One of the most popular off-road events of the year is back! The 2018 Nitto King Of The Hammers Powered by OPTIMA Batteries is here and its time to get prepared! While many UTV racers are already on the lakebed, teams, companies and spectators alike are preperaring for the week of festivities inside and around “Hammer Town USA”! Below are some details to help you make you maximize your week and get prepared for all of the festivities!

With over 100 UTVs registered to take on this years Can-Am UTV King Of The Hammers Presented by HCR event, the UTV race is slated to be one of the hottest races of the year! Past KOH UTV winners Mitch Guthrie, Blake Van De Loo, and Shannon Campbell are on the list and ready to battle along with some other big name racers like Robby Gordon, Casey Currie, The Gomez Brothers, Loren Healy, CJ Greaves, Johnny Greaves, Bailey Campbell & Wayland Campbell. Other UTV notables to watch for are Mitch Guthrie Jr., Branden Sims, Phil Blurton, Marc Burnett, Jason Weller & Dean Bulloch.

UTVUnderground.com will hit the lake bed early in the week to partake in preparation alongside the competitors and will bring its industry leading coverage back to our fans here at UTVUnderground.com & our social channels. Mad Media will be on hand covering the event in video for us & Polaris RZR and look forward to releasing some amazing Polaris RZR sponsored coverage.

Both Can-Am & Polaris RZR will be on hand offering demo rides to the public while showcasing their latest offerings. Polaris RZR will highlight and give consumers their first chance at driving the all-new 2018 Polaris RZR RS1 center seat machine that was released on January 31st, 2018.

Stay tuned to UTVUnderground.com for the latest news & information and follow us on social media for up the minute coverage and updates!

See our 2017 Coverage by CLICKING HERE

2018 Nitto King of the Hammers Powered by OPTIMA Batteries
The 12th annual Nitto King of the Hammers returns as Hammertown opens Friday, February 2nd.

What started in 2007 as a bet between friends has exploded into one of the largest off-road races in the world. Held at California’s Johnson Valley OHV Area the week of February 2nd through 10th, over 50,000 people show up for the “Mad Max meets Burning Man” event known as King of the Hammers (KOH). What is considered the toughest one-day off-road race is the final event in a week packed full of racing a variety of vehicle types ranging from motorcycles to UTVs, stock, stock modified, and ULTRA4 vehicles (unlimited four-wheel drive). One common denominator rules at KOH: the drive to innovate, push the limits, and leave it all on the table as each racer strives to be King. The event answers back by celebrating each and every competitor, and giving a platform for all to shine whether a seasoned, well-funded team to the lone fabricator spending sleepless nights creating their rig on a shoestring budget, just like the crew that started it all a decade ago.

Attending KOH is a one-of-a-kind experience with a showcase of the newest off-road parts from a myriad of vendors, up close access to the pits, racing action on the famous Hammers trails, and the village vibe of Hammertown – the makeshift city built specifically for the week of racing. For those who can’t make the pilgrimage to Means Dry Lake, a substantial schedule of live webcasting and live chat allows fans from across the globe to keep up with all things KOH. In 2017, over 1.5 million people watched the action online.

Day-By-Day, Play-By-Play

February 3-4, 2018 – Schampa King of The Motos
Just as KOH mixes elements of rockcrawling and desert racing, King of the Motos (KOM) covers all the varied terrain present in Johnson Valley. Now in its seventh year, course designer and moto legend Jimmy Lewis keeps upping the ante for KOM to earn the reputation as the hardest enduro race in the country. Some past competitors have even moved down to the amateur race as a result. The entrants are just as varied as the terrain, hailing from all over the globe and focusing on motocross, trials, and enduro disciplines. A favorite part are the land rush starts, and the action is epic when the first one takes place under the blanket of darkness on Saturday night. It’s a memorable way to launch an unforgettable week.

