Hubert raced the first ever RZR Buggy built by Wide Open Design and complete the course. Read his whole story below.

So with last year being my first King of the Hammers and first time riding in the desert at all, I learned a lot. We timed out by a long ways and at times thought “this is pretty dumb.” But once a racer, always a racer.

Now I know my place and know I’m not a front runner. But I know I can finish. So for the 2019 KOH, my goal was to finish within time. But then again coming from Nitro Circus, finishing is a given. So I had that in my head. But I don’t see the rest of the nitro crew out trying KOH. Maybe with good reason. 

So by learning a lot for 2018, I wanted to build a rock crawler RZR for 2019. I took a wrecked RZR Turbo and asked my friend Adam Woodlee at Wide Open Design in Murfreesboro Tennessee if they could build such a thing. 
They are very well known for building high end v8 rock crawlers, rock bouncers, and ultra 4 machines. So for them to build a scaled down RZR version was no problem. RZR bouncers are very common here in the southeast where I am from. 

So with Adam pumped and agreeing to help me with the chassis and body end of the build, we planned it out and drew the full machine in CAD. 
The advantages we planned with the chassis were:

  • Boat bottom sloped sides 
  • Wheel base change
  • Lower seating
  • Fuel tank toward the front
  • Stronger tubing and mounting

Then I needed a co driver.

So a friend from the south east Wes King was coming out to race the hill climb shootout and he mentioned he would be pumped to co drive. He was advised by Wide Open Design. He’s one of the best hill climb guys in the south east so he would be great help in the rock sections. 

Race day came and we took off 2 at a time every 30 seconds. We grabbed the hole shot and took off for the lake bed.  Made some passes feeling awesome across the desert. Then it happened. We blew a belt 10 miles in which is unheard of for me. I have machines with 7000 miles on the original belt and raced the full desert series in 2018 on 2 belts.

We got to pit one, took on fuel and took on a steady pace. Made a couple passes. Co driver Wes was amazed at the scenery and the grave yard of broken utvs throughout the course. 

He then understood why I was driving a little more cautious. Race to finish and we were a long ways from anything. 

We worked our way through lap 1 and crossed the desert to the rock side of the desert where we came down chocolate thunder and went up jack north. This is where the new RZR crawler shined. We came up on some traffic jams, but with Wes spotting great lines we drove right around them. The system3 xcr350 tire’s loved the rocks, gripping and ripping the whole time. The Superatv suspension and axles never gave an inch.

We made it around the desert to pit 2b, our last pit. With the help from Wes’ buddy Kelly and the guys at jagged x, we took on fuel for the last time and a couple spare belts. We had blown 4 at this point. It was due to vent tube collapsing so the belt couldn’t get enough air. 

We pulled the cover off and took off toward outer limits. When we got into the canyon, we had 2.5 hours until cut off time. My goal was to be done before dark.

We were making it fine with a steady pace until we got to the last turn and roughest part. And the shit hit the fan.

With broken people in the main line, we tried to winch up a ledge but broke the winch rope. The clutch over heated and locked up the bearing which wouldn’t let it shift. I then weakened the shift cable. Wes did an amazing job at winch spots and solely got us through this section. Note to self we need lower low gear.

With 45 mins to make it down spooners and 30 mins across the desert to the finish, time was getting slim. We swung through the last pit and grabbed a spare belt from buddy James Hill and Img Motorsports and we took off down spooners. Then we tipped on our side. A bad line choice by me. While winching back over, we were passed by Sarah Price and Erica Sacks. Which kind of made me feel better that they qualified 8th. And knowing we were beating others that qualified way better and that were way faster than us. It just made it feel like we weren’t doing that bad.

So we got our RZR turn back on it’s wheels and continued toward the finish. And wow they made us go the long way around. Seeing Hammer Town to the left, it was hard to not just make a b-line straight there. But we followed the LeadNav GPS line and took the long way. We made it across the finish 1 hour after the cut off time and shook hands with hammers organizer Dave Cole. We pulled on stage to where they were watching the super bowl on the big screen. I still have no clue who was playing, who won, or where it was at. All I knew was in a month, a goal of building a RZR crawler, racing King of the Hammers, and finishing the hardest 1 day race in the country was now a reality.

It all came together 100% because of great people with great skills. All having the same mindset of failure is not an option. 

Thanks to all involved and that cheered us on. 

Wide Open Design 
Polaris Rzr 
Queen Racing 
Dragonfire Racing
A D Triple S motorsports 
Graffic Effex 
MBRP Powersports 
BCC skids 
Nitro Circus 
Ulterra camo
Factor 55
Utv wiring

- Hubert Rowland