Over the past few years, King of the Hammers, Ultra 4’s marquee event, has expanded from rock crawling to desert racing with the Toyo Tires Desert Invitational. After initially focusing on the T1 unlimited trucks, the 2021 edition of the event blows past years out of the water by expanding to half a dozen divisions and adding some unique head-to-head showdowns.
Referred to in the regulations as T2, B1, B2, and B3, this year’s Desert Invitational welcomes spec trucks, Class 1 and 10 buggies, and UTVs (respectively) to the proceedings under a unique format. After a Saturday morning qualifying session, the B2 and B3 vehicles will face off in their own event that afternoon, before T2 and B1 go head-to-head and T1 trucks have their moment in the sun on Sunday afternoon. Saturday night will also feature a Class 11 race.
Many of the expected front-runners in all divisions have run KOH in the past, whether in the Desert Invitational or the long-established Ultra 4, Every Man Challenge, or UTV races. Last year’s T1 Desert Invitational saw Bryce Menzies and Luke McMillin take the top two spots, as only six racers of the 16 who started the weekend managed to complete all three laps of the race. Both will be back, as will Andy McMillin, Bobby Pecoy, and Cameron Steele, each of whom will look to avenge last year’s DNFs.
All five classes have drawn double-digit entries, with the T2 trucks attracting the largest numbers at 23. For many of these entries, this weekend will mark their first race outing of the season, but a handful of others have already scored podium finishes at other major events. Travis Williams (T2), Brent Fox (B2), and Kaden Wells (B3) all scored class victories in the inaugural Legacy Racing Association event in Pahrump, while Kyle Jergensen (T2) and Williams were also class podium finishers as Best in the Desert opened up its season a week later with the Parker 425.
If any class stands to produce an interesting mix, though, it’s the UTVs. Alongside their head-to-head showdown with the Class 10s, Saturday will provide an opportunity to see how short course and KOH UTV standout Kyle Chaney stacks up against defending SCORE overall champion Matt Burroughs, defending BITD UTV Turbo champion Phil Blurton, defending BITD UTV Production runner-up Wells, and 2020 Mint 400 UTV Pro Turbo winner Branden Sims.
Full entry lists for the 2021 Toyo Tires Desert Invitational are below:
T1 (Unlimited Truck)
T2 (Spec Truck)
B1 (Class 1 Buggy)
B2 (Class 10 Buggy)
|1010||ROBERT KENT WILLIAM MCBEATH|
|1047||JARED L TEAGUE|
|1065||DAVE MASON JR.|
The Toyo Tires Desert Invitational at King of the Hammers kicks off on Saturday morning with tech, contingency, and qualifying, while the B2 vs. B3 Grudge Match goes green at 11AM and the EMPI Class 11 Showdown caps off the day at 7PM. Sunday’s B1/T2 Battle on the Lake Bed and Toyo Tires T1 Desert Challenge will begin at 10AM.