That is a wrap on the 2024 King of the Hammers, multiple weeks of nonstop off-road racing in Johnson Valley. What is King of the Hammers? It is to be considered to be the toughest off-road race in North America, drawing in over 80,000 people over two weeks. Racers would find themselves driving all out through the harsh desert and navigating rocks the size of houses; it is, without a doubt, the toughest race of the year.
It all led up to the main event of the 2024 Nitto Race of Kings, where many gave it all, but it was Baja Designs driver JP Gomez who would be crowned “King” for the first time ever. After starting last place due to his DNF in qualifying, he passed every single competitor through one of the toughest race courses in KOH history.
JP Gomez Ultra 4 4400 race car is equipped with a Baja Designs 30-inch OnX6+ light bar with a race-legal RTL in the back. While he never needed his light bar during the race, the RTL was in full force, as his competitors could see it cut through the dust passing him on the race course.
The 2024 4WP Every Man Challenge (EMC) es. The 143-mile racecourse comprised a high-speed, rugged open desert lap followed by a second lap on tire-shredding rocky canyons. But it was Bailey-Cole who raced the factory Ford Bronco not only in the Everyman Challenge but also in the Race of Kings and the Desert Challenge. His Ford Bronco is equipped with Baja Designs XL80s on the A-Pillars. The XL80 is one of our favorite lights, emitting 9,500 lumens per light utilizing 80-watt LEDS; these lights cover Lighting Zones 1-4.
The Baja Vida Class 11 showdown has been a fan favorite for several years now, and for a good reason: the grassroots racing and driver lineup make for incredible racing despite lacking huge horsepower and suspension. This year was no different. A massive crowd gathered to watch this race, and as usual, the race did not disappoint; it was jam-packed and full of nonstop action. Blake Wilkey was yet again the winner of the Baja Vida Class 11 Showdown. After this race, it might be safe to say Blake Wilkey might hold the best and most consistent record for Class 11 racing with 48 races, 48 finishes, and 43 podiums.
But it wasn’t only racing at the 2024 King of the Hammers that made it so special; it was the community we cultivated there. One night we met up with our friends from Bad Lines Good Times for a night run and taco party in the desert 10 miles east of Hammers. We enjoyed hanging out and getting to know more people who run Baja Designs because, at the end of the day, there is nothing better than tacos and off-road adventures at night.
The 2024 King of the Hammers is done and dusted, and we were out on the lakebed for nearly three weeks, offering support to our racers and meeting new people. The 2024 King of the Hammers was undoubtedly an unforgettable experience, and we look forward to seeing what next year’s event has in store.