Posts Tagged ‘#umc2014’

The Faces of Ultra4 — 2014 Badlands UMC (Bonus Photo!!!)

July 8th2014

The Faces of Ultra4 -- 2014 Badlands UMCSpidertrax | Thom Kingston | CC BY 3.0

Need to let this event go… can’t stop posting photos… so one more and we’ll be done. Badlands has always hosted a parade the night before the big race (at least for the last three years). Every year, I try to find a way to one of the roof tops, so as to capture the parade festivities below. A wishful dream really as every year I strike out… that is until this year’s UMC. Shot from on top of Attica’s local appliance store, this view gives you an idea just how big this event really was. Already can’t wait for next year!

To appreciate the photo in all of its detail, be sure to view it on our Flickr page, https://flic.kr/p/nYncwm . Full resolution is 13108 x 3566 :) .

A few of our favorite shots from Badlands, now in high res.

July 8th2014

Collage -- 2014 Badlands UMCSpidertrax | Thom Kingston | CC BY 3.0

A few of our favorite shots from the Badlands UMC are now available on Flickr, https://flic.kr/s/aHsjZkmTEW . All high res, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0, and as always are watermark free so please download and share with your friends and family.

Battle of the Bros — 2014 Badlands UMC

July 7th2014

Battle of the Bros -- 2014 Badlands UMCSpidertrax | Thom Kingston | CC BY 3.0

What needs to be said really… Erik Miller and Tom Wayes battling it out on The Wall. Does it get any better than this? Nope, this is pretty amazing right here.

Ok, a few quick words (can’t resist). Dave Cole sent out a letter to all Ultra4 drivers before the kickoff to the 2014 season. In summary, it talked about how the success of Ultra4 depended heavily on drivers committing to the series as a whole, instead of just one or two events for the year. There’s many reasons for this, but one of the biggest (for the fans anyway) is seeing the best of the best, from coast to coast, battle it out. It makes for great racing, pretty simple really. Watching Erik Miller, Tom Wayes, Loren Healy, Derek West, Shannon Campbell, and so on taking on east and west coast terrain is just damn good racing. We had that at Badlands, and all the races in 2014 prior.

As it turns out, drivers read those letters from Dave. That’s a good thing.

Finding Your Way Through Traffic — 2014 Badlands UMC

July 7th2014

Finding Your Way Through Traffic -- 2014 Badlands UMCSpidertrax | Thom Kingston | CC BY 3.0

If you had your traffic monitor on, it would have been flashing red in the rock quarry. Home to The Wall, and many other wall like obstacles as show here, the rock quarry was also home to unbelievably dense traffic. Dave Cole lived in the quarry all of race day, ensuring some level of organization as dozens of Ultra4s battled their way thru the dense mix of rock racers of varying levels of capability.

One Ultra4 that found their way thru the madness, with calculated effort, was Jason O’Neal. Driving his freshly minted, Spider 9 powered, Bomber chassis for the very first competition, Jason made short work of just about every obstacle Badlands had to offer. He also planned well for this race, grabbing Brandon Davis as his co-driver who just so happened to have run this course last year. With the right parts, the right driving style, and the right co-driver, Jason managed to tackle a course for the very first time with a brand new vehicle and secure an 8th place finish… AND a qualifying spot for the 2015 King of the Hammers. As far as first time races go, this is about as good as it gets, congrats Jason!

Full Throttle — 2014 Badlands UMC

July 6th2014

Full Throttle -- 2014 Badlands UMCSpidertrax | Thom Kingston | CC BY 3.0

Derek West, pictured here, was the first one thru The Wall. I was pumped to see him just fly by, absolutely in his element and never letting up on the throttle. The Wall took many out, I witnessed three rear axle shaft failures, from the best of the best, just from my own vantage point. Unfortunately, one of those three was ours. Unfortunately again, that one happened to be Derek.

You can make parts that exceed the specs of aerospace, but come to an Ultra4 race and you will accept that the unbreakable is in fact breakable. Derek was running the best of the best 35 spline axle shaft on the planet, in service since before the 2013 King of the Hammers. While fatigue will certainly play a part in any failure of this kind, the sheer amount of abuse Badlands dishes out, coupled with a few extra hundred pounds of mud strapped to your car, and the unfortunate can, in fact, happen. Derek was among the top, pulled in a solid 5 laps, but the time taken to replace a shaft didn’t add up. This assumed, of course, it was a shaft that failed. Taking things apart in the pits sometimes unravel even greater issues, best left for the shop.

Failures happen, and it’s why we attend each and every Ultra4 race. Race photography, team & product support before, during, and after every race, publishing stories after it all unfolds… these are all great things that move our sport, and Spidertrax, forward. However, what really drives us… what really moves us… is product design. What better way to engineer a part, manufacture a part, than to be right in the heart of the action… witnessing first hand what these machines are really capable of. Once Derek’s axle lands on our desk, we will workup a full in-depth analysis that not only includes elements of a chemical composition, a hardness traverse, and a tensile test… but all of this will be coupled with our first hand knowledge of physically being on site when it happened. The secrets out, I guess, but that’s how we build the best parts.

Getting Derek fixed up will be easy, no doubt, the bigger question is what’s on Derek’s mind for his new upcoming Ultra4 build. Rumor has it he’s eyeing a new machine for 2015, has the IFS bug finally bit him? Even we don’t have that answer, but time will tell.