotal moment came when Greaves, running in second, had to stop to winch his way over a rock obstacle on Chocolate Thunder.
Blurton and Heger immediately stacked up behind Greaves, with all three trying to winch their way off the rocks first. The incident didn’t change the running order, but it did allow Chaney, who had blown through the trail without issue, to expand his lead further. Ultimately, Guthrie and Blurton both got around Greaves, taking second and third places, respectively.
Mitch Guthrie Jr. said regarding his second place finish; “It was a lot of fun and I am happy to get to the finish. We gave it our all. It was a super clean day for us. We never got out of the car and didn’t have to winch once so we just kept it moving.”
Blurton’s third-place overall finish was impressive, considering he competed in the more restricted 4900 Can-Am Pro Mod UTV class. “A mile into the race, I had my visor up, and we barrel-rolled the car, and I got a face full of dirt. We landed on all fours and never let off and kept going,” said Blurton. “These Can-Ams are phenomenal. It sounds like Kyle got first in the new car, and we got third in the X3. It is just crazy from what we were doing five years ago until now. You don’t even have to back up now with these cars. You just hold it to the floor and go.”
Brock Heger (#1896) in 4900 Can-Am Pro Stock Turbo UTV and Zack Szymik (#777) in 4900 Can-Am Sportsman Stock UTV rounded out the class wins.
Making its debut at the 2024 Can-Am UTV Hammers Championship was the 4900 Can-Am Futures Youth 1000cc UTV class. The innovative class lets racers under the age of 17 compete on the first lap of the course paired with an adult co-driver. Dylan Trent won the debut race, which aims to create future generations of King of the Hammers competitors.