If you are not in the know, King of the Hammers is about to crown its next king. This crazy event is described as the “toughest one-day off-road race in the world.” All you have to do is look at all the photos and videos circling the web to know just how true (or perhaps understated) that is. It is pure off-road, desert racing, rock crawling madness. With more than 10 classes of vehicles, there are hundreds of drivers competing in these matches.
This year’s annual week-long festival is held from February 2nd to February 10th in Johnson Valley, California. It brings in more than 35,000 fans and then it has nearly 500,000 watching online. Don’t worry, you can see the madness happening live below.
King of the Hammers History Lesson
Here’s a little history for gearheads and newbies alike. The King of the Hammers was founded by Jeff Knoll and Dave Cole back in 2007 on a napkin. It started out as a friendly competition with 12 teams testing the idea out. They had the first race in 2008 which consisted of 50 drivers and it was still a non-spectator event. As it grew, the fanbase exploded to what it is today.
As for the race, teams start at 30-second intervals from the Means Dry Lake bed and go through the desert on a 50-60-mile race course until they get to their first rock course. They then have to navigate over that obstacle to get back to level ground. Teams must complete the 165 course in 14 hours all while staying within 100 feet of the centerline and passing through all 7 checkpoints.
This is not your typical NASCAR race. With all the rock climbing out there, drivers need to be sure they can get over them. Looking back at last year’s winners it seems there is one clear winner, Warn and their winches. Nine out of the top ten finishers last year were all equipped with Warn winches. If you’re looking for a winch you should look to the experts, the one that nine out of ten best finishers go with, Warn. With competitions as grueling as these, the right gear can make all the difference. You need to be able to depend on it when it gets tough out there and trust us, King of the Hammers gets tough in that desert.
We caught part of the live feed when they were coming through the backdoor section to Hammertown and again I will say, it’s not your father’s car race. You’ll be on the edge of your seat as you watch the drivers go, make calculations, back up and approach from a different angle and pop down between the rocks.
As we go into the last day of the King of the Hammers we would like to wish all the drivers good luck and we can’t wait to see who will be named the 2018 King of the Hammers as it is pretty close in terms of points.