2018 King of The Hammers Lived Up to its Grueling Reputation

King of the Hammers, Jason Zindroski
Photo: Jason Zindroski

The Nitto King of the Hammers presented by ULTRA 4 is widely considered to be the toughest most demanding one-day off-road race on the planet. You have to be a sick demented person to put yourself through it, and that’s just for spectating. At a distance, the backdrop of KOH is actually quite beautiful, mountains, wide open valleys, and perfect clouds make for dramatic sunsets. But once you get to the makeshift city of Hammertown, it’s all business. King of The Hammers takes place in the middle of desolate Johnson Valley in Landers, CA,  where the days are hot and the nights are colder.

King of the Hammers, Jason Zindroski
Photo: Jason Zindroski

Events included: the Schampa King of the Motos extreme motorcycle race; the Holley EFI Shootout Presented by KMC, King, & ASC where homebuilt rigs battle high dollar vehicles to be the fastest up huge vertical ledges; the fast-growing Can-Am KOH UTV Race Presented by HCR; the popular Smittybilt Everyman Challenge for limited class 4×4 vehicles; all leading up to the Nitto King of the Hammers Powered by Optima Batteries for unlimited 4×4 vehicles.


The course this year was exceptionally tough, over 200 miles long and consisted of 3 giant loops. The first loop was a throttle to the floor high-speed desert course. The last two courses were the most trying, with intense rock crawling and climbing proving much too difficult for the majority of the teams. With only 11 finishing in UTV race and 12 finishing the following day, it was no wonder why Friday’s race was tweaked for safety and overall a more competitive race. The week culminated with Friday’s climactic race between several competitors vying to be crowned: King of the Hammers.

King of the Hammers, Jason Zindroski
Photo: Jason Zindroski


2018 Nitto King of the Hammers – Jason Scherer
“We had the raw speed in the desert. We were trying to save it all the time in the rocks and that’s the balance and that’s the part that’s tricky. We fixed a transfer case in the car, but we never changed a tire. We didn’t have to stop for anything but fuel. It was flawless.”

Scherer put together a technically flawless race. Coming in he was the only King at KOH 2017 that hasn’t won the title twice and finished second in 2016. He is your 2018 King.

2018 Can-Am KOH UTV Race – Mitch Guthrie Jr

“I was trying to keep a level head. I won the race in Sledgehammer. CJ was ahead of us and he rolled it. We didn’t know if we could get by him because it was super tight, but we squeezed by him and that’s where we got the lead and then we had a clean run.”

Guthrie got redemption this year after consecutive losses in KOH 16 and 17. Gutrhrie is the most winning racer of the KOH UTV race.

2018 Smittybilt Every Man Challenge – Dan Fresh

2018 G2 4800 Legends – Casey Gilbert

Schampa King of The Motos Overall – Cody Webb

2018 Holley EFI Shootout Sponsored by KMC, King, and ASC – Ryan Webb





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