May 24, 2011-Pine Grove, PA: The unlimited 4 wheel-drive class known as Ultra4s made their way to Pine Grove, Pennsylvania last week for the 3rd stop in the 2011 Ultra4 Series. “This aint no desert race” was the tagline used to promote the 4WD Hardware Rausch Creek Qualifier presented by ATX Wheels, and they were not kidding. From torrential downpours, to a tree-laden course filled with slippery mud slopes, the Ultra4 drivers were constantly reminded that they weren’t in the desert anymore. The course spared no one, including this year’s King of the Hammers, Shannon Campbell. By the end of the day, only a third of the drivers successfully completed all 5 laps.
Each time there appeared to be a clear leader at Saturday’s race; the brutal course would claim another casualty. After the first lap, it looked as though Ultra4 Series leader, Shannon Campbell was going to claim his 3rd victory in as many races. However, in one of the most spectacular moments of the day, Campbell, on his 2nd ascent up the slippery rock slope known as Talisman, encountered the stopped 4454 car driven by JT Stephens and attempted to bypass the car by using its wheels for traction and ended up rolling backwards down the hill and onto his roof, killing the car’s battery.
Going into the final lap of the day, only 3 minutes separated Ultra4 veterans, Levi Shirley and Lucas Murphy, with Shirley in the lead. Both Shirley and Murphy made their way through the Talisman quickly and appeared to be on track for a 1st and 2nd place finish. As both drivers came into the home stretch, Shirley suffered an engine problem, and Murphy was forced to address a spindle issue, leaving Torchmate Racing’s Rusty Bray wide open to claim the checkered flag. This was Bray’s 1st Ultra4 win, and with his ability to endure such a difficult course, it won’t be his last.
Each of the 2011 Ultra4 Series races are also qualifiers for the 2012 King of the Hammers race being held next February in Johnson Valley, CA. The only driver in the top 10 already qualified for King of the Hammers was Aussie Ben Napier, which left a minimum of 9 qualifying spots available. Because the course proved so brutal, Hammerking’s executive director, Dave Cole awarded King of The Hammers spots to all drivers who successfully completed this challenging race. Below is a list of the 12 drivers now qualified for the 2012 King of the Hammers. Among those that qualified was Ultra4 newcomer, Bill Baird who claimed a 5th place finish in his first ever Ultra4 race. Congratulations go out to all the drivers.
For those wishing to learn more about Ultra4 Racing or King of the Hammers, be sure to check out Ultra4 racing’s web site:www.ultra4racing.com and become a fan of the Ultra4 facebook page: www.facebook.com/Ultra4racing. The next Ultra4 Series race will be held July 16th at the Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah.
Official Ultra4 Results for 2011 4WD Hardware Rausch Creek Qualifier presented by ATX Wheels: