JP Gomez Wins 2019 Rampage at Ridgecrest
Ultra4 joined with SNORE (Southern Nevada Off Road Enthusiasts) and MORE (Mojave Off Road Racing Enthusiasts) to put on a combined event with all of the different classes of cars. Located in the middle of the desert, with temps reaching triple digits, this race took its toll on a lot of the racers. With close to one hundred cars in the two races, the dust would play a big factor in the race as well.
Qualifying would take place Friday afternoon on a short 1.5-mile course to determine starting order for Saturday’s races. JP Gomez was on a mission for a repeat and grabbed the pole position, winning the KMC Hard Charger award, followed by Cody Addington and Wayland Campbell. Team Nitto driver Loren Healy took the pole in the 4900 UTV class, Dawson Allington in 4600, Rick Lavezzo in 4500, and Team Nitto driver Bailey Cole in the 4800 class.
The SxS and 4600 Classes would take the green flag in the morning as the sun was rising. Team Nitto driver Loren Healy, after starting in the pole position, would have an early end to his day after tangling with another car while going for a pass. The dust filled track would eliminate many more through out the race. When the dust settled, Jacob Versey would go on and take the win in UTV and Josh Atteberry in 4600.
When the green flag dropped for the 4400 class, they would be leaving the line in thirty second increments, and the final results would be on adjusted time. There would be no clean air for the leaders because they would be chasing down the Class 1 cars that would be starting right in front of them. Ridgecrest might be a favorite for Team Nitto driver JP Gomez. After capturing his first Ultra4 victory at this track last season, JP came into the race looking for a repeat.The rough course would cause some trouble right at the beginning for some of the leaders. Cody Addington and Wayland Campbell both having issues, would move Paul Horschel into the second spot. Bailey Campbell was charging hard from starting in seventh to get into the third position as they started into lap number two with JP still out front physically.
Because of joining up with the other race organizations, there would be no rocks for the Ultra4 drivers this year, it would be four laps of desert racing. Even without having to do any rocks, some racers where overheard saying that this was one of the most challenging races of the year outside of King of the Hammers, and the results were showed it.
At the half waypoint, Bailey Campbell was able to put herself in physical first place, and first on corrected time, followed by Paul Horschel and JP Gomez. With only a minute and half separating the top three drivers, they would give each other space to be out of each others dust and pick the right times to try and make passes.
Pit stops played a big part in the outcome of the race, too. In the last lap of the race, Paul Horschel was out front and experienced a mechanical problem with two miles left in the race. JP Gomez would make the pass and come across the line in physical first place, as everyone was watching the clock because Bailey Campbell wasn’t far behind. When Bailey crossed the line they would have to wait and see if she was able to catch JP on corrected time. After reviewing the times, JP Gomez would take another Ridgecrest win with Bailey Campbell taking the second place spot just 38 seconds behind JP and putting Team Nitto drivers in the top two spots. Paul Horschel was able to get his car going again and cross the line to round out the top three on the podium. Raul Gomez would end up coming from a fourteenth place starting position and land just short of the podium with a fourth place finish.Drivers would continue crossing the finish past nightfall.
4400, 4500 and 4800
The 4500 and 4800 cars battled throughout the day right alongside the 4400 cars. After crossing the checkered flag, David Hartman would take the number one spot in the 4800 class just thirteen seconds in front of Team Nitto Driver Bailey Cole on corrected time. In the 4500 class, Rick Levezzo would end the day just how he started, in the number one spot, followed by Dan Fresh and Shawn Rants.
After a great weekend of racing, their sights are set on the 2019 Nitto National Championships coming up on October 19th at Wild West Motorsports Park just outside Reno, Nevada.
For more information, head over to www.ultra4racing.com.
Did you hear how the Clash at Crossbar Ranch race went back in June? See the race recap here.