Each year, some of the country’s toughest racers meet in a dried lake bed in Johnson Valley, Calif., to take part in The King of the Hammers Race. What started as a casual race between a dozen teams in front of a few friends in 1997 has since evolved into a massive race that brings together more than 300 teams each year. The King of the Hammers Race is attended by more than 35,000 fans in person and an additional half-million online.
Cars and trucks race around the lake bed and tackle nearly every imaginable condition, including mud, dirt, sand, snow and rocks. During portions of the track, drivers tear around at more than 100 miles per hour, while at other times they creep over massive boulders and rocks.
As for the cars themselves, requirements are fairly lax. As long as they are four-wheel drive, they can participate. Many vehicles boast gear ratios that near 100-to-1 in order to tackle the rocks. The driver and co-driver are on their own when it comes to any repairs that may need to be made throughout the race, so both competitors need to have the technical savvy to fix just about anything on the fly.
The 2014 King of the Hammers Race kicked off on Feb. 1 following a week of qualifying rounds. While the top 20 teams from last year’s competition automatically were granted spots in the 2014 competition, all other vehicles need to qualify to race in the official race.
While the King of the Hammers Race is certainly the big draw for audiences, the week is filled out with plenty of other races. Drivers of motorcycles, utility task vehicles and stock cars will all have the chance to earn their stripes. During the first two days, King of the Motos – a motocross race – is run. There are 60 riders who competed on Feb. 1 to secure their start position the following day. Two at a time, competitors raced over 40 miles of desert track followed by another 40 miles of the trying rocky terrain.
Feb. 4 and 5 will feature the qualifying rounds for the main competition, including a Last Chance Qualifier race for the final spots in the King of the Hammers Race. Later on Feb. 5, audiences will get a chance to see the UTVs – two- or four-person off-road vehicles – tackle a 114-mile course that will include both high speeds in the desert portion and technical rock courses.
Finally, starting in the early morning of Feb. 7, drivers will compete to be named King of the Hammers. Drivers are given 14 hours to compete the nearly 200-mile course. Of course, not every vehicle will make it to the end of the race. In fact, only 27 out of 129 cars finished the 2013 race.
An eye on security
The 2014 King of the Hammers Race is expecting teams from eight countries and 31 states on top of the tens of thousands of spectators that will be in attendance. For many, this race is a yearly pilgrimage to be made each year from all across the country.
Because of the huge number of people expected, it’s essential that all attendees take the utmost care when it comes to security. Any valuables brought along need to be kept in a portable safe or lockbox.
When looking for the appropriate mini safe, it’s important to find one that is both extremely secure and easy to transport. Drivers should look for one that has enough room for their valuables – like important documents, cash, electronics or firearms – without taking up a huge amount of space in their car or RV.
Though Jeep storage is not always as secure and spacious as many drivers require, there are plenty of options to ensure that all valuables are safe. For example, a lockable storage box is a great addition to existing trunk space, as it can hold larger items that need extra protection.
Those who are attending this year’s King of the Hammers Race are going to enjoy themselves and watch tough cars tackle everything that Mother Nature can throw at them, so keeping their personal belongings secure will help make sure they have confidence that anything they leave with their truck will be there when they return at the end of the day.