TOYO Tires Desert Challenge Logo

Photo: Paolo Balardi

JOHNSON VALLEY, Calif. (Jan. 26, 2024) – The 2024 Toyo Tires Desert Challenge Presented byMonster Energy is one of the growing feature races of the Progressive King of the Hammers Presented by Nitto and Powered By OPTIMA Batteries. The two day event kicks off Saturday, January 27, beginning with the prologue for all desert classes, followed by the 1400/1450 Rush Race, then the Baja Vida Class 11 Showdown Presented by EMPI.

Two-time Unlimited Race winner in T1, Kyle Jergensen (#6147), returns this year to take on a new challenge in the T2 class and trade classes with last year’s T2 class winner, Christopher Polvoorde (#94), making the jump to T1 in a brand new, all-wheel-drive, 1000 horsepower truck, rocking a fresh OPTIMA Batteries livery. Open Desert legends, Terrible Herbst Motorsports have three entries in this year’s events with EJ Herbst (#263) and Thor Herbst (#219) in T2 and Tim Herbst (#19) represented in T1.

The highly competitive B3 class sees the return Brandon Sims (#1069), the 2023 first place finisher in B3 – Desert UTV Open and second place finisher overall, which proves how far the performance envelope is being pushed in modern UTVs. A new addition to the Desert UTV Open Class, Ian Kennedy (#2931), has skipped spring training this year in Major League Baseball as a pitcher for the Texas Rangers and is on the lakebed ready to take on the open desert.

197 and counting race trucks, buggies, and UTVs will tackle the 35-mile condensed portion of the racecourse to establish their starting order for Sunday’s two lap main events. The first competitor off of the line at the Prologue will take off at 8:00am PST in the B2 class followed by the UTV classes (B3), B4, T4, 1400/1450, T1, B1 then finally the T2 class. Nearly half of the field will be in a UTV, highlighting the ever-growing segment of competitors utilizing these versatile machines. 

Following Saturday’s Prologue, the Baja Vida Class 11 Showdown Presented by EMPI will head to the Melville Dry Lake to take on the same 35-mile course, but in near-stock Volkswagen Beetles, one of the most loved platforms in off-road racing. 32 competitors will compete in this year’s race giving participants an incredibly fun spectacle and the sounds of screaming 1600cc engines. 

Sunday’s Toyo Tires Desert Challenge Presented by Monster Energy is a two lap race, spanning 91 miles for each, and will be split into two races based on classes, with race one featuring the B2, B3, B4, T3 and T4 classes. Race two will include the highly competitive and anticipated T1, T2 and B1 classes, with some 1400/1450 class vehicles participating in the unlimited race. 

For the full race schedule, click here. To watch live tracking, scoring and the YouTube livestream, visit: 
About Hammerking Productions and King of the HammersKing of the Hammers (KOH) is the toughest two weeks of one-day off-road races in the world. Held annually in Johnson Valley, California, the race has evolved from a single race to feature over 1,000 competitors, 80,000 on-site fans and almost 3 million online viewers in 2023. King of the Hammers is most notable for its 4400 class unlimited horsepower four-wheel drive vehicles. Spanning two weeks of competition, King of the Hammers includes a diverse range of classes, such as Every Man Challenge, rapidly expanding desert classes, King of the Motos and kids’ classes. Hammerking Productions, the parent company of King of the Hammers, has produced eight full-length feature films chronicling King of the Hammers races. It has also created an eight-part Rookie Program series titled “Quest” on the King of the Hammers YouTube channel and produces the annual live show, all in-house. These award-winning films and short series have significantly illuminated this racing discipline on a global scale.