Lakebed Dust Bowl: King of the Hammers 2022

King of the Hammers 2022 is in the books and this year's event goes to show why this needs to be on the top of every off-road enthusiasts bucket list.
The King of Hammers race rally vehicle on a rocky hillside.
King of the Hammers brings people to the middle of the desert, but creates moments like this. Steven Olsewski

The first event many off-roaders look to attend at the beginning of the year brings them to a lakebed in Johnson Valley, California. Ultra 4 Racing’s King of the Hammers can only be described for those that have never been as Burning Man meets off-road.

This year’s event left nothing to spare, and with the pandemic causing chaos across the globe, off-road enthusiasts have been itching to get back in the dirt. King of the Hammers this year had a different feel to it, not because of what was happening, but by the number of people on the lakebed the entire week.

Heading out to the lakebed the Sunday before the 4400 race for the T1 race, we were second-guessing ourselves on what day it was. The number of people on the lakebed that early in the week was something we had never seen before.

Race of Kings 2022 racing vehicle.
Raul Gomez on his way to winning the Race of Kings. Steven Olsewski

It was packed and seemed like the Friday before the main race with camps filled with RVs and trailers as far as the eye could see into the dust. There was little to no wind all week on the lakebed, and the dust hindered visibility.

The temperature was warmer than years past, but it was still cold and in the upper 20s in the morning. Being that cold ruined some racers days due to their cooling system freezing.

4400 race Can-Am
The 4400 race is known for the unlimited cars, but Can-Am has been showing they can compete at the high level as well. Steven Olsewski

With the world being shut down due to the pandemic for the last two years, enthusiasts were ready to see racing and all the manufacturers. Hammertown was packed with vendors all week long, and many took the time to show off new products for the industry.

From new products to new vehicles walking around the gates of Hammertown, you could see it all. For those who braved the cold early before the race, spectators could walk around and see all the vehicles being staged for the day’s race.

This year’s racing action was top-notch once again, with a couple of twists that just added to the event. Once that garnered a lot of interest was the UTV Grudge Match, which took the top 20 in the field, restacked them in the opposite order they finished, and then raced four laps for a chance to win $10,000.

Bronco Arch at the King of Hammers race.
Kyle Jergensen crossed under the Bronco arch during his winning run during the T1 race. Steven Olsewski

If you cannot make it out to the lakebed for King of the Hammers, one thing that is done better than any event in the industry is the live coverage. You are able to sit on your couch and watch the races all week long. The shots are always great from standing cameras, helicopters, and a massive drone fleet.

Overall it was one of the best King of the Hammers in recent years, and if it is any indication on them to come, as an off-roader or enthusiast, it remains a bucket list event.

A racing truck on a dirt and rocky track.
There was plenty of dust kicked up all week on the lakebed. Steven Olsewski

For a complete list of results, be sure to visit Ultra 4’s website, but you can see the Top 10 in each race below:

Desert Challenge Limited Race

Desert Challenge Limited Race chart.
The Desert Challenge Limited race results. King of the Hammers

Class 11 Race

Class 11 Race chart
Class 11 race results. King of the Hammers

Desert Challenge Unlimited Race

Desert Challenge Unlimited Race chart
The Desert Challenge Unlimited Race results. King of the Hammers

UTV Race

UTV Race chart
King of the Hammers UTV Race results. King of the Hammers

UTV Grudge Match

UTV Grudge Match chart
UTV Grudge Match race results. King of the Hammers

Everyman Challenge Race

Everyman Challenge Race chart
Everyman Challenge race results. King of the Hammers

4400 Race

4400 Race chart
King of the Hammers 4400 race results. King of the Hammers