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King of the Hammers is an off-road race that combines desert racing and rock crawling. This race is held in February on Means Dry Lake at Johnson Valley, California USA. The race is broadcast live on the Internet at www.ultra4racing.com/live each year. In years past, in the evenings, Roxy TV was a nightly television show from the lake bed in Hammer town. King of The Hammers race week has expanded from one race, King of The Hammers,held each year on Friday, to a series of 5 races held throughout the week. The races include King of The Motos on Sunday, The KOH UTV Race on Wednesday, The Every Man Challenge Race on Thursday, and a new ULTRA4 vs. Rock Bouncer shootout held on Monday night of race week.
About the Event
There are tens of thousands of spectators that come out to watch King of the Hammers, they all gather at Johnson Valley, a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) area near Yucca Valley. For the week, which happens to be nine days long the Means Dry Lake bed turns into what the spectators call “Hammertown.” There are more than 400 teams and 30,000 spectators for this event. Each day there is a new race: dirt bikes, quads, Side by Side or UTVs (Utility Task Vehicle), anyone with a four wheel drive vehicle and the main event Ultra4.
The King of the Hammers was founded by Jeff Knoll and Dave Cole in 2007. Jeff and Dave were in a bar and they planned this race on a napkin. The founders decided that there should be a trial run with a few good guys and a chance to have some fun. There were only 13 teams at this first non-spectator invitational race. They are referred to as the OG13. The OG13 are always invited back to race year after year. All past winners, or Kings, are also invited year after year. The first official race was in 2008 and it was still a non-spectator race. There were approximately 50 drivers in the first official race. Race teams started at 30 second intervals from Means Dry Lake bed and navigated through the desert on a 50-60 mile set race course to their first rock course.
Ultra 4 Racing, the Ultimate Desert Race.
In 2014 Mopar brought their new 5.7 liter engine out to the races. King of the Hammers 2014 was a proving ground for Mopar’s 5.7 liter Hemi engine. The 5.7 crate engines that were provided are the off-road race version of the recently announced Scat Package performance upgrades for Mopar’s street performance cars. King of the Hammers was a choice proving ground for the 5.7 because of how hard the race is and how much stress the engines would be under. The 5.7 is part of a heritage in Mopar of race built engines that has been around for a long time. The 5.7L crate engine is part of Mopar’s GEN II race line of engines that are built specifically to race, and more specifically to win the races. For the 2014 KOH Nitto Tire returned again to be a sponsor at the race. In 2013 Nitto sponsored six competitors; in 2014 Nitto sponsored nine competitors. Three of the nine entries that Nitto sponsored in 2014 were previous winners, “Nitto’s roster includes three former King of the Hammers champions, the 2012 winner Erik Miller, the 2010 winner Loren Healy and the 2009 winner Jason Scherer. The nine entries that Nitto sponsored in the 2014 King of the Hammers ran the same tire. The Nitto sponsored drivers all ran Nitto Trail Grappler tires; the tire had great success in 2013 Nitto reported.
2007: JR Reynolds and Randy Slawson
2008: Shannon Campbell
2009: Jason Scherer and Jason Berger
2010: Loren Healy and Rodney Woody
2011: Shannon Campbell
2012: Erik Miller and Robert Ruggiero
2013: Randy Slawson and Michael Slawson
2014: Loren Healy and Casey Trujillo
2015: Randy Slawson and Michael Slawson
2016: Erik Miller