King of the HammersTuesday, 8th February 2022
8 feb 2022
Record Breaking King of the Hammers
Raul Gomez takes the final crown on the iconic, extreme race course in the Southern California desert
February 7, 2022 (Hammertown, CA) - Massive, record-breaking crowds gathered in the remote desert of Southern California and lined the infamous rock trails known as the Hammers as the final day of racing came to a close and a new King was crowned. The 16th annual Progressive King of the Hammers Powered by OPTIMA Batteries hosted the largest off-road race in the United States and now the world.
527 race teams took part in a series of what is considered the toughest one-day races on dirt. It all began 16 years ago with 12 friends racing for a bet on a course no one thought could be done in a day. That bet has now evolved into eight official races, fans watching on jumbotrons from around the course, nighttime concerts and unforgettable off-road experiences. An estimated 80,000 fans camped around Hammertown, the makeshift city built annually on a dry lakebed to support the racing.
King of the Hammers’ initial race, now known as the Nitto Race of Kings sparked a grassroots, world-wide phenomenon known as Ultra4 - unlimited four-wheel drive racing. The vehicles are able to tackle the demands of high-speed desert terrain yet climb and descend extreme rocky terrain that is seemingly impossible to conquer. This year’s winner, Raul Gomez was crowned King and took home the first place check for $67,000. This year’s prize purse topped $630,000 - the largest purse in the sport of off-road racing.
Raul Gomez of Gomez Brothers Racing took the final crown in the Nitto Race of Kings Powered by OPTIMA Batteries in front of cheering fans who had waited for a win from the well-known race team. Raul, his brothers Marcos and JP, and his son Darian have been fan favorites for years for their wild, no-holds-barred driving style. While popular with fans, that go for broke driving often left them short of the win. But this was their year.
Attrition was as high as ever in 2022, with the punishing courses delivering a finishing rate of 25-40% throughout the various races. While pulling up to the starting line takes guts and a tremendous effort, finishing is a truly a badge of honor.