New for 2011: Spectator Education
New this year, Hammerking Productions partnered with the California Association of 4WD Clubs to create the largest education program any desert race fan has ever witnessed. All spectators entering King of the Hammers were asked to donate an entry fee of $10, which was good for the entire week and included camping. All told, the initiative raised $65,000. We’re told that 10 percent of the proceeds went to fund land use issues, and the remainder went to offset increased logistics needs of the event. Cal 4-Wheel members manned the entrance of the event, 24 hours per day, for five days. Spectators were given information that ensured that every attendee was aware of spectator areas and schedules.
|KOH 2011: The Top 5 |
|Name ||Start position ||Elapsed time |
|1. Shannon Campbell ||62 ||6:11:54 |
|2. Tony Pelligrino ||41 ||6:42:31 |
|3. Jason Scherer ||36 ||6:49:50 |
|4. Randy Slawson ||3 ||7:01:13 |
|5. Greg Adler ||1 ||7:09:40 |
The Future of KOH and Johnson Valley
We spent a few minutes on the phone with Dave Cole, president of Hammerking Productions, to pick his brain and understand what his organization has planned for King of the Hammers in the next five years. His response surprised us. Despite record-shattering attendance at the 2011 event, both by spectators and vendors, Hammerking and KOH are just beginning to capitalize on what could be the fastest growing form of motorsport in the U.S.
First and foremost, KOH is a business, Cole said, and we have to treat it as such. We’re set on producing the highest-caliber events the desert racing community has ever seen. To do so, we may find that our current venue (Johnson Valley) is the biggest limiting factor.
With so many variables outside of our control, such as BLM use permits, and spectator access to terrain and facilities, KOH has become a monster of an investment to pull together. What cost us $2,700 to permit in 2010 cost us nearly $40,000 in 2011and that’s just permits. The real game-changer that caused the fees to increase was the tragic California 200 off-road race.
Despite a grim outlook in Johnson Valley, Ultra 4 racing has a bright and economically stable future. Cole told us he expects their Reno, Nevada-based Stampede event to outgrow KOH in just three short years. You simply can’t expect to expand the fan experience, Cole said, without having things like hotels and restaurants nearby. FW