Desert Challenge Aaron Linkous DSC

Monster Energy Athletes Bring Home the Hardware in King of the Hammers Desert Challenge

UTV class win for Dustin Jones, multiple podiums for Terrible Herbst Motorsports

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When the finish line closed over the weekend in the return of the Toyo Tires Desert Challenge presented by Monster Energy at King of the Hammers, Monster Energy athletes had their hands on some of the most coveted hardware in the sport. The Terrible Herbst Motorsports team scored two class podiums in the Unlimited race, with Tim Herbst finishing second in T1 and Thor Herbst coming home third in T2, while Dustin Jones headed up the B3 Desert UTV Stock class in Limited action in the opening round of the Unlimited Off-Road Racing Triple Crown.

Desert Challenge Larry Chen LG

Since its inception, the Toyo Tires Desert Challenge presented by Monster Energy has been one of the most unique events in the sport, mixing elements of KOH’s signature rock racing with traditional desert competition. That challenge was no match for the Terrible Herbst team, though, which brought a multi-truck fleet to Hammertown and scored finishes with each. Tim Herbst’s T1 truck completed two laps of the course in 3:28:41 to take second in the division, while Thor Herbst brought the #219 T2 machine home in 3:32:19 to complete the podium.

Desert Challenge Aaron Linkous DSC

But Pierce and EJ Herbst weren’t too far off of those times in the other two Terrible Herbst T2 machines, with Pierce ranking seventh in class at 3:40:43 and EJ just missing the top 10 with a 3:45:36. Just behind them, Cameron Steele’s switch to T2 with the #6116 Desert Assassins truck saw him finish 12th in the division, as Steele makes his annual pursuit of as many KOH podiums as possible.

Desert Challenge Larry Chen LG

The Limited race for UTVs, cars, and trucks preceded the Unlimited action, and Monster racers maintained their spots up front in that as well in a crowded field. Jones started third on the day after a stellar run in the Prologue to bring home the Desert UTV Stock class win with a time of 4:17:15, while Phil Blurton added a third place finish in Desert UTV Pro Mod at 4:18:31. Other prominent Monster-backed finishers in the Limited race included MMA legend Cowboy Cerrone, who came home 11th in Desert UTV Open, and Matt Burroughs, who rounded out the Pro Mod top 10.

Desert Challenge Larry Chen LG

The Toyo Tires Desert Challenge presented by Monster Energy marks the first of three rounds of the inaugural Unlimited Off-Road Racing Triple Crown, a cross-promotion between King of the Hammers, the Mint 400, and the California 300 to form a new premier desert racing championship. Each event will welcome one another’s race classes throughout the 2023 season as entrants across all divisions go for the inaugural Triple Crown title.

King of the Hammers continues all week from Hammertown in Johnson Valley, CA, culminating with the UTV Hammers Championship, Every Man Challenge, and Race of Kings. Be sure to follow along with live coverage as Monster Energy athletes will be going for race wins all event long!

Chris Leone

A veteran of the motorsports industry (both physical and digital), Chris Leone contributes coverage of race events of all types to Off-Road Racer. Elsewhere, he is the marketing/communications manager at iRacing, media director of Jim Beaver's Down & Dirty Show, and a frequent contributor to UTV Underground.

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