Brandon Currie Wins 2015 Smittybilt Every Man Challenge

February 5, 2015 (Johnson Valley, CA) – Brandon Currie had big shoes to fill when he took the start line of the Smittybilt Every Man Challenge Thursday morning. His father, John Currie, was the three-time reigning champion of the event, and the younger Currie was driving his winning car. “There was a lot of pressure,” said Brandon who competed in the modified class, “not from my dad, but pressure I put on myself.”
While Brandon, a former AMA Supermoto competitor who has medaled at the X Games, has limited car racing experience–he is well versed in the off-road community. The family company–Currie Enterprises–produces drive trains for high performance vehicles and many competitors competing at EMC and Nitto King of the Hammers use Currie products. So what was dad’s advice before Brandon got behind the wheel? “He told me just to take things easy,” says Brandon.
That well-heeded advice went a long way. While Brandon and his co-driver Hobie O’Conner battled early on with young gun Jordon Pellegrino in the rocks, they eventually pulled away in the desert section before crossing the finish line at 3:06 p.m.– almost seven hours after they left the start and ahead of 97 other competitors.
King of the Hammers is a family affair for the Curries. Dad John and cousin Casey will compete together in the main race on Friday (as will Brandon), and Cory Currie was the only UTV driver to finish the sportsman class on Wednesday.
Australia’s Napier Wins Legends
Australia’s Ben Napier has made the trip across the big pond six times for the main King of the Hammers’ race, but 2015 is the first time he’s won an event. Driving one of Randy Slawson’s older Bomber Fabrication cars, Napier and his co-driver David Scherlock had a solid day overall and the Aussie claimed he didn’t even have to get out of his car. In addition to winning the Legends class, Napier finished second overall. Napier will race a different car in Friday’s main, one built by Penhall Fabrication—a company known for building desert racing cars.
Luke Johnson Takes Spec Class
The Spec class included big names like AMA motocross legend and Pro 4 champ Ricky Johnson, as well TV celeb Jessi Combs, who won the event in 2014. While Lance Clifford crossed the finish line physically first in the spec class and third overall, he announced later that he had received outside help and was DQed. The Spec class win then went to Luke Johnson, who, along with his father Ricky, was racing his first Ultra4 race. The Johnson family members are no strangers to winning. Ricky, who finished behind Luke in second, is an AMA motocross legend and Pro 4 champ, while Luke is quickly proving himself on the TORC series. At the finish, Ricky, who has one of the most extensive racing backgrounds of anyone at KOH, said he found his first Ultra4 experience extremely challenging and joked, “There were times when I thought I was lost, because I would get somewhere and it didn’t even look like a trail.”
Matt Peterson Wins Stock
Driving a 2004 Grand Cherokee, Matt Peterson won the stock class. Peterson has competed in the main KOH event four times and the EMC three times. He also won the stock class in the same car in 2013.