Back for 2020 is the incredibly popular Toyo Tire Desert Invitational Presented by Monster Energy. The biggest names in desert racing are competing for $125,00 in a visionary event. Desert racing in California? Only T1 trucks with no slower vehicles on the course? Huge purse? Only at King of the Hammers. These trucks don’t have to worry about scaling the rocks of Johnson Valley, but starting position is a serious issue when contending with blinding dust. T1 drivers will run a timed prologue one at a time to determine starting position for the main race later that day. Unlike most desert race qualifiers, rather than a two-mile short course this prologue will take place on a 40-mile loop comprised of actual race course. Teams will have very little time between the qualifier and main race to let their T1 trucks cool down and make any necessary repairs or changes before taking the green flag for the 300-mile race.
Who To Watch
- Luke McMillin – Last year’s Desert Invitational winner got his first big victory here where it counted the most.
- Rob MacCachren – Desert racing, short course, Ultra4 – MacCachren is arguably the greatest off-road driver of all time.
- Cameron Steel – The Baja 1000 winner and past KOH announcer is racing in every single race this year.
- Bryce Menzies – Now with two 4WD T1 trucks, Menzies will be bringing his brand-new Mason Motorsports truck.
T1 Desert Trucks
- T1 Desert Trucks NOT “Trophy Trucks”
- Just T1 trucks racing – competitors love it because they don’t have to deal with other vehicles and it’s a small amount of people racing
- Not a chase race, just like KOH. Unlike Baja or BITD where you can get outside assistance
- Unique to this race is to run the prologue in the morning and race that same day
- Cars must be prepped to race the same day, no separate setups for the prologue and the main race.
What does the race course look like?
The 2020 King of the Hammers Toyo Tire Desert Invitational has 3 identical laps, 100 miles each, for a grand total of 300 miles. The course is longer than last year.
Notable Drivers in the T1 Desert Trucks class
Bryce Menzies (#7)
- Racing a Mason truck
- Menzies has won races in all different series including TORC and LOORRS. He is the 2018 Mint 400 winner, the 2016 Red Bull Frozen Rush Champion and a three-time Baja 500 champ. In 2017, Bryce won every race during the Crandon World Cup becoming the first person to ever do so.
Luke McMillin (#83)
- Won 2019 KOH T1 Desert Trucks, hasn’t won any big desert races since.
- His father Mark is a five-time overall winner of the Baja 1000
- Has been racing Trophy Trucks since 2016.
- Luke’s brother. Has finished every Baja 1000 he has entered from his earliest days in a 1600 buggy.
- Dan is a top contender in the Trophy Truck class and has a competitive streak when it comes to racing against his younger brother Luke.
- Is 5x Baja 1000 champion– tied for most Baja 1000 Overall titles in a four-wheel vehicle in the history of the sport with five by the age of 29 (2006, 2009, 2011, 2014, 2015).
Raul Gomez (#90)
- Racing the Gomez Brothers T1 truck
- Ultra4 racer who became a T1 driver (still races UTV and 4400)
- Bought Cameron Steele’s Truck
- Co-driver is Terry Madden – previously co-drove with Levi Shirley and Bailey Campbell (most recently)
Cameron Steele (#16)
- Racing all races including Motos for KOH 2020
- Steele won the Baja 1000 in Nov. 2018. He’s also a successful commentator on ESPN/ABC/NBC/CBS and Speed network TV gigs.
- Rob MacCachren- MacCachren is arguably the best off-road driver of all time. He’s won over 200 off-road races including four editions of the Baja 1000. He’s competed in the KOH’s 4400 race as a co-driver on several occasions.
- Seven-time Desert Racing Champion, two-time Ironman Baja 1000 Champion.
Story and photos courtesy of ultra4racing.com