AUGUST 13th, 2015 – STURGIS, KY: While ULTRA4 veteran Jason Shipman #4414 is no stranger to the podium, up until last weekend’s Sturgis Off Road Blowout a first place trophy had alluded him. After a day of back-to-back racing action, in a short course format that included rocks, jumps and a narrow woods section, Shipman emerged with his first ULTRA4 first place finish. Clay Gilstrap #26 who was also on the podium last year in Kentucky took 2nd, and Sturgis’ own, Bill Baird #5252 claimed third after close battle throughout the race with Levi Shirley #81.
More than 45 cars were in attendance representing the UTV Class, the 4500 Modified, the 4800 legends and the 4400 unlimited 4 wheel drive vehicles known as ULTRA4s. This was the 2nd race in the 4WD Hardware Eastern regional series. All classes qualified on Friday for their starting position in Saturday morning’s prelim races. The limited classes raced twice on Saturday in a prelim and a main event, and the 4400s raced a prelim, a semi- final and a main event. 21 cars took the green flag for the main event.
Nitto National Championship points leader, Derek West#20 had been the man to beat all day. When the final race began, West jumped out to a quick lead with Shipman on his heels. Half way through the race, West experienced a mechanical failure that caused a roll in the narrow tree lined section of course, and Shipman was the first to emerge from the woods and maintained his lead throughout the remainder of the race with Gilstrap close on his heels.
Sturgis saw some of the highest car counts to date for the limited classes in the 4WD Hardware Eastern Regional series.. Duane Garretson #26 took home the win in the 4500 modified class, with Lindsay Gilstrap #450, in 2nd, and Rob Matzell #4573 in 3rd. Interesting to note, the husband and wife team of Lindsay and Clay Gilstrap both took home 2nd place finishes in their respective classes.
This was the first time that the 4800 legends class has raced west of the Mississippi. Newcomer, Jeff Caudill #513 took home his first win in his first 4800 race followed by Robert Daly #775 all the way from Silver Springs, NV, and another newcomer Richard White #4878 came in 3rd.
Currently Derek West is leading for the Nitto National Championship in the 4400 class 120+ points ahead of Wayland Campbell #3, who is only 11 points ahead of Levi Shirley #81. ULTRA4 Rookie, Doug Jackson #61 has the lead for the 4WD Eastern Regional Series, and 2014 Nitto National Champion, Loren Healy #67 is leading the points for the Trail-Gear Western Regional series.
HCR Racing sponsored a $1000 purse for the UTV Class, and 10 UTVs came out to race. Brian Strane #490 who also took home the win in Indiana lead most of the race followed by Paul Nagele #8 who also made the podium at Badlands. In 3rd place was local favorite and newcomer Tim Marshall #731.
The next race in the Nitto National Championship is the final race in the Trail-Gear Western Regional series, the VORRA Fallon 250, August 28th and 29th in Fallon, NV. The final race in the 4WD Hardware Eastern Regional series is taking place in Arkansas at the Hot Springs ORV Park. The final race in the series will be the Nitto National Championship taking place October 16th and 17th in Reno, NV.