The 2017 King of Hammers has come to a close and this year is one that will be remembered for quite some time. Not only was it a record turnout as far as the spectators in attendance, but also for the number of competitors. It was a stacked field with some of the biggest names in the Ultra4 racing world such as Loren Healy, Jason Scherer, Shannon Campbell, and last year’s winner Erik Miller. After the long and grueling race, it was the father and son duo, Shannon and Wayland Campbell, who crossed the finish line in first and second place.
This year the vehicles were better than ever and that translated into a lightning fast pace right from the get go. Normally the KOH is an 180+ mile endurance race and teams have to strategically drive in order to finish the race without breaking their rigs. However, this year it seemed as if it was just balls to the wall from the second Erik Miller and Jason Scherer left the starting line just after 8 a.m. Every 30 seconds for the next half hour another two competitors blitzed off the starting line. In all, a total of 122 teams started the race, but only 50 managed to finish within the 14-hour time limit. Unfortunately Vaughn Gittin Jr. in his Brocky Ultra4 Bronco was one of those who didn’t finish.
For the first 100 miles of the race, Tom Waynes and his Icon buggy absolutely dominated the field. Jason Scherer told reporters after the race “Tom Wayes is in a league of his own. At one point he was eight minutes ahead of us, and I was like I don’t even know where there is eight minutes to pick up on this course.” However, Wayes suffered a critical driveline failure that forced him to withdraw from the race.
Shannon Campbell lost his front driver’s side tire in the last leg of the race and things looked grim for a brief moment. However, he managed to keep his foot on the floor long enough to cross the finish line is style with a little three wheel action. Racing in his unique looking Monster Energy buggy, he claimed the victory with a time of 6 hours, 46 minutes, and 4 seconds. This was Shannon’s third time being crowned King of the event, the first to do so.
Coming across the line just 28 seconds later was his son Wayland who drives a buggy just like his dad. This was the first time that father and son team had finished in the top two spots. Wrapping up the podium was Jason Scherer who finished with a time of 6:49:08, over three minutes behind Shannon. However, as a point of comparison to how fast the pace was for the top three, Erik Miller, last year’s winner, finished in fourth place with a time of 7:14:13, a full 25 minutes later.