Branden Sims #1913 KOH Race Report/Recap
Well as I type this reality has set back in and I am no longer in Johnson Valley enjoying my favorite event of the year “King of the Hammers”. After a long work week of being behind from missing a week of work I am finally able to get everyone a race report/re-cap of the Pro Utv #1913 of Branden Sims. I already wish that KOH was only a week away, I absolutely love it there.
I will begin with letting everyone know that I received my brand new Polaris Xp1000 on Christmas Eve. At that point that gave me about a month to build a full KOH/BITD car. Not only is that a lot of work, but all the work was to be done by me after I finished my normal 8-6 day job. With the help of a few friends and a lot of super late nights here at the shop I was able to next day air some parts for the weekend before the race and “finish” it up to race KOH.
We arrived to Hammer Town on Monday late afternoon and rushed to registration to make sure we could qualify on Tuesday morning. I arrived to Hammer Town with exactly 1 mile on my new Polaris Xp1000. We woke up early Tuesday morning and got ready to qualify. I went into qualifying with the mentality of qualifying near the top. I ran the qualifying lap I thought pretty conservatively, but apparently not, seeing that I caught the car that started before me and I had to pass on my qualifying lap. When qualifying was all said and done I ended up on the pole starting KOH 2014 in the front of the pack.
Race day started out beautiful and I was excited to be starting in the front of the pack. Green flag dropped and as much as I knew not to head for King Hill, I headed for King Hill. The Arctic Cat that started next me took the right route and passed me. I dipped in behind him and followed him over Short Bus and out towards the first dry lake bed. I saw an opportunity to regain the lead and took it. I entered the first lake bed at around 76mph through the whoops and my Fox Internal Bypass shocks instantly amazed me. I set my own pace not knowing what everyone else was running. Around race mile 30ish I think Blake in the Jagged X car pulled up next to me and drove right on by. At that moment I looked back and realized my spare tire had come un-strapped and was literally bouncing around in the bed of my car. I raced with Blake for a couple miles switching positions back and forth and decided to back down until either the tire flew out or we reached the first remote pit. Shortly after being passed by Blake I noticed Guthrie had pulled up aside me and also drove by me. At the first remote pit I pulled in and had them yank the spare out. After that it was back on to try and regain some time.
Not long after remote pit 1 I found Van De Loo pulled over and not moving. At that point it was time to hammer down and try to catch Guthrie. First main obstacle that I came to was “Sand Hill” and not knowing which way Guthrie went I decided to go the main route which was the most difficult, but the quickest. As we came over the ridge to get to “Sand Hill” I saw the media crews all over it. We gave it a go and didn’t want to push it to hard so ended up backing a little bit on the first shot. Put the car back in low and hammered it right up. From that point until main pit there were no problems. Got to main pit and saw Guthrie being worked on. Pulled in for some fuel and realized that my tire that had been bouncing around in the back had thrashed my air box and dust was able to enter as it pleased. A pit crew nearby ran up with Duct Tape and helped cover the cracks and broken spots as well as they could. I told them that I wanted to get out ahead of Guthrie and we left. From main pit to the first trail “Aftershock” we had 0 problems. We entered Aftershock and decided to take the off camber bypass. Halfway through the bypass I ran out of talent and hit a rock that was sticking out of the off camber wall and it flipped me right on my side.
At that point I told myself wow we were doing great and now the race is over. I ripped my helmet off, unbuckled, and made sure to whack my head on the roof of my cage in the utter panic you forget the small things like un-strapping and hitting your head. While being upside down we were passed and no longer were in first position. I climbed out to asses the situation. My co-driver and i tried lifting the car up the off camber hill and didn’t even budge it. I un-spooled the winch and wrapped it through my 2 tires that were up in the air and to a rock. We started winching and the car started rolling back onto its tires. At that point I figured we still had a chance! The car landed back on its tires and we hopped in and took off. Guthrie had caught me by this point and 3 of the top cars were traversing the rocks together. We caught back up to the front running car and it looked to have a broken axle or something. We struggled to pass them in the canyon, but made it by them. From that point we ran all the trails with Guthrie on our tail. We started catching the Sportsman class cars that got to skip 19/20 and that made for some interesting racing. We had to make some risky maneuvers to get ahead of the front sportsman car right before Chocolate Thunder. We drove right through Chocolate Thunder without a problem and from that point on it was all uncharted territory for me.
I had never had the opportunity to pre run this race coarse and I had never made it past Chocolate Thunder in any of my previous races. I had to guess my routes through each trail after Chocolate Thunder. We made it into Claw Hammer running in first place. I took a route where I got jammed in real hard and at that point Guthrie made up some time picked a better route and drove right past me. Once I winched out of that jam I tried to play catch up with Guthrie for the rest of the race. We had no other issues, but couldn’t gain the time I lost on Guthrie. The battle to the finish was great and I was psyched to be rolling into the finish line of KOH after trying for 3 years. As we went through the finish line I told my Co-driver that we were going to bicycle it through which we proceeded to do. Once we finished we got to pull up on the box and had every emotion pumping through my body. What a fantastic feeling it is to finish the “King of the Hammers”
I want to say thank you to all the sponsors that make this possible for me: My fathers shop “Northern Arizona Auto & Off Road”, Lone Star Racing for the suspension, ITP for the fantastic tires and wheels, Beard seats and harnesses, Fox Racing Shocks, Factory Utv for the skids, Star Island Motor sports for getting me the Rzr and all the parts I need, and Rigid Industries for all my lighting needs. With out these people and their companies I wouldn’t be able to chase my dreams and my passion for racing. I also want to thank Joey D and all of UTVUNDERGROUND for the fantastic coverage and everything they do to help me get the exposure I need to get my name out there and gain more sponsors!!! Next stop TEAM POLARIS race team!!!!
#1913 Pro UTV