Three race format:
Moto1- Saturday 20 +/- mile night race
Moto2- Sunday early morning Pro race with land rush start on technical 5-mile course
No GPS
Not scored for Amateurs
Moto3- Sunday late morning desert loop with 100 +/- miles for Amateurs and 150 +/- miles for Pros

Best combined score wins
Only riders can work on bikes (except for fueling in pits)

Past Winners-
2017- Colton Haaker
2016- Cody Webb
2015- Colton Haaker
2014- Cody Webb
2013- Cody Webb
2012- Graham Jarvis

Who To Watch-
Max Gerston- Finished second in 2017, EnduroCross rising star
Cody Webb- Three-time winner, finished seventh in 2017 after missing a checkpoint
Andrea Crane- Local to area with homefield advantage

Monday, January 5th – Holley EFI Shootout presented by KMC, King, and Action Sports Canopies
This event is arguably as entertaining to watch at KOH itself, and can take credit for why so many people show up early to Hammertown. On Monday night, rigs ranging from homebuilt rockcrawlers to southern rock bouncers from SRRS to compete for the fastest time up a huge vertical ledge. It’s KOH’s unique version of drag racing. Traditionally held at the Backdoor obstacle, the Shootout is moving closer to Hammertown for 2018 to accommodate more spectators. There are stadium lights and announcers with thousands of people lining each side of the course, cheering and heckling the drivers.

Format-
Fastest time wins
Top Ten earn a spot in KOH

Who To Watch-
Bobby Tanner- Past Shootout winner in “Screamin Blue” and patriarch of the Tanner clan, who are pioneers in rock bouncing
Mike Slawson- Brother of KOH winner Randy Slawson, and past KOM competitor who now has his own Bomber car
Ritchie Keith- Driver of “Plowboy”, Keith is a rock bouncing legend easily identified by his yellow and green John Deere paint schemes
Jesse Haines- Rockcrawling champion and accomplished fabricator, Haines will be competing in his recently completed buggy with 42-inch tires and rear steering


Tuesday, February 6th – Qualifying
Rather than determining starting order at random, a short course near Hammertown is used to put the fastest vehicles up front on race day. The course contains all of the elements of KOH, just in a bite-sized package. Live streaming of the biggest names takes place during the “Power Hour” at the end of the day, but the best seat in the house is right next to the qualifying course.

LCQ- There are a variety of ways to prequalify for KOH, including past performance at the event and sanctioned Ultra4 races throughout the season. These drivers qualify for starting position on race day, but there are others for whom the stakes are much higher. The Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ) provides an opportunity for entry to the top 25% of the LCQ field. Sounds impossible? Both Loren Healy and Randy Slawson have won KOH in the past after earning their spot in the big show through the LCQ.

Who to watch on Tuesday-
Jason Scherer- Perennial fast qualifier not just at KOH, but nearly all Ultra4 events
John Currie- Past EMC winner from Currie Enterprises, moving up to the 4400 class
Rick Waterbury- 2016 Legends class champion debuting new 4400 car
Jordan Townsend- Moving up to 4400 from 4500 after taking the year off to put his wife through EMT school
Mike Bergman- Qualifying in a Can Am UTV, the rules allow it and he qualified this way last year.


Wednesday, February 7th- Can-Am KOH UTV Race presented by HCR
The average Ultra4 car uses 40-inch tires. The average UTV uses 29-inch tires, and they race on many of the same trails! Few finish each year, but that hasn’t stopped the UTV class from exploding in popularity. So much explosion that the word of the year for the UTV category at KOH is growth. Massive growth and a seriously competitive field. Mitch Guthrie, Sr. has dominated the UTV race nearly every year, and technically the most winning “King” at King of the Hammers, but more and more 4400 drivers are tossing their hat into the UTV ring.

