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2015 King of The Hammers Course Map Overview

C39A8878 King of The Hammers already has the reputation of being the toughest one day off road race on the planet, and this year it gets even tougher with changes made to the course to accommodate the Marine base expansion in Johnson Valley. The 2015 course is 215 miles long, 30 miles longer than last year.  The entire section that had included Martel and Elvis had to be dropped from the course because that property is now off limits. A new loop has been added to the course this year, to the east of Remote Pit 1, runs through rough, remote terrain and includes a run up into the mountains and through Crowbar, where drivers will pass Checkpoint 2. The entrance to Crowbar is a steep and very slick waterfall called Ballerina Rock, named for the way your tires dance around looking for traction. The section through Devil’s Slide/Hell’s Gate and Sunbonnet Pass were also dropped this year and drivers will now go from Aftershock directly to Highway 20/19. As in previous years, Lap 3 will include a run through Spooners and Outer Limits. C39A9778 Sledgehammer, one of the original Hammers trails, is a new addition to the course this year. Drivers will come from Fissure Mountain and head down Sledgehammer before running up Jackhammer. For a look at Sledgehammer beyond the spectators area read our Sledgehammer trail ride article. Pit locations remain the same, with two remote pits and the main pit. The longest distance between pits is 23 miles. There is no direct access across the desert from Remote Pit 1 to Remote Pit 2, so the only way for pit crews to navigate from one to another is to head back out to Highway 247. Teams will either need to have three pit crews, or keep Remote Pit 1 in place and have the Main Pit crew travel to Remote Pit 2. 2015-King-of-the-Hammers-couse-map Drivers’ opinions on the new course have been mixed. While some shrug off the changes and say that newer technology requires tougher challenges, others have voiced some concerns about potential bottlenecks at Sledgehammer and Jackhammer if someone gets into trouble. More than ever before, managing the pit crews is going to be key to success this year. All agree that the new course is the best compromise that could be made, given the amount of land lost to the Marine base last year. Last year, only 32 of the 158 starting teams actually finished the course last year. With a longer and tougher course this year, more rocks and less open desert, it will be interesting to see how the 132 drivers fare in the 2015 Nitto King o fThe Hammers presented by 4 Wheel Parts. _MG_8980 The Qualifying Course was also brand new this year, and Dave Cole said it never had tires on it before he drove it. The steep, rocky and off-camber climb had many tires in the air and caused one driver, Mel Wade, to roll over and down the side of the hill. Wade made a heroic recovery and finished the course, sore but not injured. Other drivers incurred some damage during qualifying an it will be interesting to see if that plays out at all affecting the main day's race.

Stay tuned at today for LIVE video coverage of the 8+ hour race and social streaming of #KOH2015.

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