For most, a trip out to watch King of The Hammers is action enough. Drifting pro Vaughn Gittin Jr. packed a ton more action into his first King of The Hammers – he showed up, raced it, and placed 10th!
Past winners of KOH, Loren Healy, Shannon Campbell, and Erik Miller, have a unique drive to win KOH again. This 5-minute episode delves into what makes them tick and what the journey looks like for them.
If you thought you'd already seen every angle of Johnson Valley with our first 2016 KOH Main Race Day Gallery, well, you didn't. Here's a bonus gallery of 15 new photos to give you an even more exclusive look into that day.
How to finish first in the world’s toughest one-day off-road race without changing a tire? Find out what gives Trail Grapplers tires the competitive edge at King of The Hammers.
Anatomy of a Winning Tire: How Trail Grapplers Conquer the World’s Toughest Terrain at KOH
There’s no other sport that demands so much out of a tire than off-road racing. Whether you’re racing or wheeling off-road recreationally, you want to be sure you can trust your tires to get you where you want to go… and back safely. At the 2016 King of The Hammers, widely known as the toughest one-day off-road race on Earth, Erik Miller powered through the desert and rocks for over seven and a half hours until finally coming through the finish line first. Three other Nitto Tire teammates joined him in the Top 5 finishers running on Nitto Trail Grapplers. Find out what gives this tire the competitive edge on this grueling terrain as we head into KOH 2017:
The position and tremendous tread depth of the center lugs in accordance to the outer tread allow the tire to stay firmly planted at high speeds in the desert. This is critical in off-road race cars that frequently hit triple-digit speeds. The tread pattern not only provides the stability to keep the cars tracking straight at speed, but also work to ensure increased cornering grip while cutting through the fast-pace desert trails.
No other M/T has the uniformity of the Trail Grappler. Not only will your tire shop workers be impressed by how balanced these tires are from the start, but out during King of The Hammers, you'll get more horsepower translated to the ground, less strain on other vehicle components and a smoother ride, resulting in less driver fatigue.
As a comprehensive mud-terrain radial, each lug of the Trail Grappler is fit with well-defined leading edges. This proven tread design works to aid in traction both on-road and off. In rocky desert conditions, like Johnson Valley’s notorious Hammer trails, the wide variety of leading edges allow the tire to grip and propel the vehicle with great ease.
Just as durable as the Trail Grappler’s tread are its 3-ply radial-banded sidewalls. Even at the low tire pressures many racers run for the race, the sidewalls are designed to absorb and deflect incoming terrain. When it comes to sidewall strength, it doesn’t get any stronger than the Trail Grappler — a fact that has been proven time and time again by KOH competitors and champions.
Running throughout the outer lugs are kickout bars designed to eject debris that may get lodged in-between the tread. While most effective in mud, they work equally as well in rocky terrain to keep the tread clear.
There's an element of style that's unique to the Trail Grappler, but did you know that sidewall design can help you keep moving in the dirt? When aired down and in spots that traction is at a minimum, the extra-pattern adds another layer of protection and performance to the tire.
Find out available Trail Grappler sizes and more for your next off-road adventure at NittoTire.com.
After Bailey Campbell's first attempt during last year's toughest endurance off-road race, she finished 5th at the 2016 King of The Hammers. Find out all about her rise to awesomeness!
Meet the 19 Year Old Who Just Became the 1st Woman to Finish King of The Hammers in the Top 5
If you haven’t heard the name Bailey Campbell yet, you’d better go ahead and Rolodex it in your brain. At 19 years of age, Bailey just became the first female driver to ever finish King of The Hammers in the top 5, widely known as the toughest one-day off-road race on Earth.
People involved in the Ultra4 and off-road racing world may know Bailey as the daughter of Shannon Campbell and third part of the Campbell Racing team, following older-brother Wayland Campbell. But far from just inheriting the role as off-road racer, Bailey has sought after and worked hard for it.
Wheeling recreationally and racing are two completely different worlds – something Bailey found out during her very first off-road race. Driving brother Wayland’s car at a 2013 Dirt Riot race in Moab, she crashed. Rather than let the failure deter her, Bailey kept on at it.
Soon enough the car Shannon had been building for fishing trips was being altered to fit Bailey’s small stature so that she could begin competing in Ultra4 like her dad and brother. There’d be no free ticket for racing though, Bailey had to get in, work at the shop and pay her dues. She’d be taught the vehicle tear-down and prep required before and after each race until she was proficient enough to do it on her own. She now works six days a week at Campbell Enterprises – learning and working on not just her own race car but the other off-road machines fabricated there as well.
