Posts Tagged ‘#gpx2014’

Looking Fast Standing Still — 2014 4 Wheel Parts Glen Helen Grand Prix

July 25th2014

Looking Fast Standing Still -- 2014 4 Wheel Parts Glen Helen Gra
Spidertrax | Thom Kingston | CC BY 3.0

There is no background story today, just Gary Ferravanti Sr. looking badass as usual. One of the few guys who looks fast standing still. That is all.

An Old Fashion Game of Chase — 2014 4 Wheel Parts Glen Helen Grand Prix

July 24th2014

An Old Fashion Game of Chase -- 2014 4 Wheel Parts Glen Helen Gr
Spidertrax | Thom Kingston | CC BY 3.0

The track of Glen Helen is tight, and as such very difficult to pass. This makes one thing for certain, Games of Chase are as common as they come for Ultra4, with drivers hunting down drivers lap after lap, looking for the slightest chance for an opportunity to pass. Captured here in front is Alex Hardaway, who is no stranger to short course terrain. Alex grabbed himself a 7th place finish at Glen Helen, and currently sits in 9th place for series points. He will be one to watch at the next western Ultra4 race, The American Rock Sports Challenge. That track combines short course with man-made rocks, a perfectly crafted terrain for the very fast solid axle machines.

Synchronized Speeding — 2014 4 Wheel Parts Glen Helen Grand Prix

July 23rd2014

Synchronized Speeding -- 2014 4 Wheel Parts Glen Helen Grand PriSpidertrax | Thom Kingston | CC BY 3.0

There were a few changes in this year’s Glen Helen race track, but the one that drew the “Huh?” from drivers was the added Speed Bump at the end of pit row. A little inside baseball: the Glen Helen track requires a lot of watering, so as to control the insane level of dust from the Ultra4 racers, and it just so happened California is in a bit of a drought. Water restrictions in place in a very serious way, couple that with 100+ Ultra4s taking the field, and you end up with a bit of a racing logistics nightmare. Enter the Speed Bump.

The straightaway that passes pit row and feeds into the start of the short course track is one of the longest stretches at Glen Helen, and the one where drivers can really clock a seriously fast speed. So, at the end of pit row before drivers head into the short course a Speed Bump, or rather a very large two wide dirt mountain, was formed. And let the games begin!

Leave it up to the Ultra4 drivers to figure out how to turn this speed trap of sorts into an opportunity to one up their fellow competitor. I headed over to the Speed Bump toward the end of race day, and it was quite the show in that small virtually unseen area. Captured here is Jason Scherer (left) and Jon Cagliero (right), both just full throttle battling straight through this mountain of speed control.

Good times for sure.

And Just Like That, The Game Had Changed — 2014 4 Wheel Parts Glen Helen Grand Prix

July 19th2014

And Just Like That, The Game Had Changed -- 2014 4 Wheel Parts G
Spidertrax | Thom Kingston | CC BY 3.0

Enter the hot pit, where your best friends wait with fuel and tools in hand. Loren had zero mechanical issue, and a large enough fuel tank to likely pull off the entire 2 hr race, but being a new car with just about zero seat time, he and his team elected to re-fuel around lap count 11 (there would be 20 laps total). Take a look at the gent holding up the massive fuel container with the full headphones on, see him starring in the distance at a passing by vehicle (you should just catch the top lights of it, to the middle left side of the photo)? That would be Levi Shirley, who at this very moment would officially be in 1st place.

Fun fact: Levi had no plan to pit, with enough fuel on hand he would continue the race from this point forward at his wicked fast non-stop pace. Glen Helen is not the easiest place to pass, I’d say it’s likely the hardest place to pass in the Ultra4 circuit, and Loren and his team knew this too. As soon as Loren was re-fueled (shortly after this photo, it was a Nascar fast pit stop), he entered back into the field and turned up the dial from 70 to 100%. Yes, Loren had been running around 70% the entire time, and now we would see just what miracle this new machine could pull off.

In that same lap, Loren would end up catching up to Levi (and JT Stevens) just past a zig zag section shortly before the start/finish line. He would pass both in one shot, gain a bit of distance, the turn the dial back to 70%. It was a very quick moment, and the only one that I witnessed, where Loren pushed his new machine to the limit. It was something to see in person, that’s all I can say.

Above the Clouds — 2014 Glen Helen Grand Prix

July 18th2014

Above the Clouds -- 2014 Glen Helen Grand Prix
Spidertrax | Thom Kingston | CC BY 3.0

There’s nothing like a good old IFS vs Solid Axle debate. There are advantages to both, and each shines in its own environment.  It just so happens the short course style racing of the west coast Ultra4 series favors IFS. Since 2011, all 4 of the Glen Helen races were won with IFS… the 2 Nor Cal Stampede races were also won with IFS…. BUT that doesn’t mean solid axle machines aren’t close behind.

Three solid axle drivers come immediately to mind when I enter any Ultra4 short course style field, Alex Hardaway, Jason Blanton, and Jake Hallenbeck. Jason earned his Ultra4 National Title last year as the fastest solid axle racer of the season, and Alex and Jake have more seat time on the Nor Cal short course field than virtually any other driver. While everyone aims for 1st, taking a podium finish is nothing short of an amazing achievement in today’s high turnout competition, and you can count on one of these solid axle machines making their way to the top. As it happens it’s Jake’s year to shine. Having just grabbed 3rd in the MetalCloak Nor Cal Stampede, he returned last weekend with a 3rd place finish at the 4 Wheel Parts Glen Helen Grand Prix.

And the IFS vs Solid Axle debate continues.

P.S. We manufacture Spider 9 axles for both, so it’s all good.