By on February 1, 2021


King of the Hammers returned to Johnson Valley, California for a week of racing, featuring the largest desert racing purse: $270,000. That was doled out to winners in T1, T2, B1, B2, B3, and Class 11 vehicles.


T1, the unlimited desert racing truck class, was won by Bryce Menzies, piloting the Mason Motorsports 4WD truck. Menzies qualified first for Sunday’s Toyo Desert Challenge, leading from flag-to-flag in his Red Bull/Toyo Tires machine, netting $50,00o for his efforts. Cameron Steele finished second, only 14 seconds ahead of Kyle Jergensen.

Running sealed crate engines with horsepower limitations, the top finishers in T2 still beat the B1 buggies, due to their increased rear-wheel travel. Dustin Grabowski outran Pierce Herbst and Brad Lovell to take home $10,000 and the class win.


B1s are unlimited class buggies, B2 buggies use rear-mounted, four-cylinder Ecotec spec engines, and B3 buggies are UTVs such as Can-Am Maverick X3s. Cody Parkhouse was the fast qualifier in B1, but mechanical issues sidelined him, allowing Ray Griffith to take the victory in B1, and the $10,000 check. Casey Currie finished second, and Adam Lunn rounded out the B1 podium, sharing driving duties with RJ Anderson in his new Racer Engineering buggy.


There exists a B2 versus B3 grudge match, stemming from the UTVs starting behind the B2 buggies even if they qualify faster. Four of the top five qualifiers were B2 buggies, which foretold the outcome of the race-within-the-race, with only seven of the 39 entries finishing prior to the eight-hour cutoff time. While the desert race doesn’t use the boulders found in the Hammers trails, there were enough obstacles to provide an advantage to the B2s, with their taller tires and additional shocks. The 4WD capabilities of B3s usually give them the nod where there’s limited traction, but this wasn’t the case after heavy rains the week prior washed away the silt along the Johnson Valley OHV Area’s 304-mile course.

First across the finish line were three single-seat B2 cars, with Wheeler Morgan taking home the victory and $60,000, $50,00o of which was for the overall win. Kyle Cheney was the top B3 finisher in a Can-Am Maverick X3, 45 minutes behind Morgan, winning $10,000 as the top B3.

The Desert Challenge began a week of competition followed by the King of the Motos on Tuesday, the UTV King of the Hammers on Thursday, the Every Man Challenge on Friday, and culminating with the King of the Hammers on Saturday, February 6th, pitting unlimited 4WD vehicles against some of the most challenging terrain to be found anywhere.

[Images: King of the Hammers]

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