On Thursday February 9th Johnson Valley California again played host to the 2012 King Of The Hammers UTV race. Teammates, Brian Bush and co-driver Greg Frantz of Lonestar Racing, and Rotax Your Rhino set out to back up their respectable third place finish from 2011. The two we’re lucky to have drawn the #1 starting position for Thursday’s race, but that wouldn’t be enough to seal up another podium finish.
Brian took the green flag at 8:00am leaving the line next to a Polaris RZR XP 900. The two cars raced over the start/finish jump and into corner #1 of the course. Brian took the hole shot and never looked back. The two set out at a comfortable race pace as they had the advantage of a dust free race course, and there was no need to throw the race away so early in the day.
Once they were well underway, gauges were checked, race equipment was inspected, and nerves were settling. Brian describes his first feelings of the race as, “the best morning of racing I’ve ever had”
They held off race traffic until around the 35 minute mark where they were passed by the (soon to be) race winner, Mitch Guthrie. Considering their considerably fast race pace, this meant Mitch was on rails! Just after being passed, the team made a navigational error putting them in a position where they were stopped for a couple of minutes. During this time, they were passed by 3 other cars. Brian quickly got back underway and gave chase. Within minutes he had passed two of the cars who passed them while stuck. They pulled into pit #1 in third place.
After taking fuel, Brian and Greg set out through the lake bed and put the hammer down. Everything on the race car was working flawlessly as they made their way towards the most difficult rock section on the course, “Elvis”
While pulling into the area where spectators were cheering racers on, there was no explanation as to why radio transmission was informing the team that they had a broken part on the front end. At this point Brian noticed the something wasn’t right, and co-driver Greg got out of the car to assess the situation. At this point the lower control arm was in the dirt and the Rhino would no longer move under its own power. The two were able to winch the car into a better spot where other cars would be able to pass them. The towel was thrown in.
This was said by Joey DiGiovanni who was at Elvis covering the event:
“Lastly I want to tell the story of Brian Bush. “Brian B.” has been preparing his Rotax powered Rhino for battle since last years KOH race. With a little luck he drew the #1 start position for this years race putting his powerful UTV on the pole and in a prime position to make a run for the win. Brian settled into a conservative pace not wanting to risk a mechanical failure early on. After playing a little leap frog in the first 35 or so miles Bush would come into the gnarly rock section known as Elvis holding a firm 3rd place position. But as he would begin his decent a lower ball joint on the front of his UTV would give way causing a flat tire and then putting Bush wedged literally between a rock and a hard spot. Despite the efforts he and his co-dog Greg Frantz put in, Bush would be forced to throw in the towel and call it a day leaving his Rhino to plug the “easy” route down Elvis. This is where the story gets good. Instead of pulling up a rock and simply becoming a spectator Bush would roll up his sleeves and go to work helping every competitor behind him who needed a hand getting down the most difficult trail of the race. He spotted, pulled winch cable, pushed, lifted, moved rocks, laughed and encouraged all in the name of sportsmanship. It was awesome to see him become his competitor’s biggest cheerleader as they were all forced to create alternative lines to make their way out of this canyon of carnage! It would end up taking a real rock buggy to come into the canyon and pull his Rhino out from within the rocks grasp.”
“Thanks for the kind words from all of our competitors, and spectators coining me the sportsman of the event. I’m a racer through and through, and I absolutely love everything about racing. We all have our good days, as well as the bad. Why would I sit around and feel sorry for myself while I could still be part of the race and help others out. Remember, at KOH, no outside assistance is allowed except from other racers. While I’m sorry for creating the unfavorable conditions at Elvis, I was happy to have been able to help the other racers get through it”
Stay tuned for an exciting announcement as Brian will announce a new race car build and scheduled racing events for 2012!
Brian would like to thank these people for their efforts. In no particular order:
Greg Frantz, Devin Murphy, Blake Rennie, Bob Nolan, Brent Macias, Branden Sims, Daniel Wilsford, Mitch Moody, Josh Hounslow, Stacey Jordan, Kyle and Michelle Hill, Joey DiGiovanni, William Baptist, Daniel Fernandez, and anyone else who offered support for this race.
Special thanks to Pit Bull Tires, and SXS Performance for sponsoring this years King Of The Hammers UTV race, and The International SXS Association for sanctioning the event!
- Freedom RV
- UTV Forums Network
- WickedBilt UTV
- Unique Metal Products
- Rigid Industries
- TCP Performance
- PRP Seats
- HJC Helmets
- PCI Race Radios
- Muzzys Performance
- Rotax Your Rhino
- DragonFire Racing
- Pitbull Tires
- Lonestar Racing