2012 King of the Hammers starts tomorrow in Johnson Valley, California

The first rays of the morning light stream across Fisher Mountain and give birth to a kingdom being built on Means dry lakebed in the Johnson Valley OHV area. Hammertown as it has been affectionately named by the throngs of people who make up this temporary city will be home to 20,000 starting tomorrow, Friday February 3rd.  Two-dozen workers have been hard at work the last week organizing contractors, installing circus tents, and miles of metal barricade. They work in shifts with a security details watching over the kingdom under a flood of diesel powered light towers, and city planners directing the early birds to their pre-determined address for the next 10 days. A grid of streets with names like Griffin way, and King Ave have been marked with shiny new street signs atop white metal poles at the intersections.


The 2012 King of the Hammers in its 6th year attracts participants from around the globe who make the annual pilgrimage like it’s an OHV version of Mecca. Revelers, merchandisers, media, and racecar drivers like Nascar’s Robby Gordon will descend upon this tent city in recreation vehicles, tents, and even some will sleep in cars just to be part of this mammoth event, that lets the spectators experience ever aspect of the race just like the racers. Attending drivers meetings, seminars, and even pre running the racecourse is allowed, and encouraged. No other motorsport in the United States offers a better up-close view of the picture the racers see.

Safety of course is paramount in the minds of the event organizers, and that is evident in the great lengths they have gone installing metal barricade. When race day finally comes at the pinnacle of the event, spectators will be restricted to pre-determined safety zones, and held at a safe distance from the speeding cars. The best action can be found in these safe zones when the open desert meets the rock canyons and pandemonium ensues as team battle the toughest elements of the race.


Nearly 150 vendors will display the newest and greatest parts and accessories allowing those who wish to try their hands on the racecourse the opportunity to outfit their vehicles. Food vendors, T-shirts, and even a rock band or two will keep attendees occupied when there is no race action to be found. You can test drive a new Kawasaki UTV, or learn to weld by participating in the construction of a 6 foot tall metal art project called the “Lincoln Experience”. There is even a free vendor poker walk that will allow a chance to win prizes like a winch and parts to outfit your 4×4.

The 2012 Griffin King of the Hammers will be the biggest race to date with 7 different races taking place during the week starting Sunday the 5th and ending Friday the 10th. All races start promptly at 8:00 am, and a limited number can be seen live here at OffRoadPress.com. We will do our best to offer you up to date information from a unique point of view for the next 10 days, but as the week progresses and Internet connections start to become saturated this may prove difficult. Our staff of photographers will do their best to get the story inside the King of the Hammers from the pre running to race action we will get up close in personal.

Photos provided by Mike Lasher, Will Gentile, Jeff Knoll, and Torchmate racing.

About the Author

Jeff Knoll is the former Event Director for the King of the Hammers event. He has raced various classes in SCORE, BITD, MORE, and MDR. Following the California 200, Knoll travelled to Washington, DC to meet with BLM officials regarding the Special Recreation Permit policies of the BLM. Knoll serves on the BLM’s Desert Advisory Sub-Committee regarding Special Recreation Permits. Knoll also drafted language for Nevada’s Senate Bill 156 in 2011 regarding action sports safety.

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