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Nitto Rides to a Podium Sweep at the 2022 Sturgis, SD Ultra4 Race

The off-road racing that takes place each year at the Buffalo Chip in Sturgis, South Dakota is almost shadowed by the amount of spectators on motorcycles. Why, you ask? Because the largest motorcycle show in the world is held in Sturgis, South Dakota at the same time as the Ultra4 race. And the only thing more cool than race cars, is race cars surrounded by hundreds of gearheads that don’t exactly know what an Ultra4 car is, but know that they love the sound and feel of the motors roaring as the cars start to stack up for a race. 

Paul Horschel racing Ultra4 Sturgis, SD 2022

That was the scene on Friday after the Ultra4 buggies had made the 5:30pm Parade Lap around the Buffalo Chip, and parked in a large group front and center, taking up most of area of main arena. The Buffalo Chip Motorsports complex, located across the street from the main Buffalo Chip area, is where most of the teams were camped out for the week.

Ultra4 Drivers show out at the Buffalo Chip at Sturgis before race day


Friday morning was a very hot day which lead to a very dry and dusty course, regardless of how much the track was water or worked on by the 3 water trucks in service. Quite a few drivers had come in early to share in the festivities that the infamous bike week had to offer, downtown was packed and ready for the event and even Blake Wilky got in on the action and brought out the Trophy Bug. Most of the classes were setting fairly quick times and wanted to make sure to be safe and smart, because there was still qualifying and racing to be done on Saturday. 

Ultra4 Cars were kicking up Plenty of Dust in Strugis


The rock section was not a long and as difficult as some of the tracks that we have seen in the past, so much so that the faster classes could possible even jump it completely if going fast enough. When asked about it, JT Taylor, who is the Ultra4 race director, explained that the $12,000 worth of rocks that were hauled in were less than normal due to the increased cost of the rocks and increased fuel prices. Thankfully, qualifying went fairly smooth with only a few hiccups, but that's what Friday night qualifying is for— to finish making adjustments to the car and any last minute tweaks.

Paul was setting the pace all weekend in his Nitto Bronco

Race Day

Saturday was the main race day, however in the short course style track, there are preliminaries called heat races and even a LCQ, or last chance qualifier. That way the race field can be whittled down to a smaller number of cars on the track at once to keep the racing relatively safe. Watching cars race around and try to battle though the pack is a blast for everyone except the drivers who are eating a ton of dust and struggling to focus and visibility comes down to a few feet. Setting the pole plays such a huge role in this style of racing because if you start at the back of the pack, you won't be able to drive as fast as you want because you literally cant see the track. This was very evident as drivers drove off course, crashed, and rolled during racing at the back of the pack. One of the biggest shocks of the day came when new comer Paul Wolff blew his engine in his UFO chassis car. Wolff's engine failure could have been due to the high RPMs or the duration of the wide open throttle racing on the short course that could be heard though out the day as each and every driver pushed their rigs to the limits and beyond. 

Paul Horschel Blasting around the track to take a win at Strugis

Paul Horschel took the pole position with his 490ci big block LS, and nipping on his heals was good friend Loren Healy. Right next to him throughout much of the race—it was a flat out drag race to the first few corners, then Paul pulled away just enough to get in front of the big bad Bronco, but with a few seconds between the drivers the dust kept Paul in a comfortable lead for the following laps even though Loren was setting some of the fastest laps of the day. But, what had me jumping up and down yelling was when Loren had to go far outside the track to miss a lapped race car and rolled. He then, thankfully, got up righted very quickly with the help of some very speedy course workers who had been lightning fast all day.  And just as his tires touched the ground Bailey Campbell, who isn’t necessarily a huge fan of short course racing, with her husband Bryan Crofts co-driving, was just coming around a turn to see the freshly up-righted Healy-driven Bronco. 

Bailey Campbell racing at 2022 Ultra4 Sturgis Sought Dakota on Nitto Tires

I was jumping up and down screaming, a few motorcycle people around me were giving me some very strange looks while the stands began to yell and scream, and if you could see the live screen you could see both cars in the frame. Bailey pushing hard and Loren immediately hammered down, with both engines screaming and Nitto Trail Grappler tires gripping around the dusty corners with mud flying on the straight aways. Loren was desperately trying to do anything possible to keep the white Campbell chassis car behind him, knowing if he made any microscopic mistakes she would capitalize on and take full advantage of it to put him in third place. 

The Campbell Crew hard at work changing a transmission just hours before the big race.

Mind you this is only a handful of hours after Bailey, Waylon, Bryan, and crew spent the morning installing a new transmission in her car. As we cheered them on Loren, just barely stayed in front of her for a second place finish. It was a true nail biter down to the last second. This is why off-road race fans tune in.

Nitto Sweeps the 2022 Ultra4 Sturgis Podium

Main Race Results  

4600 Stock Class

  1. Bailey Cole
  2. Brad Lovell
  3. Kendall Glines

4900 UTV Class

  1. Paul Wolff
  2. Travis Zollinger
  3. Jason Watt

 4500 Modified Class

  1. Rick Lavezzo
  2. Justin Hall
  3. Shawn Rants

4800 Legends Class

  1. Stephen Rose
  2. Brent Harrell
  3. Jeremy Jones

4400 Unlimited Class

  1. Paul Horschel
  2. Loren Healy
  3. Bailey Campbell
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