Ultra4 Europe story and more

Everybody knows the story of the King of the Hammers, its kings and the story of Ultra4 Rancing. Following thr Ultra4 Europe story, its kings and its champions.

Photos and text by Paolo Baraldi

In 2007 the first King of the Hammers was held in Johnson Valley (CA) with 12 crews in the race. The following year his fame grew and in just a few years the King of the Hammers became famous all over the world and recognized as the toughest one day offorad race.

How is born Ultra4 Europe

Following this legend, in 2012 the first Ultra4 style race took place in Europe, in Wales. For 2 years the King of Valleys represented Ultra4 Racing in Europe making all the fans of the old continent of King of the Hammers happy. In 2013 the King of Portugal is added and in 2014 Ultra4 Europe was born and the first Ultra4 championship in Europe with 3 races: King of the Mountains (IT), King of Valleys (UK) and King of Portugal (P). Today, Ultra4 Europe is an important reality in the European off-road world.


Ultra4 Europe Kings and Champions


- King of Spain Les Comes (E): Jim Marsden (UK)

- King of France (FR): Rob Butler (UK)

- King of Britain (UK): Jim Marsden (UK)

- King of Poland (PL): Jim Marsden (UK)

- U4E Champion: Jim Marsden (UK)



- King of France (FR): Jim Marsden (UK)

- King of Britain (UK): Jesus Pato (E)

- King of Portugal (P): Jorge Araujo (P)

- King of Poland (PL): Axel Burmann (B)

- U4E Champion: Jorge Araujo (P)



- King of France (FR): Bailey Cole (USA)

- King of Wales (UK): Rob Butler (UK)

- King of Portugal (P): Casey Currie (USA)

- King of Britain (UK): Bailey Cole (USA)

- U4E Champion: Jelle Janssens (B)



- King of France (FR): Emmanuel Costa (P)

- King of Italy (IT): Emmanuel Costa (P)

- King of Britain (UK): Jim Marsden (UK)

- King of Portugal (P): Emmanuel Costa (P)

- U4E Champion: Emmanuel Costa (P)



- King of Italy (IT): Rob Butler (UK)

- King of Valleys (UK): Nicolas Montador (FR)

- King of Portugal (P): Emmanuel Costa (P)

- U4E Champion: Filipe Guimareas (P)



- King of the Mountains (IT): Levi Shirley (USA)

- King of Glens (UK): Jim Marsden (UK)

- King of the Valleys (UK): Levi Shirley (USA)

- King of Portugal (P): Levi Shirley (USA)

- U4E Champion: Levi Shirley (USA)



- King of the Valleys (UK): Pier Acerni (IT)

- King of Portugal (P): Emmanuel Costa (P)




- King of the Valleys (UK): Pier Acerni (IT)      

About King of the Hammers and Ultra4

King of the Hammers, founded in 2007, takes place every year in the early days of February in the Johnson Valley.


King of the Hammers is an off-road race that combines desert racing and rock crawling. This race is held on Means Dry Lake at Johnson Valley, California United States. King of The Hammers race week has expanded from one race, Nitto King of The Hammers, held each year on Friday, to a series of 5 races held throughout the week. The races include King of the Motos, Can AM UTV Race, the Every Man Challenge Race, the Toyo Desert Invitational (Unlimited Trophy Trucks), and the Ultra4 vs. Rock Bouncer shootout held on Monday night of race week.


The race vehicles used at the King of the Hammers are known as Ultra 4 vehicles which are capable of speeds over 100 miles per hour for the desert sections, but still contain gear ratios of 100 to 1 or lower for technical rock crawling. This Ultra4 class is unlimited 4400, and every vehicle is custom fabricated by each team. Traditional design for the front drive-train is a straight axle design, but (IFS) or (Independent front suspension) is becoming a popular design for the high speeds achieved in the wide open plains of the desert. Most racers use highly modified engines that can have up to (800 hp). 40" tires are common and racers use beadlock wheels. Competitors start side-by-side, two vehicles every thirty seconds, and must complete the course in fewer than 14 hours. Each team must pass through seven checkpoints and at all times while staying within one hundred feet of the centerline of the course. KOH is a no-chase-team race; repairs can only be done on the track by the racers or in the pit area.