February 1, 2015 (Johnson Valley, CA) – With 2014 King of the Motos’ winner Cody Webb racing in Europe, all eyes were on Colton Haaker, age 25, of Hollister, California to lead a stacked field during Sunday’s King of the Motos competition. And Haaker–an X Games medalist who frequently podiums on the AMA Endurocross series–delivered. But not without a battle and a few helping hands.
“There is no way I could have won this race without help from my fellow competitors.” said Haaker at the awards ceremony. “You pretty much couldn’t make a lap without some help.”
It was true. There wasn’t a single competitor who finished that didn’t need assistance at some point during the race. The 2015 course, which consisted of back-breaking switch backs and steep rocky ravines, was the hardest in KOM’s four-year history. All over the course, riders came to the aid of fellow riders and helped them push and tow their bikes, so they could stay on course.
Haaker was no exception. Each time he went up “The Waterfall”—one of the steepest and rockiest sections in the middle of the course, competitors like Morgan Tanke, Rachel Gutish, Noah Kepelle andJames King pushed the future King along.
How It Worked
The 2015 competition was divided into a morning lap of 27-miles, and an afternoon three-hour session. During the afternoon session, riders were given three hours to lap a 12.6 mile course as many times as they could. If a rider was lapped by the leader, he was not allowed to make any more laps. As long as he completed one lap, (even if lapped) he still earned a finish, though.
How Tough Was It?
79 competitors started the race. 56 made it to the afternoon session. 44 completed one lap. 11 completed a second lap. And only five completed a final third lap.
The next event on the King of the Hammer’s week is the ULTRA4 East/West Shootout– a wild rock-crawling event that will be held on the infamous Backdoor Terrain on Monday night. While the contest is a four-wheel event, King of the Motos competitor “Wild” Wally Palmer, who just finished 6th in KOM, competed in the Shootout in 2014 and was a crowd favorite. He’s expected to stick around for another appearance in 2015.