February 11, 2012 (Johnson Valley, CA) – On Saturday at at 2:03 p.m., Erik Miller crossed the finish line to be crowned the 2012 King of the Hammers. Considered the toughest one day off-road race, Miller beat out 134 competitors to win the coveted title and $25,000 prize purse.
“There are one thousand opportunities to make mistakes out there,” Erik Miller explained at the finish line, “and we just try to make as few as possible.” The humble Miller was describing the secret to his success at the 2012 Griffin King of the Hammers, where he finished the grueling 165-mile race in six hours and three minutes. “I could not have done this without the help of my friends. We have been in Johnson Valley for the past twelve days getting ready for this race,” the Maryland resident explained. Miller is no stranger to success; he was the 2010 International Endurance Champion and came in fifth at last year’s Griffin King of the Hammers. “I added Fox bypass shocks this year and they really helped me carry speed through the desert,” Miller revealed. He is the first East Coast competitor to win the prestigious title in the event’s six year history.
Finishing second was Rick Mooneyham of Trick Toys Fabrication, thirteen minutes behind Miller. “I just can’t seem to get this monkey off my back.” Mooneyham joked. The Havasu City, Arizona resident placed third in ’08 and ’09 and fourth in ’10, making him one of the most consistent Ultra4 racers of all time. Mooneyham qualified first in the 4Wheel Parts Time Trials, putting him first off the line. He was near the front of the pack for the entire race, but the two-lap format meant the frontrunner had to deal with traffic in the infamous Hammer trails regardless of starting position.
Third place went to last year’s King Shannon Campbell in his single-seat IFS buggy. Campbell overcame issues throughout the day and at one point was as far back as thirtieth, but he never gave up and finished in six hours and thirty three minutes. Like Mooneyham, Campbell drove a vehicle he fabricated himself. “I guess I am going to have to build something new for next year,” Campbell quipped. He is the only driver to have won two King of the Hammers and was the 2011 Ultra4 Series Champion.
This year, the crowd far exceeded expectations. Significant additions were made to the makeshift village known as “Hammertown” including a new short course and hot pit area. In an effort to increase safety and expand the race day experience for spectators, the promoters built a cutting-edge wireless camera to microwave system across the vast course to bring true live coverage to the fans in camp via jumbtron and a nine and a half hour webcast to fans across the country and globe.
About Griffin King of the Hammers:
Griffin King of the Hammers combines the multiple off-road disciplines of desert racing, rockcrawling, and short course into one event.
The race has evolved from twelve teams racing for bragging rights to more than 170 teams competing before tens of thousands of live spectators and
hundreds of thousands of online fans. Griffin King of the Hammers is the first event of the Ultra4 series, which takes place throughout the course of the year at locations across the country. The event is owned and managed by Hammerking Productions in Lake Arrowhead, CA. To learn more, log on to www.ultra4racing.com.