2019 King of the Hammers – The best off-road race on earth?
Another year and another King of the Hammers is over, and I for one am having #HammerTown withdrawals.
Let me be clear, this event is not for everyone. If you don’t like fun, horsepower, dirt, big tires, loud engines, campfires, starry nights, camp food, or spending time with friends away from your cellphone then this is definitely not for you. We happen to love all of those things and we want more people to have the same experience we have every time we drive down what might be the roughest gravel road in America on the way into Hammertown USA.
Not Racing Things
Yes this is an off-road race, but it’s also so much more. The King of the Hammers race week is a chance to go trail riding on some of the gnarliest terrain in the US, or go eat up the whoops in that new Ford Raptor you bought, or dirt biking in Disneyland (the name of one area for off-roading), or just go exploring! The fact is that if you bring a few friends with you it’ll be a good time. We got the chance to hang out with the BleepinJeep crew and help lead a trail ride for some of their fans up Clawhammer, the least crazy of the hammers. We had some laughs, climbed over rocks, and at least one of us (Me) used their passenger door as a pivot around a rocky corner. That’ll buff out for SURE.
Then there is the night time activities, if you have a want to trail ride there are plenty of night runs going on. Nate from BleepinJeep conquered Chocolate Thunder (yes that is a real trail name) at about 9:30pm one night, I for one don’t have the stomach for it. Mostly I don’t want to be on the receiving end of the heckling that comes with breaking something while on that particular trail at night. Now the heckling part… I am 100% down to be a part of that, and took plenty of time to hoot and holler at the collection of Jeeps, Toyotas, and homebuilt buggies tackling the night on the trail. A quick trip across the dry lake bed which used to be a bombing range will bring you up to Backdoor, a roughly 5 foot ledge with a sandy bottom that get’s dug out night after night leading up to Friday’s race. Backdoor at night might not be family friendly, but by the time it gets going the kids should probably be in bed anyway. Here you can see rock bouncers and crawlers of all sorts attempt to climb the ledge or blow something up trying.
On your way back to camp to hangout around the fire be sure to take a minute to look up at the night desert sky. Because there are probably more stars in the desert than in the city or town you live in.
The Racing – ULTRA4
It is hard to say things about ULTRA 4 racing at the King of the Hammers that haven’t already been said a hundred times over. What can be said is how incredibly STACKED the 4400 field was for the opening event of the 2019 season! All of the regular players were on hand so you knew the competition would be insane, but mix in drivers like Vaughn Gittin Jr who moved up from the 4500 class this year and you make things interesting. Then put the youngest ever 4400 driver Jordan Pellegrino in quite possibly the most technologically advanced race truck ever in the class to mix things up, and if that isn’t enough you have drivers like Tom Wayes in his Icon sponsored truck returning to the hammers after a year off. All of these factor in to make a great race even more exciting. I’m not going to put a full race results list in here because they have a great one over at ULTRA4 Racing, so click that to see race results from Friday’s 4400 race.
More Racing – The Toyo Tires Desert Invitational
This year’s race schedule differed from anything from previous years, specifically on Thursday when the ULTRA 4 classes were put on hold to bring in trophy trucks! The Toyo Tires Desert Invitational is a best of the best single event race featuring one class of race trucks. The T1 trucks that ruled the lakebed that day were unlike anything I had seen before. I had been to plenty of short course races and while the T1 trucks look similar to a short course truck, these are their much bigger brother. They shredded the race course faster than I expected which made chasing them for photos much harder than I had hoped, but we decided to post up in one spot and just wait for them to make their 3rd lap past us. Once again race results can be found on the ULTRA 4 website, so click that link for a full results list.
The King of the Hammers Pictures!
Not much to say here except these are pictures from the week on the lakebed. We will have a second post with a bleepin’ video from the BleepinJeep fan ride sponsored by PowerStop. There are over 150 images in the gallery below, make sure to click in to see them all!