It’s day two of competition, I’m now in chase mode. Jim Mardsen is on his final lap, and I’ve been tracking his checkpoint times since the beginning. If my math is correct, I should catch Jim within the next 12 minutes at CP-B. Camera in hand, I stand in position, and count the time.
Roughly six minutes goes by, and the vicious roar of an engine is heard in the distance. Alright, so I was a bit off with my math, but at least I didn’t get here late. As the sweet sound of Ultra4 music got closer, it became clear it wasn’t one engine I was hearing. And just like that, the two brand new Ultra4 racing machines, piloted by Lucky Dog Racing’s Levi Shirley and O.R.A.’s Rob Butler, come flying by. The last time I caught these guys was at the start of the race, the day before. I couldn’t stop smiling.
While the entire Ultra4 field was plagued with the new course blues, Levi and Rob had a few extra surprises to content with. It was the maiden voyage for these two new vehicles, dubbed the Eurofighter, which were built by Rob Butler’s shop O.R.A. (that’s Offroad-Armoury). They are works of art, boasting a clean mid-engine lightweight design that is just down right sexy. It’s the machine that caught everyone’s eye, knowing full well it’s just a matter of time before these beasts are catching your rear bumper. Their race to win will be here… this race just wasn’t the one.
The new car gremlins were small, by most standards, but enough to pull anyone off their game. I’d venture to say the virtually zero hours of sleep Levi and crew got leading up to race day didn’t help much either. But such is racing, such is building the next best thing, such is Ultra4. Despite all of that, Levi was all smiles, pushed it harder than anyone could ever expect, and held his chin up high. Levi’s committed to racing all four Ultra4 European challenges… consider this one his warmup.