Just South of Louisville, Kentucky, is the Dirty Turtle Off-road Park, which is home to hundreds of acers of rocks, hills, trails, wooded narrow turns, and east coast clay. With excitement, we set out from the west coast to battle many east coast Ultra4 teams for the last East race of the season. From Arizona to Kentucky we set our eyes on finishing strong as the season nears the end. Currently sitting in 4th place for East coast we knew we needed a solid run to podium for the eastern series.
From the time we arrived to the off-road park in Kentucky until the day we left, it rained. The dry climate that we were accustomed to was now a tropical depression of thunder storms, rain, and hail, which left a soupy mess on the trail, track, and short course. Huge thank you to Tim at Liquid Iron and Jeremy at Rock Krawler for giving us the supporting hand on the east coast and having the semi and awning to use for shelter during the storm. The track was just over 6 miles long with tight uphill climbs, technical wooded areas, and a windy short course that turned into a slick drift track due to the weather. Preparing for the race as always, we marked our positions on the course and marked dangers and locations, though what we didn’t account for was that throughout the drivers meeting after the storm, the course would change due to weather. At this time, new maps were generated and we lost all of our marked positions. This meant we were going in blind for race day.
Because of the extreme conditions of the weather and the soup noodle bows the short course had turned into, all Ultra4’s set out to do parade laps to knock down the weathered track. Once qualifying began, we knew the track very well. Due to the fact that we have had much more seat time in short course racing we felt comfortable laying down a fast time. Thanks to our BFGoodrich tires, we had traction through every turn and landed a 5th place qualifying position. After a car wash and a final once over, the car and team were ready for race day.
As 5th off the line, we were ready to battle the pack of thirty cars for the day’s race. Once we were off and settled in we did our best to learn the new map as we barreled through the rocks and slick uphill climbs. Coming into a tight 180 degree turn we took the high side and blew through the turn hard, though not seeing the other end of the turn we impaled a boulder in the course and shattered a front wheel. With the rest of the pack behind us we had to act quickly. Josh hopped out and we were able to winch out of the way of the slick rutted course using a VooDoo Offroad soft shackle and winch line making getting out of the way and on flat ground a breeze. Once we were out and swiftly changing the flat we realized our scissor jack was not functioning properly and we needed a hi-lift and thanks to the 4659 team that stopped to let us use theirs, we were able to pound the broken wheel off the car and replace it with our spare. Now in the back of the pack we knew we had to pick up the pace to get back into the race. Lucky for us, we were not the only ones with vehicle failures and issues on the rugged course. Working through the broken cars as well as maneuvering through the slower 4600 class cars on the course, we fought through the lap to get to the pits for a new spare. Huge thanks for the guys at Liquid Iron Industries and Rock Krawler for helping with pit support. After losing our wheel, we had flawless lap after lap but hit another hurdle as while getting around a broken car on top of the large hill climb we got blasted by a fallen tree taking out our GPS and windshield lights. We flew blind for a full lap before our GPS came back online. While battling the elements of the weather and track conditions we made our way to the checker.
Results and looking forward:
When the mud settled on the ground and the checker flag dropped, the results came in for the classes. We clawed our way to 8th place from the back of the field, but were unable to make up enough time and gap from Jimmy Jack to get on the podium for the East Series. For the 2018 East Series Season we sit 4th. We are incredibly thankful for having a solid season and look forward to the last two races in Ultra4 2018; West coast Ridgecrest and Nationals Reno. Currently we are in 3rd place in the West series, and are 3rd in points for nationals out of 132 teams. On top of all of that we are excited to bring on a new wheel sponsor to the team, Dirty Life Wheels! We look forward to prepping the car for a quick turnaround August 11th for the Ridgecrest Ultra4 night race. The first night race of Ultra4 history!