Past Winners-
2017- Shannon Campbell
2016- Blake Van De Loo
2015- Mitch Guthrie
2014- Mitch Guthrie
2013- Mitch Guthrie
2012- Mitch Guthrie
2011- Brandon Schueler
2010- Mitch Guthrie
2009- Mitch Guthrie

Who To Watch-
Shannon/Wayland/Bailey Campbell- Last year the Campbells squashed any concerns about spreading themselves too thin by finishing 1-2 in both the UTV race and 4400 race.
Casey Scherer- Jason Scherer’s brother won races in 2017 in his Can Am, demonstrating that speed runs in the family.
Larry Gipson- Past 4400 racer who took a few years off to focus on family, but is coming back with his all-or-nothing mentality.
Ross Pilgreen- Portal axle UTV from Arkansas looks like a mini Ultra4 car.
Robby Gordon- Putting his own Textron UTV design to the ultimate test in Johnson Valley.
Casey Currie- Longtime short course racer will also compete in 4400.
Bailey Cole- Driving a Robby Gordon-prepped Textron UTV in addition to competing in EMC and 4400.
Bill Baird- Former 4400 driver dusts off his race suit to bring his wheels-up driving style to the UTV class.
Raul/JP/Darian/David Gomez- Two generations competing in UTV from Gomez Brothers Racing.
Dean Bullock- Former snowmobile racer and rockcrawler has been on the podium in the UTV race in the past and hopes to be on the top step this year.
Sara Price- The latest Hoonigan team driver had a rough go in 2017, but that has not deterred her from racing her UTV again this year.
Phil Blurton- More at home than the desert than the rocks, but he is no stranger to competition and has done his homework.

UTV ENTRY LIST

NAME Car Number Race Class Points
DREW SCHULTZ   1932 UTV 0
JOSH CHAPMAN   4907 UTV 0
AUSTIN WEILAND   4927 UTV 0
KNOX GRIFFIN   278 UTV 0
BRENT ZIMMERMAN   UTV 0
PHIL BLURTON   944 UTV 0
MARCOS GOMEZ   4486 UTV 0
ROSS PILGREEN   111 UTV 0
PERRY MAHANAY   2323 UTV 0
DAN WALLER   261 UTV 0
MARC BURNETT   UTV 0
DANIEL MARKLEY   777 UTV 0
JOHN DUCKWORTH   1920 UTV 0
SHANE REDLINE   4912 UTV 0
GEORGE LISENBERY   1966 UTV 0
ROBERT VANBEEKUM   64 UTV 0
RICKY FARMER   4959 UTV 0
MITCH GUTHRIE   6 UTV 0
BILL BAIRD   5252 UTV 0
WAYLAND CAMPBELL  3az UTV 0
SEAN HALUCH   1905 UTV 0
