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Toyo Tires Desert Challenge presented by Monster Energy: Race Preview

After the exciting return of King of the Motos last weekend, King of the Hammers welcomes four-wheel classes to racing action this weekend with the return of the Toyo Tires Desert Challenge presented by Monster Energy on Saturday and Sunday. 225 entries of the nearly 1,000 who signed up for this year’s event are registered across the various divisions, with hopes of knocking off race winners Kyle Jergensen (T1), Christopher Polvoorde (T2), and Adam Ray Lunn (B1).

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This year, the Toyo Tires Desert Challenge presented by Monster Energy at King of the Hammers is part of the Unlimited Off-Road Racing Triple Crown, a partnership between King of the Hammers and the Martelli Brothers to create a massive new off-road racing championship. The event joins March’s Mint 400 and October’s California 300 as the first of three events on the schedule, and marks the renewal of a relationship between the Martellis and KOH founder Dave Cole that saw them cross-promote each other’s events in 2018 as well.

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As part of the relationship, KOH will see an expanded desert entry list with more classes in action, while the Mint 400 and California 300 will also welcome the various KOH classes. KOH’s desert class lists remain slightly more broad—for example, both Class 6200 and Class 10 buggies compete together in its B2 division—but Unlimited Off-Road Racing Triple Crown registrants will score points within their desert divisions. Race finishers will earn 25 points, and class winners will earn 100 points.

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If this weekend’s entry lists are any indication, the Triple Crown is off to a terrific start. The T1 class headlines the action with some of the biggest names in the sport, including Jergensen, Casey Currie, Tim Herbst, Ryan Arciero, Tracy Graf, and Dale Dondel. A similarly deep T2 lineup features names like Polvoorde, Thor, EJ, and Pierce Herbst, Dustin Grabowski, Nick Isenhouer, Cameron Steele, and Conner McMullen, while the B1 class adds to the top-level names with Lunn and Dave Mason Jr. coming to play.

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The B3 UTV division, meanwhile, reads like a who’s who of the sport. From Mitch Guthrie Jr., Seth Quintero, and AJ Jones returning to American soil after impressive performances at the Dakar, to veteran names like Phil Blurton, Branden Sims, Sara Price, Sierra Romo, and Austin Weiland, to the father-son duo of Robby and Max Gordon, expect plenty of compelling battles throughout the event.

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The Toyo Tires Desert Challenge presented by Monster Energy kicks off on Saturday with tech and contingency at 7AM and the Prologue for all classes at 8AM. The Prologue will be immediately followed by the Terra Crew 1400/1450 Rush and Baja Jerky Class 11 Showdown presented by EMPI for some of the sport’s most fun and approachable race classes. On Sunday, the Limited classes will do battle from 8AM to 12PM, while the Unlimited T1, T2, and B1 divisions will get their race started at 12:30PM.

Images via King of the Hammers

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.