Roughly 167 miles worth of Mojave desert punishment provided the arena Feb. 5 for one of the most iconic off road, rock crawling, trophy truck endurance races in the nation.

It’s called the Nitto King of the Hammers, and this year it was 44 miles shorter.

Nonetheless, the race proved brutal and spectacular, and gave great spectacle to the encamped spectator-citizens of the dust crusted carnival that is King of The Hammers.

The legendary race, pitched each year by Unlimited Four Wheel Drive Racing, pits drivers and machines against one another in a contest ruled by desert heat, rocks, sand and desolation.

A small city crops up each year, turning the event into a sort of gearhead Burning Man, where fans hold concerts, parties, sell things and generally have a grand old time while watching the distance race.

This year, out front was Erik Miller, clocking in with an overall time of 7 hours, 30 minutes 55 seconds. 

Races like King of the Hammers are a testament to the popularity of off road sport. Not only do the drivers come out to compete, but the fans as well show their support and in fact community, by turning the event into a destination for hard core fans and motorsports enthusiasts.

Who knows, maybe one day in the future, both KOH and Burning Man will merge, giving the hippies some drive and the drivers some hippies.

Photo credit: Youtube