MATT MYRICK   2116 UTV 0
ALAN CLARK   UTV 0
BAILEY COLE   4854 UTV 0
JASON WELLER   1910 UTV 0
BRIAN FULKERSON   208 UTV 0
JP GOMEZ   4482 UTV 0
KEVIN HART   773 UTV 0
JIM HENLE   411 UTV 0
CODY CURRIE   UTV 0
JUSTIN BARTH   2700 UTV 0
CHRIS ARMSTRONG   706 UTV 0
SEAN STROUD 1  028 UTV 0
KIERAN COX   142 UTV 0
DAVID MIZE   5585 UTV 0
ERIK JOKINEN   901 UTV 0
JEFF PALHEGYI   1931 UTV 0
JEFFREY DONDA UTV 0
CASEY PEOPLES   1128 UTV 0
JACOB VERSEY   4931 UTV 0
DEAN BULLOCH   1909 UTV 0
BAILEY CAMPBELL   35 UTV 0
AARON HENRY   209 UTV 0
JT WALTON   1970 UTV 0
LUIS GALLARDO   492 UTV 0
BRANDEN SIMS   913 UTV 0
TRAVIS ZOLLINGER  220 UTV 0
MATT CHAPMAN   52 UTV 0
PAT OKEEFE   UTV 0
RYAN BERGAMINI   1933 UTV 0
PHIL CAGLIERO   21 UTV 0
LOREN HEALY   67 UTV 0
MICHAEL SAWYER   4905 UTV 0
JOHN CURRIE   22 UTV 0
JOHN NEIBOLD   1976 UTV 0
AARON CLARK   1009 UTV 0
WILL HARRIS   4903 UTV 0
ERIK MILLER   21 UTV 0
DREW SCHULTZ   1932 UTV 0
JOSH CHAPMAN   4907 UTV 0
CONNOR FULTS   4906 UTV 0
AARON WEDEKING   1808 UTV 0
KNOX GRIFFIN   278 UTV 0
ROSS PILGREEN   111 UTV 0
BEN COLLIER   UTV 0
CHRIS BARNETT   1961 UTV 0
DAN WALLER   261 UTV 0
CASEY SCHERER   79 UTV 0
SHANE REDLINE   4912 UTV 0
RICKY FARMER   4959 UTV 0
GREG UFFENS   1944 UTV 0
GEORGE LISENBERY  1966 UTV 0
AUSTIN PENNINGTON  259 UTV 0
BILL BAIRD   5252 UTV 0
ROBERT SMITH   965 UTV 0
BAILEY COLE   4854 UTV 0
MATT MYRICK   2116 UTV 0
GARISON CALLA..   1914 UTV 0
SEAN HALUCH   1905 UTV 0
NATHAN OWEN   1776 UTV 0
JAMES CANTRELL   502 UTV 0
CASEY CURRIE   2 UTV 0
ROBBY GORDON   4977 UTV 0
BRAYDON EDDY   4985 UTV 0
JOSHUA SMITH   1948 UTV 0
RANDY SOUTHALL   4988 UTV 0
KYLE ANDERSON  UTV 0
MARK MACDONALD   UTV 0
MICHAEL LEE   211 UTV 0
BLAKE VANDELOO   1945 UTV 0
DUSTIN NELSON   994 UTV 0
MITCH GUTHRIE JR  9 UTV 0
RANDY JELLEFF   UTV 0
BROC SMITH   1941 UTV 0
CJ GREAVES   33 UTV 0
RYAN BERGAMINI   1933 UTV 0
ROBERT F SMITH   965 UTV 0
DARIAN GOMEZ   90 UTV 0
JOHN NEIBOLD   1976 UTV 0
RAUL GOMEZ   4483 UTV 0
WILL HARRIS   4903 UTV 0
JOSHUA SMITH   1948 UTV 0
RON SCHAEFER   4911 UTV 0
JOSH CHAPMAN   4907 UTV 0
KYLE ANDERSON   UTV 0
TYSON SMITH   4944 UTV 0
BRENT ZIMMERMAN   UTV 0


