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Fit for a King — 2014 4 Wheel Parts Glen Helen Grand Prix

July 16th2014
 By Thom Kingston on 2014-07-16T09:04:30-06:00 | Glen Helen Grand Prix

Fit for a King -- 2014 4 Wheel Parts Glen Helen Grand Prix
Spidertrax | Thom Kingston | CC BY 3.0

History was made, yet again, in the world of Ultra4 racing. Last weekend marked the 7th installment for the 2014 Ultra4 season, the 4 Wheel Parts Glen Helen Grand Prix, a venue that started in 2011 and was marked, even then, as the next big thing. It was such a massive deal at the time I saved the original drivers list ( http://bit.ly/2011gpx ), confident that what had just gone down was a mark in Ultra4 history. We had, get this, 38 racers scheduled to take the field in 2011. The sheer idea of having 38 racers make their way to a debut race was an insane number… at the time anyway. Last weekend, we had 120 drivers qualifying for the top spots of Glen Helen. It was less than a month ago when we marked the MetalCloak Stampede as the largest Ultra4 race outside of King of the Hammers, best to update your notebooks on that one. Glen Helen now has that top honor.

Yes, its pretty amazing, but for me personally this wasn’t the big story. For those following our posts, you should have caught our tease before July 4th weekend, hinting about Loren Healy’s soon to be released IFS Ultra4 racer. I’d venture to say Loren’s mission to build the next best IFS machine was the quietest, most secretive, build we’ve seen in some time. It was a project that we were part of well before this years King of the Hammers, and one that wasn’t debuted until the King was absolutely ready. Although Loren had virtually zero seat time prior to Glen Helen, the little bit of time he did have during that July 4th weekend made one thing very clear. This was the going to be a big deal.

Loren Healy took everything he learned from his first IFS racer… and started from scratch. This unique forward engine IFS Ultra4, built in a style similar to a Pro 4, took every aspect of Loren’s previous IFS machine and made it many times better. Equipped with a high strength & lightweight Spidertrax Spider 9 IFS & solid rear axle, the beautifully crafted front & rear suspension of Armada Engineering, and clean chassis work we’ve come to expect from Jimmy’s 4×4, Loren’s new IFS has more front and rear suspension travel, tighter steering, better weight distribution (just 14 lbs off from passenger to driver side), more power, a bigger footprint even though it looks much smaller than his previous machine… all while weighing in 1,000 pounds lighter! I spent my Saturday morning with Loren, going over all the final dimensions, specs, and weights before the kickoff of the first preliminary race. I was, dare I say, geeking out over this new creation… and at that point in the weekend this machine was still very much a quiet release.

Loren would qualify 1st on Friday, take 1st in Saturday’s preliminary race, and take 1st in the main race by what amounted to be a significant margin. For an Ultra4 machine that is fresh out of the box, without an ounce of shock tuning, in the largest Ultra4 race outside of King of the Hammers… this didn’t go unnoticed. Drivers are getting copious amounts of seat time these days, thanks in large part to the plethora of Ultra4 races from coast to coast, so the field of driver talent is getting bigger & better every venue. Going back to the machine, so as to find that next best mechanical edge to win, is still a hot place to be. Loren has done that, in a big way, and it’s only the beginning for the new IFS creation. A huge congrats to Loren for winning Glen Helen, for the 2nd time now, and upping the bar yet again in Ultra4 racing.

Of course, we have more racing stories to share and will do so, in typical fashion, as the week goes by. Till next time.