During the inaugural Ultra4 Fallon 250, raced this past weekend outside of Fallon, Nevada, the desert was challenge enough for these Ultra4 racers used to dealing with a larger variety of “obstacles.” It was “chaotic, dusty, rough, and an awesome race,” summed up J.T. Taylor during Sunday’s award ceremonies.
Aside from the desert terrain, which exacted its rightful toll, was the dust – which billowed up freely, obstructing driver’s views and covering any surface you could find. Legends class competitor Rick Waterbury summed up the driver’s perspective saying, “I’ve never experienced dust like that… When you’re coming up on somebody you don’t know if they’re going 0, 20, or 60 miles per hour and you just hope somebody coming up on you sees your lights.”
Waterbury went on to describe Saturday’s race as a “war of attrition,” which seemed to catch many Ultra4 racers off guard. It seems nobody got through the day without at least some mechanical challenges, and many were stranded or broke down in the pit before the six laps, of 41 miles each, were completed.
Bailey Campbell towed in her dad, Shannon Campbell, during their final lap – gaining finishing points for both of them in this final race of the Ultra4 2015 Western Regional Series. Throughout the race Bailey stayed consistent and was able to put down the 8th fastest lap time of the day at 0:47:59.
While Shannon Campbell completes his new rig, which is expected to make it's racing debut during Ultra4 Nationals in October, he raced in yet another one, #1509. Beginning in 8th position and tracking well with the leaders, Shannon lost rear output from the atlas and continued on with only 2WD. He got through 1 ½ more laps on only 2WD until breaking completely. As racers can help one another out on track, Shannon called in a favor with Bailey and she towed him the last 20 miles across the finish line.
Derek West, who started second, behind Loren Healy (based upon Western Series points standings as there was no preliminary/qualifying run during this event,) was tracking well until mechanical issues left him stranded during his third lap. Unable to reach a pit, or even diagnose the issue causing his engine not starting, he was left to wait it out.
33 out of 49 starters in the 4400 class finished. Aside from Derek, who has a particularly low attrition rate, Levi Shirley and Tom Wayes were among the other heavy hitters with DNFs - revealing just how challenging this desert course was even though it lacked the regular rock obstacles that Ultra4 racing is known for. Levi, who had an issue during his third lap, worked over 4 hours to fix it. Successful, he got back on course at 10:41pm to complete 2 more laps, seeking to add as many points as possible to his season standings.
While there was no helicopter to get live racing footage like there is at King of The Hammers, the course was short enough, and with two check points and a remote Pro Pit, that teams and spectators were able to keep a pretty good idea on who held the physical lead via radio. The race for first place was an exciting one, with three different lead changes - which kept everyone involved making bets on who would end the night on top.
Loren Healy started in first, and stayed there throughout his first two laps, until pulling off mid-course during Lap 3 due to mechanical issues. While Loren was stopped to make the fix, Wayland Campbell closed the gap after a few minutes, pulling out in front of Loren for the lead. (See if you can spot Loren's red lights in the photo above.)
Keeping the lead through Lap 4, Wayland Campbell had some mechanical issues of his own on Lap 5. He sunk back a few spots just as the desert sun was setting, giving the lead back to Loren. Back at the Campbell camp, the pit crew was eagerly awaiting Wayland’s arrival - after taking longer than expected, he finally came through the main pits passing up a stop and continuing on through the start/finish line for his final lap instead. Ends up Wayland was able to fix the issue himself out on course and was gunning down the line seeking to make up lost time.
Wayland had fallen behind both Paul Horschel and Loren Healy. Paul had started the race in 4th position and raced consistently, landing himself in second after Derek had fallen out and Wayland stopped for repairs. Coming through the start/finish line for the final lap white flag, Paul was just 32 seconds behind Loren.
At 8:31pm, about 4 ½ hours after the race had started, Loren Healy came in for the checkered flag. Loren would still need to have a full minute and a half on Paul however, due to starting times. Six minutes later, Paul Horschel came through the finish in second with Wayland Campbell following 11 minutes later for third. Loren secured the first place finish for a third consecutive West Coast win - sweeping the 2015 Trail Gear Western Regional Series races!