Sierra Blanca, a small town 60 miles south of El Paso; You wouldn't know the small town was there unless you stopped in to smell the race fuel. Each year, Valora races along the desert silt beds and washes from the heart of town through local ranches, and along the Rio Grande River. This year Ultra4 teamed up to host an epic race with class 15, 10, and 1 cars all the way to trophy trucks and ultra4 cars. The Proving Grounds Racing team set out on the Journey from SoCal to Texas to battle the elements and fight for the checker flag.
Sierra Blanca was a mix of Rocks, Silt beds, High speed sections through the ranches, and technical turns with switch backs through some of the canyons leading to the Rio Grande. The car was solid and the prep was clean. The team had worked day and night to ready themselves for the hot spring Texas had to offer.
Leaving Socal the team set of on the adventure to Texas, the farthest race for the Western Ultra4 Series. Helping other teams that had struggles on the way to the race with trailer problems, we knew there was a race just to get to the race.
Prerunning with the new LeadNav GPS made marking the course for cattle guards, hairpin turns, and danger zones easy to call out and repeat during the race through the PCI coms. We were able to adjust pressures in our BFGoodrich tires and lighten up the front inner fender panels to help with the heat Texas beat down on us keeping the motor cool.
That same afternoon we hit the qualifying course to set the pace for Saturdays race. Setting the team at sections of the course, getting feedback and notes for our run, we hammered down and qualified right in the center of the pack with a 9th starting position. With a few tweaks to the car, the sun set for the last time before we took the green flag.
The start/finish line was set in the heart of the town. Stores were shut down and roads blocked off as every farmer, rancher, and citizen in town glued their eyes to the streets as 90 Ultra4 cars took off from the start line. We qualified 9th the previous day keeping mid pack allowing us to pick off each car one by one though out the day. We set off for the first section of high speed desert and course as we got caught in a dust storm of traffic. Fighting our way through the dust not to take out one of the steel cattle guards as they were spread across the 96 mile course, we quickly caught up to the 7th and 8th position cars.
Hitting the rock section there was carnage at every corner and backups through the canyons. We fought around a few clusters of cars picking off positions to get a clear view in front of us and motor through the rocky canyons. Picking a tougher line to get around another vehicle we caught sharp rock that punctured our tire along with bending our steering ram. We were able to pull over and change the tire in a flash while inspecting the power steering ram and working on getting back on track. losing a few positions we had to get back into the race!
We were out of the rocks and back on track in no time at all. We drove the switch backs up and down the canyons battling for positions on the tight narrow course with drop offs 10 plus feet down. Just before pit 2A we ran into Poor Boy Racing who fell into a washout and rolled over off the side of the course. We stopped to lend a winch line, to get them back rubber side down and back on track. Shortly after we were off to Pit 2A for the crew to check over the car and race us back to the finish! The third section was uphill soft sand washes and silt beds. We took this wider section to pick up positions and speed as we were close to our leading competitors. while making passes and gaining positions in our class along with 4800 cars scattered in the wash, our temperatures went up and had to back down some to stay in racing temperatures for the remainder of the race. As we came back into town and sent it over the roller jumps, we were home free blazing into town with a 7th place finish!
All day we battled positions and overcame issues with the car along with helping other teams make it across the finish. Poor Boy Racing was able to cross the finish line with our help, aiding them back o track from their roll over. Hard work always pays off. The team did just as we wanted and that's keep the car together, race hard, and finish in the front of the pack! We can't thank our sponsors enough for such a great day and such a well built car.
As our adventures continued we made few seldom changed to the rig shortly after we crossed the finish line to make our way to Moab Utah for Easter Jeep Safari where we trail ran and lead guided trails through the canyons with TMG and Poison Spyder. To know our car can withstand the brutal assault of an Ultra4 Race, Wipe it down, and wheel for a weeklong event in Moab Utah, lets us know we have gone far and above for our race prep, and have a sound car for the rest of this season.
On the rise for us is Jeep Jamboree USA in Big Bear. we are trail leaders for the weekend event. shortly after we are heading to Barstow for High Desert Round up for Poison Spyder as trail leaders and support for the event. Jun 9th we head to the Ultra4 Western Series Stampede in Sacramento for some short course action. We are looking forward for what this season has to offer as we come close to the half way mark through the year! Stay tuned for what's next on our adventure list and racing schedule.