If you have been to the King Of The Hammers race, held every year since 2007 in a place called Johnson Valley, California, then you already know it’s arguably the toughest, most demanding off-road race on the planet. Robby Gordon tried once and never came back. Even BJ Baldwin gave it a shot and went back home limping. It’s not like any other off-road race. It is deservedly billed as “The Ultimate Desert Race.” If you find that hard to believe, just watch the video preview above of the 2015 race to be held the first week of February.
Johnson Valley is in the center of the vast and untamed Mojave Desert of southern California. It’s a valley where racers careen across long stretches of wide open desert at 100+ miles per hour, and is known for its axle-busting, boulder-filled canyons that on any normal day might take the best built and equipped four-wheel-drive vehicle hours to navigate. These canyons have earned names such as Jackhammer, Wrecking Ball, Hell’s Gate, Aftershock, Boulderdash, and Clawhammer.
The competitors and their specially designed race rigs go through this (that is about half of them make it through) nearly 200 mile-long race course made up of a combination of high-speed open desert and destructive rocky canyons (most of them steep ascents and descents), all while cutting through or climbing over mountain ranges. And the racers are on the clock, as there is a time limit they must beat or they are counted as DNF.