Thursday, February 8th- Smittybilt Every Man Challenge (EMC)
The EMC contains three classes: the Rubicon Express Modified Class (4500), the Pro Comp Stock Class (4600), and the Legends Class (4800). Legends is one of the fastest growing classes at KOH (second only to UTVs), with close competition at every race. Each class has specific rules to ensure a level playing field, making the EMC a true drivers’ race. This year starting order will mingle 4500s and 4800s, putting the fastest cars at the front of the field.
4500- Factory appearing body, partial frame, mechanical steering, two shocks per corner, 37-inch DOT approved tires.
4600- Factory engine, stock frame, full body, single shock, 35-inch tall DOT approved tires.
4800- Front engine, two seat, solid axle, single shock, 37-inch DOT approved tires.

Past winners-
2017- Brad and Roger Lovell
2016- Brad and Roger Lovell
2015- Brandon Currie
2014- John Currie
2013- John Currie and Gerald Lee
2012- John Currie and Gerald Lee

Who to watch-
Brad Lovell- Rockcrawling and short course champion is the epitomy of the Legends class, running the same Ford Ranger buggy in Ultra4 for the past decade.
Jessi Combs- Host of The List: 1001 Car Things To Do Before You Die is racing in 4600 on Thursday and 4400 on Friday.
Vaughn Gittin Jr- Drift star got hooked on Ultra4 racing two years ago, last year he debuted an IFS Early Bronco that succumbed to new car blues, but is back this year with all the bugs worked out.
Matt Howell- Current 4500 class champion.
Bryan Crofts- Purchased Mitch Funk’s Willys buggy, has shown speed at 2017 events, first time driving in KOH.
John Grounds- Works for Poison Spyder Customs during the week, and tests their products on the lakebed, one to watch after his impressive first season.
Sean Rants- 2017 Sportsman of the year, epitomizes what Ultra4 racing is all about, always willing to lend a helping hand, has raced in every EMC since its inception.
Mad Mike Bedwell- Old Guys racing, finished 3rd in 4500 at KOH in 2017.
Cora Jokinen- Racing her Jeep in 4600, Cora co-founded Torq-Lockers with husband Eric.
Sarah Amaral- After navigating for her husband Mike for two years, now Sarah is behind the wheel.


Friday, February 9th- Nitto King of the Hammers Powered By Optima Batteries
Friday is the big show, when the unlimited class competitors battle to be named King. Your best bet at following the action is at Backdoor, Chocolate Thunder, or the new spectator area at Cougar Buttes. More interested in watching from the comfort of your camp chair? Hammertown will have a Jumbotron with live cameras and announcers calling all the action. Teams also pit in Hammertown and carve their way through the infield short course, bringing the action right to the fans.

Four racers have won KOH the past eight years, demonstrating that it takes a lot more than luck to be on the top step. Will one of them win again this year, or will a new King ascend to the throne?

Past winners-
2017- Shannon Campbell
2016- Erik Miller and Robert Ruggiero
2015- Randy Slawson and Michael Slawson
2014- Loren Healy and Casey Trujillo
2013- Randy Slawson and Michael Slawson
2012- Erik Miller and Robert Ruggiero
2011- Shannon Campbell
2010- Loren Healy and Rodney Woody
2009- Jason Scherer and Jason Berger
2008- Shannon Campbell
2007- JR Reynolds and Randy Slawson

Who To Watch-
Wayland Campbell- Came in second last year to his father, won the 2017 season championship.
Levi Shirley- Came in second in 2017 season points and finished third at KOH in 2016.
Josh Blyler- Finished 6th in 2017 in Miller Motorsports solid axle car.
Randy Slawson- Two-time KOH winner, and the harder the course the better Slawson traditionally has done.
Erik Miller- Debuting a new car that is an evolution of his previous KOH-winner solid axle cars.
Aaron Kaufman- Gas Monkey Garage star is building an Ultra4 to race in KOH.
Loren Healy- Racing a brand-new Jimmy’s 4×4 two-seat IFS car with LSX454 power.
Bailey Campbell- After finishing 5th in 2016 in a two seat, front engine, solid axle car, is now debuting an IFS car.
Brian Caprara- Debuting a new Campbell Enterprises IFS two seat buggy.
John Webb- Crowd favorite will have a new Fishmouth Fabworks IFS car, complete with his signature speakers blasting on race day.
Nick Nelson- Past ULTRA4 season champion is coming back with a new Jimmy’s 4×4 car.
Jordan Pelligrino- After racing in 4500 is moving up to take father’s place in GenRight 4400 car.
Shannon Campbell – Never count out three-time King whose experience, driving style, and absolute focus on winning makes him a formidable competitor.


2018 KOH Week Master Schedule

 

Friday February 2nd, 2018 – Opening Day

o    9:00 AM – 4:00 PM Registration Open – Big Tent
o    9:00 AM Pre-Running Opens
o    9:00 AM Tech Opens at Factor 55 Tech Tent  All new 4400-4800 must tech by Tech close on Monday

Saturday February 3rd, 2018 – 4600 & UTV Qualifying – Schampa King of The Motos Part 1
o    Continue Registration (9-4) and Pre-Running
o   10:30 AM Qualifying Driver Meeting for Pro-Comp 4600/4900-UTV – Big Tent
o    11:00 AM – 4:00 PM 4600 & UTV Qualifying – Jeep Proving Grounds Short Course
o    4:00 PM Mandatory Schampa King of the Motos Riders Meeting – Big Tent
o    3:00 PM  KOM Spectator Maps at Schampa
o    6:00 PM Schampa King of the Motos Part 1

