It's KOH 2019

Every year in California, the first week of February is dedicated to the King of the Hammers: the toughest off-road race in the world. This year the jackpot is dizzying: $ 100,000.

Pictures Paolo Baraldi

Dave Cole
Dave Cole

Hammerking Productions is pleased to announce that Nitto King of the Hammers powered by Optima Batteries has tripled the jackpot for KOH 2019 to $ 100,000. The Unlimited class, known as ULTRA4, will run on Friday 8 February 2019 and the winner will receive $ 75,000, the second $ 15,000 and the third $ 10,000. An additional $ 3,750 will be given to the fastest on the the infamous trails known as "Idle Issues".


“Every year the support and excitement from our partners for King of the Hammers just keeps growing,” said King of The Hammers founder, Dave Cole. “This increased purse is made possible through Monster’s belief in ULTRA4 and their commitment to the sport. In just over a decade we’ve gone from 12 guys racing for bragging rights, to more than 100 elite off-road racers competing for the crown and now $100K in prize money. This type of growth is only possible through the support and commitment of dedicated partners like Monster Energy.”


Due to the brutal terrain, many competitors consider finishing the race itself a victory. In the 12-year history of the race, only six drivers have stood atop the podium to be crowned King of The Hammers. Four drivers have won twice, and only one driver, Shannon Campbell, has won the race three times. With this increase in prize money, 2019 may be the first time a new king is crowned since Randy Slawson in 2013.


The 2019 running of the King of the Hammers marks the 13th annual event held each February in Johnson Valley, CA. The week-long off-road race and festival begins with Hammertown opening on February 1st, 2019. The week consists of multiple qualifiers and races for a variety of classes ranging from UTVs, to limited 4 Wheel Drive classes. More than 500 competitors and 50,000 spectators are expected to descend upon Mean’s Dry Lake Bed in 2019, which turns into a city for one week each year known as Hammertown.


2019 KOH week schedule:  

Friday 1/2 - Hammertown opening 

Saturday 2/2 - UTV Qualifying 

Sunday 3 / 2- UTV race 

Monday 4/2 - 4500/4600/4800 Qualifying & Shootout (evening) 

Tuesday 5/2 - 4400 Qualifying 

Wednesday 6/2 - Every Man Challenge race (EMC) 

Thursday 7/2 - Toyo Desert Invitational Presented by Monster Energy 

Friday 8/2 - Nitto King of the Hammers race powered by Optima Batteries (KOH)


Unlimited Desert Truck Race Added to King of The Hammers Week 

Top Drivers to Compete for Biggest Prize Purse in History of Sport


A new desert race is coming to the 2019 King of The Hammers (KOH) Week lineup. The Toyo Tires Desert Invitational Presented by Monster Energy will feature 30 elite off-road desert racers in an invitation-only, traditional open-desert, off-road truck race in Johnson Valley, CA. This marks the return of unlimited off-road racing to the sports birthplace: Southern California. It is also the first time that 4 wheel-drive will not be required of trucks to compete during KOH Week. The invited teams will vie for $125,000 prize purse making it the richest off-road race in the history of the sport.  Drivers will qualify and race on the same day; Thursday, February 7th, 2019.

The winner of the Toyo Tires Desert Invitational Presented by Monster Energy will take home $100,000, 2nd place earns $15,000, and 3rd place $10,000. The driver with the fastest lap time of the day earns an additional $3,750.  With increases in prize money to the Ultra4 class to match, the payout for KOH week will exceed $300,000. 


The list of confirmed competitors includes but is not limited to:

Rob MacCachren 

Tavo Vildosola 

Robby Gordon

Andy McMillin

Bryce Menzies

BJ Baldwin

Troy Herbst 

Justin Lofton

Cameron Steele


There will be a Last Chance Qualifying opportunity for teams that did not receive an automatic invite.  Details to be announced in the coming weeks.


“When some of the top names in desert racing said they’d like to come to California and take part in KOH Week, of course we wanted to find a way to not only include them but showcase their trucks and their talent.” Said King of the Hammers founder, Dave Cole, when asked about the new race. He continued by saying. “We’ve partnered with Toyo Tires and Monster Energy to create a race and purse unlike anything else in off-road currently or in the sports history. Our goal is to give both the drivers and fans an exciting new experience.  We look forward to expanding the KOH model of engaged and accessible onsite spectator opportunities as well as world class LIVE race coverage.”

With the Desert Invitational taking place on Thursday, The Every Man Challenge featuring the 4800 Legends, 4500 Modified and 4600 Stock ULTRA4 classes will move to Wednesday, February 6th, 2019. The UTV race moves to Sunday, February 3rd.


About ULTRA4 RACING and King of The Hammers

ULTRA4 is a vehicle type, class and series. The vehicles are unlimited four-wheel drive, capable of competing in multiple racing disciplines – extreme rock crawling, high-speed desert racing and short course.  In 12 years, the sport has grown significantly from the inaugural King of the Hammers to an eight race national series including a national championship. ULTRA4 Racing is managed by Hammerking Productions located in Temecula, CA.  To learn more, please visit www.ultra4racing.com