The Mojave desert ain’t nuttin to mess with. Intense UV radiation, gale-force winds, 120+ degree summers, but ironically well-below freezing last night. In other words, it’s an off-road enthusiast’s paradise, a Martian terrascape resplendent in blasted rock, jagged peaks, and tight boulder-filled canyons. Quite simply, this is a place that breaks humans and machines of every stripe.
That’s why Motorcyle.com and our sister publication DirtBikes.com have picked it for the off-road testing portion of an upcoming competition-class Dual Purpose comparo. But that test will require some additional riding days and a few more crashes before DirtBikes.com Editor-in-Chief Scott Rousseau and I have enough data to draw meaningful conclusions about our 2014 KTM 500 EXC and Beta 520 RS test bikes.
This story, however, is about the 2014 King of the Motos (KOM) presented by Trail Tech. It’s widely considered to be the toughest extreme enduro race in the United States. The event combines high-speed open desert racing with the punishing rock climbs and descents the Mojave’s “Hammers” trails are known for. This year marks the third edition of the Motos race which is kicking off an entire week known as the Griffin King of the Hammers presented by Nitto.
This weekend’s King of the Motos format began with Saturday’s qualifying runs which were conducted on a short course that began and ended in Hammertown (the massive Burning Man-like mid-desert tent and RV city that springs-up for the King of the Hammers week).
Sunday’s race format was divided into a two-part event.
The Motorcycle Races
Reigning 2013 KOM champ, Cody Webb, returned to the Mojave Desert this year and immediately picked up where he left off, hustling to the fastest time on Saturday’s short-course qualifying loop.
On Sunday morning, American Beta factory rider and pole sitter Webb stormed off the line for the 30.87 mile A.M. loop, but was only able to score a second-place finish, one minute and 27 seconds behind factory KTM rider Taylor Robert.
Following a short reset period, the 50 riders who finished the A.M. loop within the allotted time all lined-up on a deep sandy ridge for a classic land-rush start that immediately funneled down into a bike-eating canyon named Chocolate Thunder.
Watsonville, CA resident Webb once again blasted off into an impressive early lead, surviving the absolute carnage that marked the first 100 yards of the P.M. race. And while the rest of the field fell in front of, on top of, or beside each other, the 25-year-old San Jose State University Mechanical Engineering student and three-time X Games medalist simply vanished into the distance. Webb had already cleared the next section, prior to the second rider escaping from the rocky, sandy, body- and bike-strewn start chute.
Over the next 32.69 miles of the toughest and most technical terrain in desert racing (AKA: the rock-filled stuff of your two-wheeled nightmares) plus a few open 90+ mph desert flats, Cody Webb extended his advantage, eventually finishing the P.M. Loop three minutes and 45 seconds ahead of Taylor Robert and winning the 2014 King of the Motos presented by Trail Tech with a total combined time of 02:38:01. His final margin of victory totaled two minutes and 18 seconds ahead of Robert and over nine minutes ahead of third place finisher and 2012 KOM champion, Graham Jarvis.
* Three Classes – Pro, Sportsman, Team
* 97 riders including six two-person teams
* Saturday – Qualifying
* Sunday – 2 Races (both GNARLY!)
– Morning Loop – mostly high speed desert with a few steep technical sections
– Afternoon Loop – mostly extremely technical and rocky terrain
King of the Motos Results
|Pos.||Rider||A.M. Time||P.M. Time||Final Combined|
|1||Cody Webb (Beta)||57:35||1:40:26||2:38:01|
|2||Taylor Robert (KTM)||56:08||1:44:11||2:40:19|
|3||Graham Jarvis (Hus)||1:02:43||1:44:36||2:47:19|