King of the Hammers is unlike anything else we attend during the year. Days of intense qualifying and racing ranging from motor bikes to full on unlimited class Ultra4 cars present a unique experience that not only gives spectators amazing access to the racing, crews and cars, but also lends itself to a party atmosphere that goes on the entire time day and night. A literal town of 30-40K people springs up out of thin air and the sounds of high horsepower ring off the nearby mountains echoing a staccato gearheads are drawn too like moths to a flame.
Odds are if you follow the Nitro FB pages you are familiar with King of the Hammers, but if not, it is a race, or rather a series of races, held each February that qualifies itself as “The most difficult 1 day off road race in North America.” It could argued as the toughest in the world as the Unlimited class race ran 180+ miles over terrain that is unbelievably rugged in nature, but ranges from rock strewn canyons to full on desert racing. This means the race cars have evolved into hybrids between rock crawlers and trophy trucks with massive capability at both ends of the spectrum. Durability is often the biggest issue as the speeds through car sized rocks are higher than should be possible and the mechanical carnage that results is truly nuts. Highly competitive the 4400 class was won by Shannon Campbell over his son Waylon by about a 30 second margin with Shannon coming over the finish line literally missing the left front tire and much of the rim. It was an epic end to a spectacular week in the desert.
For us KOH really started by fighting the weather as snow and ice blanketed the northwest as we headed south from our HQ in Washington. We literally were building ice on the Nitro buggy from the blowing snow and freezing rain. That made for slow travel the first day out on the road. Thankfully things smoothed out from there and we made good time through desolate Nevada, into Vegas/Primm and finally out to Johnson Valley and Hammertown.
Monday night we headed up to the”BackDoor Shootout.” An event we enjoy so much we’ve been one of the primary sponsors the past few years. Our friends from the Southern Rock Racing Series had traveled across the country with their Rock Bouncers in tow just for this event and they did not disappoint. Basically the competition is a timed climb through a short course that includes a dry waterfall 8-10 feet high in the middle of a whole bunch of big rocks. With an opportunity to qualify for the big race on the line a good size group of rigs showed up for this brutal beat down on machinery. Final time was an amazing 22.008 seconds from Kyle Crouch out of Kentucky.
Nitro sponsored a number of drivers in various classes this year including the top level 4400 class. Nitro equipped Ben Swain finished the race a respectable 23’rd coming in after the sun had set for the evening.
Unfortunately a failure in the motor knocked the brand new Nitro IFS car of Jordan Townsend out early in the day, but based on what he was doing early in the week the car will be extremely competitive once the bugs are worked out. Check out this video when they were shock tuning this 800HP Procharged monster earlier in the week.
KOH lived up to the hype again in 2017 and we highly recommend you find your way to this amazing event in the future if you can. Where else can you camp for next to nothing and watch 5 days of racing for free? It just doesn’t exist anywhere but KOH. Gearhead paradise.
NITRO GEAR & AXLE