In 2014 Bailey would try out racing just a couple Ultra4 races – the first one being Badlands, a challenging course filled with wooded areas and known for always being muddy and wet. She certainly didn’t have the most competitive of the unlimited 4400 cars in the bunch, but she was playing with the big boys and navigating her way through the rules of racing, gaining valuable seat time before her first attempt at King of The Hammers (KOH).
Far longer than any other Ultra4 race, KOH tests both the car and drivers endurance and historically has only about a 13% finish rate. In 2015 the race course covered 215 miles of the harshest terrain in Johnson Valley, California. With just two shorter races under her belt and still attending high school, Bailey endeavored to be the first female (and amongst the youngest) KOH finishers.
Over 10 hours after starting, Bailey came through the main pits to begin her third and final lap. Although she only had 4 hours to officially complete the race, she decided to continue on into the dark night to tackle some of the toughest rock trails. Six hours later an exhausted Bailey drove through the finish line after 16 hours of racing. While her finish was unofficial, she refused to let that make her give up and stop.
That drive carried her through the 2015 racing season competing in the Ultra4 National Championship. Each race brought more seat time and a very clear progression of driving ability to those who were watching. Grabbing 8th place at Glen Helen early in the season made some fellow racers, ones racing far longer than she and with more horsepower, take note. A couple races later Bailey took one for the team and towed her dad across the finish line at Fallon in order that they’d both get finishing points (in Ultra4 racers can’t receive any outside help, except that from fellow racers). The next race she beat dad again, finishing her best yet – in 6th to his 8th place. Her racing throughout 2015 earned her a National 8th place overall. A noteworthy achievement for your first real year racing, no matter what your age or gender.
Now in her second semester of college, attending at night so she can keep up with work in the shop, Bailey returned to the 2016 King of The Hammers with her sights set on a finish. With a full year of racing under her belt and the knowledge gained from completing the course once before, Bailey Campbell knew what she needed to do.
More than any other race, KOH brings out all the competitors. Where some of the smaller events may just have 50 drivers, KOH has over 100. And while the course covers a ton of miles, getting stuck behind other racers can mean low-visibility and getting hung up in rock trail back-ups. Bailey knew she needed to be aggressive to qualify well and get out ahead of the pack early. Starting in 33rd position put her in good standing to start inching towards the front early.
Throughout the race, Bailey maintained momentum and continued moving forward in position. Within a few hours she stood 14th out of a field of 110 and was the only female driver in the bunch. Passing dad Shannon at the start of Lap 3, where he was stopped fixing a broken rear axle, Bailey kept decreasing the distance between she and the lead. Eventually she caught up to her brother Wayland, who was stopped on Sledgehammer trail with a broken driveshaft.
“I’ve always had a consistent pace with all my races, so I think that helped a lot. I was consistent in the rocks. I had an average speed of at least 65 [mph] all day long. I think the consistency really helped me...,” recounts Bailey.
Unable to hold off Dad and Raul Gomez with their far more powerful cars (Shannon’s Dragon Slayer clocks in at 800hp in comparison to Baileys 500-and-some-change), Bailey’s final race leg served up a battle between she and Jason Shipman for 5th place. Pushing her straight-axle car as hard as she could, Bailey tore through the finish line at 16:53:18. Physically about 30 seconds behind Shipman, Bailey had him on elapsed time by a good 4 minutes. Coming in with her personal best finish yet, not only was she just the third woman ever to finish the 4400 class of King of The Hammers, but she was the first in the Top 5 as she earned a 5th place finish!
With family and friends exchanging emotional congratulations at the finish, Bailey is visibly exhausted and exhilarated at the same time, saying, “My back’s a little sore, but I couldn’t be happier with 5th place. It’s crazy… I’m pretty proud, I kicked ass.”
Asking whether this finish changes her goals for the coming year, Bailey doesn’t hesitate a second in answering, “Oh yeah, it changes my goals a lot. I’ll definitely keep my car together for every single race, but it makes me want to prep my car harder. Even though I didn’t have any mechanical issues this time, I want to be one step ahead of myself every race now.”
You’re certain to see much more of a Bailey Campbell – at just 19 years old with a full year and now a 5th place King of The Hammers finish under her belt, who knows what this gal will do next!
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