If you unknowingly happened upon the 2016 King of the Hammers (KOH) race held in Johnson Valley, California, you might think you stumbled through a wormhole time port and landed in a post-apocalyptic desert world. Every February, a circus-like tent village is erected in Means Dry Lake and is surrounded by RVs, trailers, 4x4s, and diehard off-road enthusiasts. It’s affectionately known as Hammertown. In the early years, the KOH race was dominated by competitors who run what they brung. Today, the race is filled with purpose-built race vehicles, some costing as much as $400,000. Even the Everyman Challenge and Legends classes have become too competitive for the average off-road enthusiast to do anything more than dream of standing on the podium. With this year’s attrition rate of about 70 percent during the main race, you certainly couldn’t have much hope of even finishing without a fully prepped car and team.

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