Sunday February 4th, 2018 – Schampa King of the Motos Parts 2 and 3 – KOH Kick Off Party
o   9:00 AM Schampa King of the Motos Part 2
o   10:30 AM Schampa King of The Motos Part 3
o   6:00 PM Currie Event Kickoff/Party @ Currie Booth
o   6:00 KOM Awards Ceremony – Jumbotron

Monday February 5th, 2018 – 4500 & 4800 Qualifying – Holley Efi Shootout Presented by KMC, King & Action Sports Canopies
o    Pre-Running Day
o    9:00 AM Mandatory 4500 & 4800 Drivers Meeting for Qualifying – Big Tent
o    10:00 AM – 4:00 PM 4500 & 4800 Qualifying – Jeep Proving Grounds Short Course
o    12:00 PM – 8:00 PM Vendor Hours in Hammertown
o    4:30 PM 4400 Mandatory Drivers meeting for Qualifying – Big Tent
o    5:00 PM Mandatory Drivers meeting for Shootout – Big Tent
o    6:00 PM Holley Efi Shootout Presented by KMC, King & Action Sports Canopies

Tuesday February 6th, 2018 – 4400 Qualifying
o   12:00 – 6:00 PM UTV Tech and Contingency EMC may tech as well – Hammertown
o    12:00 PM – 8:00 PM Vendor Hours in Hammertown
o   3:45 PM Awards Ceremony for Shootout Participants before Power Hour
o    4:00 PM Axial R/C practice in Hammertown @ Axial Booth
o    5:00 PM Close of Qualifying
o    6:00 PM Mandatory drivers meeting for all KOH UTV racers
o    6:30 PM Axial R/C races in Hammertown @ Axial Booth

Wednesday February 7th, 2018 – Can-Am KOH UTV Race Presented by HCR
o    8:00 AM – 4:00 PM Can-Am KOH UTV Race Presented by HCR
o    12:00 – 6:00 PM EMC Tech and Contingency – Hammertown
o    12:00 – 8:00 PM Vendor Hours in Hammertown
o    4:00 PM Axial R/C practice in Hammertown @ Axial Booth
o    6:00 PM KMC Belly Flop Contest at KMC Booth
o    6:00 PM Mandatory Drivers meeting for Smittybilt Every Man Challenge Race – Big Tent
o    6:30 PM Axial R/C races in Hammertown @ Axial Booth
o    8:00 PM King Shocks Party at King Shocks Booth

Thursday February 8th, 2018 – Smittybilt Every Man Challenge
o    8:00 AM – 6:00 PM Smittybilt Every Man Challenge Race
o   12:00 – 7:00 PM KOH Tech and Contingency in Hammertown
o    12:00 PM – 8:00 PM Vendor Hours in Hammertown
o    4:00 PM Axial R/C practice in Hammertown @ Axial Booth
o    6:00 PM Monster Energy Volunteer Dinner
o    6:30 PM Axial R/C races in Hammertown @ Axial Booth
o   7:00 PM Mandatory Drivers meeting for KOH – Big Tent
o   7:00 PM Rigid We Own the Night Poker Run – See Rigid Booth
o   8:00 PM Volunteer Staffing meeting

Friday February 9th, 2018 – Nitto King of The Hammers Powered by Optima Batteries
o    6:00 AM Driver Line Up 2018 Nitto King of the Hammers Powered by Optima
o    12:00 PM – 8:00 PM Vendor Hours in Hammertown
o    8:00 AM – 10:00 PM 2018 Nitto King of the Hammers Powered by Optima Batteries

Saturday February 10th, 2018 – Closing Ceremonies – Genright KOH Experience – Axial Altra 5K
o    9:00 AM Awards Ceremony UTV – KOH – EMC – Big Tent
o    10:30 AM KOH The Experience with Genright – Hammertown
o    11:00 AM Axial ALTRA 5K and Adventure R/C Crawl

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