The Tale of Three Kings
Walking the pits last weekend at Ultra4s American Rocksports Challenge, one thing stood out above all else. Intensity and focus filled the air in a manner unlike any race prior, and while the engines in these monsters can wake the dead there was still a level of quiet that surrounded me. Everyone was humble as you’d expect, but something was a bit different this time around. It wasn’t until I left the pits Friday night, the night before the big race, that the lightbulb went off. This race represented the west coast finale, and points among the leaders was as close as you could get. There was fame and money on the line, and it all came down to roughly 40 minutes of Saturday racing. Oh, and it just so happened to be the most aggressive race course ANY Ultra4 driver has seen.
It didn’t take long (thinking about 1-1/2 minutes) for things to just get crazy. The format for the American Rocksports Challenge goes as follows. Preliminary heats start the day, 2 for the 4400 class, and the top 7 from each of those heats advances to the evening’s main race. There were 8 laps (approx) for the preliminary and 12 for the main. The driver who crosses the finish first wins. All said and done, top teams were averaging around 2 minutes per lap, so doing the math you can see this race is rather fast by Ultra4 standards. Make no mistake though, this was no ordinary course.
Only a place larger than Disneyland, but with better rides, is fit for today’s Ultra4 machines. Enter Miller Motorsports Park of Tooele, UT, the home place of the American Rocksports Challenge since day one. The course consists of the same short track used by Lucas PLUS the entire field of man-made rocks created by W.E.Rock many years ago. While preliminary races got you a ticket to the evening’s big race, there was also 2 LCQ style races after the preliminary which allowed one more chance to make it to the main event. There were so many crashes, rolls, breakages, etc. that, for the first time to my knowledge, one of the LCQs got cancelled because there weren’t enough drivers left. Joking aside, you could almost walk the race course, collect the parts that had littered the field, and build yourself a new Ultra4 machine. Ok, it would be a used Ultra4 machine, but you get the idea.
While we lost many Ultra4’s, the main race packed in the best of the best. In the front, eyes were on Loren Healy, Shannon Campbell, & Jason Scherer as those most likely to take top honors. There were still a few surprises though, behind these guys were wickedly fast and talented drivers like Jason Blanton, Gary Ferravanti Sr. and even Erik Miller who travelled all the way from Maryland for a chance at the podium. The green flag dropped, positions changed lap after lap, crashes pursued, parts went flying, and the dust settled.
As the title plays to the ending, it was current King of the Hammers champion Loren Healy who would take 1st, followed by previous Kings Jason Scherer in 2nd and Erik Miller in 3rd. It was the most aggressive, most intense, most controlled form of chaos I’ve ever saw in the span of 24ish minutes… still amazed to this day what driver and machine is capable of. We are proud to say all three of these Kings are powered by Spider 9 axles, making this the 2nd Ultra4 race in a row where Spider 9 axles took ALL top three positions. There will be plenty of time to celebrate, but that will have to wait till the Nationals in October. For now, we get ready for the last two races before October, next up being Ultra4s at Sturgis. Till next time, enjoy a few extra photos below and enjoy the holiday weekend!
Spidertrax | Thom Kingston | CC BY 3.0