“It’s not the car,” is what I shouted to Nitto Tire sponsored Loren Healy, driver of the #67 Ultra4 car as he climbed out after a first place finish this weekend at Superlift. Loren completed 4 laps in an impressive 2 hours and 13 minutes, 2.5 hours before the last racer crossed the finish line.
Loren competed this past weekend in the toughest race Ultra4 has had to offer this year, outside of King of the Hammers. Held in Hot Springs, Arkansas at the well known Superlift ORV Park, where there’s a challenging array of terrain and obstacles. Terrain varies from high speed gravel roads to steep uphill rock sections. While you may think rocks are “rocks,” they’ve got as much variety as other terrain. Rocks in Arkansas are no joke - they’re slick, sharp, and they crumble – and if they’re wet, than watch out!
After last month’s DNF at the Badlands, Loren was out for a solid win. So much so that he brought his older, solid axle buggy to use for Arkansas’ tighter terrain. Recently re-purchasing the buggy from whom he’d sold it to, as they weren’t having much luck with the car, Loren knew it may work for Hot Springs. After just a few minor modifications, Loren and team headed to Arkansas with it. Loren qualified first and finished first, “It’s not the car!”
When I asked Loren to tell me about the Nitto Tire Trail Grappler M/Ts he runs with, he couldn't answer fast enough “I love them”. He told me that when he first had the opportunity to run the tire, how impressed he was with the performance and sidewall strength which prevents him from having flats. The traction they provide is unlike any other tire he has used, and he’s gone on to outfit all of his personal vehicles with Nitto Tires.
After securing the Ultra4 win, Loren went on to compete in the much anticipated “shootout” between Ultra4 and SRRS Rockbouncers. This event was icing on the cake to a great Ultra4 race. Rockbouncing and Ultra4 take 2 very different stances to off road racing. Rockbouncing is a short “drag race” up steep rock faces and slippery mud sections. The fastest time to the top of mountain takes the win. Loren unfortunately couldn't take home a second win, his buggy destroyed a U-Joint leaving him stranded with only 3 tires turning. Even though he couldn't make it to the top under his own power, he still put on a show as he winched up.
Nitto Racing teammate, Derek West, also gained a podium finish at Ultra4 Superlift. Derek was neck and neck for second place and made up great time on the last lap, but finished in third at 2:20:42.3. Derek had to start towards the back of the pack due to a tough going during qualifying, where he ended up on his roof while navigating his way through the rutted-out rock section.
Both Loren and Derek put down some of the most consistent lap times throughout the race. Loren started first and remained first the entire race. Derek had to climb and claw through the positions with most all of his passing being done in the rock sections and finished only 7 minutes behind Loren. Loren and Derek are going to be at the much anticipated Ultra 4 Nitto Tire National Championships held in Las Vegas on September 27th. The race terrain will be a totally different style than Superlift, consisting of all-desert terrain along with technical rock sections. Loren will be reunited in his IFS car looking for another first place finish.
Come out to Vegas and catch the excitement of Ultra4 racing for yourself! More details can be found at ultra4racing.com.
See the added bonus SRRS Rock Bouncers vs. ULTRA4s mountain climb action below.