Nor Cal Rock Racing 2017: Round 1 Brings the Fun
Celebrating its 10th year in the running, the Nor Cal Rock Racing Series (NCRR) offers a racing spectacle for fans and racers of all ages and budgets. Combining rock crawling and speed, promoter John Goodby has brought together what is known today as the best short course off-road racing series on the West Coast — with its hometown track at the Prairie City SVRA Park in Rancho Cordova, California, as well as a recently added location at Wild West Motorsports Park in Reno, Nevada. The grandstands are always packed, as easy-ups outline the parameters of the track. Vendors who come back and support Goodby every year offer tasty eats and a variety of apparel and off-road parts for spectators to browse.
With 11 different classes to run, two heats and a main for each, Goodby and his crew make changes to the course every time racers come out for another round, so you never know what you’re going to get. Even starting positions are determined via random draw for the first heat.
To kick off Round 1 of 3 for the 2017 Nitto Tire NCRR season, the rain gods decided to break just in time for the race. Drivers faced a muddy but stable course for take-off. This year, Round 1 consisted of three rock piles, several hairpin turns along with some off camber turns, plenty of whoops and a gunnite man made concrete rock climb.
We had the opportunity to catch up with some of the Round 1 class winners after the event. Read on to see why you and the family need to attend the next NCRR race.
“Since we won our first race [at NCRR], we got the itch to come back," Gomez says, commenting on the great atmosphere Goodby has provided for racers and spectators alike. The fact that it's a one-day race instead of a three-day one like many other off-road races doesn't hurt either, Gomez adds.
- 1st place: JP Gomez
- 2nd place: Jon Cagliero
- 3rd place: Gary Ferravanti Jr.
Winner of the 4500 class and one of Nitto's own, Jimmy Jack has been racing at the NCRR since 2014 and says it feels like home.
"John Goodby puts on a great race, and we will support him as much as we can," Jack says. "The venue is great with the kids, and the fans are able to get up close to the cars. It truly is a family day out there!”
- 1st place: Jimmy Jack
- 2nd place: William Milligan
- 3rd place: Mike Ladd
Driver James Hubbard won the 4800 class. The fact that it was his hometown track made it all the more special. Hubbard loves how the track accommodates racers of all levels, built by folks who truly understand off-road racing.
“The track is built fun and friendly," he says. "It’s not out to wreck your car.”
This past February, Hubbard competed in his very first King of The Hammers Every Man Challenge race and finished 15th. Looks like his 2017 racing season is off to a great start.
- 1st place: James Hubbard
- 2nd place: Justin Day
- 3rd place: Steve Lopez
- 1st place: Ryan Sargent
- 1st place: Brad Falin
- 2nd place: Travis McCalla
- 3rd place: Ian Murray
Pre-Runner class winner Matt Kinney got his first Jeep at the age of 17. He took to the sport of rock-crawling and decided to join in the fun at NCRR after watching his friends race the same class. On his third season with the Nor Cal crowd, Kinney has thoroughly enjoyed his time so far in NCRR.
"We are having as much fun out on the track as the more expensive classes, but for a fraction of the price," he says, confessing what he loves most about his NCRR experience. As the new arrivals filter into this popular class, Kinney realizes this also presents a new challenge:
“Many of these new trucks are faster and better built, so I look forward to a tough season. Winning on an old leaf strong Jeep will be challenging and exciting.”
- 1st place: Matt Kinney
- 2nd place: Travis McCalla
- 3rd place: Mikey Morton
UTV 1000 Class
What’s the advantage of running into an old race friend? Finding out he is the owner and promoter of the successful rock racing series you just attended! UTV 1000 winner Beau Judge raced his first race at NCRR in 2014 and keeps coming back for more.
“I like racing the Nor Cal series mostly because of the tracks John and his staff build and the people that the race brings," Judge says, noting that as the series competition gets bigger and better, he definitely wants to be part of it.
- 1st place: Beau Judge
- 2nd place: Tyler Coale
- 3rd place: Darren Mitchell
UTV 170 Class
Following in his father's footsteps, Braden Judge won the UTV 170 class (ages 6-12). Racing motocross since the young age of four, the eight-year-old admits to liking the winning part more than the battle right now.
- 1st place: Braden Judge
- 2nd place: Wyatt Blevins
- 3rd place: Justin Mello
UTV Turbo Class
At 17 years old, UTV Turbo class winner Darian Gomez has been racing UTVs for about three years now; he just recently moved up to this class after his first year.
“I really enjoy racing the short course because of the immense adrenaline rush it brings to me," Gomez explains. “The Nor Cal series has the best short course around, in addition to the best spectator view.”
- 1st place: Darian Gomez
- 2nd place: Phil Blurton
- 3rd place: Justin Bor
Steve Moore was originally designing a 4800 car when he found he didn't have the right size tires (37 inches) to compete in the class. So instead, he put on some 40-inch Nitto Tires for the Sportsman class, getting his car ready just a month before his first NCRR race. He gave it his best and ended up winning!
“Nor Cal was a great experience for me, my co-driver and my car," Moore says. "We will definitely be back to defend our first place win this May in Reno.”
- 1st place: Steve Moore
- 2nd place: Tylor Tramell
- 3rd place: Richard Fenton