Much of the year, Means Dry Lake is a lonely, quiet place that either bakes in the summer sun or silently shudders in winter’s windy chill. Then there’s King of the Hammers week, where Means Dry Lake’s population jumps from zero to tens of thousands. Like prospectors swarming a new gold strike, off-roaders flocked to Means to be part of King of the Hammers. For a chilly week in February, Means Dry Lake became Hammertown, USA.
King of the Hammers started out as an underground invitation-only trail run. The concept was simple: to see who could run the Hammer Trails the fastest, as well as the open desert sections that separated them (the trails). The winning rig wouldn’t be an old-school creepy-crawly rock buggy, and it definitely wouldn’t be plucked from any traditional desert racing class. Instead, a successful KOH rig needed to combine the two disciplines into a package that was rock-tough and desert-fast.
KOH 2011 included a couple of firsts, and a significant second. Perhaps the biggest "first" was the christening of the main pit area as "Hammertown," an RV-and-tent city complete with signed streets. That shows just how big KOH has become. Even with the street signs, it was still easy to get lost in Hammertown, a place so extensive that it grew its own suburbs. The next big "first" was that the winning rig of Shannon Campbell didn’t have a solid front axle. There were A-arms and CV joints leading the way. What’s the big "second?" This is the second time Campbell has worn the KOH crown. After a couple of frustrating years, Campbell put together a run that bested second place by a big fat half-hour. Campbell may be King of the Hammers, but he’s also Hammertown’s first mayor. Nicely done! OR