Fresno, CA-Team Trail-Gear Racing took home top honors at the Ultra4 Western Regional Series Cinco de Baja race just outside Albuquerque, New Mexico on Saturday, May 5, 2012. Driver Matt Messer and co-driver James Schofield beat out more than 50 drivers across 12 classes to achieve the overall fastest time and the unofficial fastest lap speed of the race.
The race began at 1:00 p.m. (MDT) in the desert of Rio Rancho, New Mexico. Team Trail-Gear, in pole position number one for the Ultra4 class, crossed the start at 1:02.30 p.m. “We were thrilled to have an early start position but we came prepared to fight,” said Messer. Team Trail-Gear crossed the finish line at 3:52.15 p.m. At 4:10 p.m. Shannon Welch of Ultra4 Racing reported: “It appears Matt Messer has finished the race! First off the line and first all day!” on www.coveritlive.com which broadcast live race coverage.
“We pushed the car to the very end of the race,” said Messer. “We bicycled it four or five times on the 90-degree turns the course served up and the power line towers provided an exciting challenge. By our second lap we were speeding through them at about 80 miles per hour. Our pit strategy was to push it on fuel and distance. We ran 3 laps, pitted, then brought it home. The car died as we crossed the finish line. We couldn’t start it after.”
Schofield saw the engine failure coming but remained quiet to clench the win. “We started losing oil pressure around mile marker 13 on the fifth lap. I knew if I told Matt he’d back off, but I didn’t know if we had the win locked. [Jason] Scherer [vehicle # 76] was still in it at that point and I didn’t want to risk it,” recalls Schofield. “I figured it was better to keep the engine spinning so it wouldn’t lock up. I finally told him right before we crossed the finish line.”
Messer dedicated the trophy to the employees of Trail-Gear at an impromptu ceremony at Trail-Gear headquarters Monday morning, saying “If it wasn’t for each and every one of you and all of the hard work you do here, Team Trail-Gear Racing would not be possible. This trophy is yours. This win goes to you guys. Thank you.”
This was the third race for Team Trail-Gear’s independent front-suspension, LS7 race vehicle, designed and built by Kirby Racing and Trail-Gear, Inc. The first was the 2012 King of the Hammers race which resulted in a crash at mile marker 53. The second was the Mint 400 which resulted in a 4th place finish. Next up for Team Trail-Gear Racing is the 4 Wheel Parts Glen Helen Grand Prix in San Bernardino, California.
Trail-Gear, Inc. is the title sponsor of the 2012 Ultra4 Western Regional series.