To survive the physics-defying off-road competition known as King of the Hammers, you need a touch truck and, apparently, a tough mustache.
In addition to his epic facial hair, Tom Wayes has the skills to pilot a vehicle up a seemingly impassable stretch of rock. Called Backdoor, it requires trucks to literally climb by going vertical, their front wheels clawing for traction on the surface.
That kind of specialized racing requires a specialized vehicle. King of the Hammers is dominated by mutant trucks that combine the suspension flexibility of rock-crawling rigs with the outright speed needed to stay competitive on the race's less-technical sections.
King of the Hammers takes place every February on public lands in Johnson Valley, California, and combines the rock crawling seen in the above video with desert racing. While it started out as an informal gathering of off-roaders competing for beer, the organizers reckon the race attracted more than 300 teams and around 35,000 for 2014.
Although Wayes put in an impressive performance--including driving with a flat tire and climbing over two stalled vehicles--Loren Healy won the overall 2014 King of the Hammers title.
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- King of the Hammers