King of Hammers is underway!

The announcement of Tin Benders club patriarch “Krusty” as Grand Marshal drew a standing ovation from the drivers at the opening welcome meeting marking the official beginning of the 2012 Griffin King of the Hammers. This years course will be the longest to date, and the event increases in size with three additional races scheduled for the week long event in Johnson Valley California that is expected to attract 20,000 fans and participants over the next week. The Main event will take place next Friday when 100 of the top off-road racers in the world take the green flag to start the 160-mile course which will be composed of the most brutal terrain known to man.


Three of the past 4 champions of the event are already on site and look noticeably relaxed. Loren Healy who won the event in 2010 has been enjoying pre running and conversations by the fire having extra time coming into KOH totally prepared. They are using a pre runner his year and his #4426 ATX Wheels car sits patiently awaiting race day.  Jason Sherer who took the checkers in 2009 is doing last minute suspension tuning, but is facing some new car transmission issues that have required a replacement to be installed over night. The PSC Steering #76 car is a testament to how Ultra4 racing has progressed in 6 years and is a work of art.

Reigning King Shannon Campbell seems jovial walking the pits but so far we have not heard that distinctive scream of the Monster Energy #5 car blasting across the desert.


The big question on everyone’s minds is that of Robby Gordon, who is scheduled to arrive following his BITD Trophy Truck race today in Parker Arizona. Gordon who will participate in his first KOH race has purchased the former Torchmate TTB car and broke a spindle in early tests last week here at the Hammers. The Speed Energy #77 car was swiftly taken back to Gordon’s Southern California complex to be race prepped and is expected back in action here on Monday when Gordon and Rock crawling legend Lance Clifford will begin working on Gordon’s rock crawling education.


With over 110 miles of desert this year, and three separate dry lakebed runs speeds at this years KOH race will be higher than ever. With no rain this year dust will play a critical factor in the outcome for many racers. The desert section will require drivers to slow down at times to prevent crashes due to lack of visibility. Portions of the desert section are augmented with devastating cross grain features that will test the driver’s ability nearly as much as the rock sections. With over 60 miles before the first real rocks, some teams who are better equipped for that aspect of the race may never even make it to the most difficult portion of the event.


The Smittybuilt Everyman’s challenge is scheduled to begin tomorrow morning at 8:00 am, and will run until 4:00pm. It uses key features of the main event, and will be a good indicator of what to expect for the 6th running of the Griffin King of the Hammers.

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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