Racing HOT at the Final 2017 NCRR

For the third and final round of the 10th annual Nitto Nor Cal Rock Racing's 2017 series, the k-rails were hot enough to fry an English breakfast on! As the sun beat down with unrestrained brutality, the temperature settled at an blistering 104 degrees. Weather conditions forced drivers to take caution, with the risk of overheating motors and unstable tire pressures. Promoter John Goodby had three water trucks working hard over the 2-mile short course, trying desperately to keep the explosive clouds of dust down in this fast-drying climate. To avoid an even lengthier day, the 4400 and 4500 classes opted to run a single qualifying heat and their Main.

4400 Class

Ever the racing family, the Gomez Brothers did a switch-a-roo, resulting in JP Gomez winning the 4400 class and securing the 2017 overall championship. Older brother Marcos’ car wouldn't be ready in time to compete, so JP handed him the keys—letting Marcos take the driver’s seat in his own name. “Marcos said my car is super-fast and rips around corners,” recalled JP. Watching his brother pass cars during the first heat, JP thought to himself, “…he can actually win this race!”

NCRR JP Gomez

During the Main, JP explains how close the battle between his brother and fellow racer, Jon Cagliero, was. Marcos jumped into the lead during Lap 1, at the first rock pile. Later in the same lap, it became an intense side-by-side battle between the two drivers. Jon Cagliero ended up passing Marcos during Lap 2. “Everyone was on their feet in excitement," remembered JP. Marcos followed Cagliero close behind for the next five laps, with Cagliero blocking every attempt Marcos made to pass. With less than half a lap to go, Cagliero over-drove a turn and landed in a ditch as Marcos zipped by taking the lead.

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“I was yelling for Marcos the whole time! I was in complete awe, speechless when Marcos crossed the finish line!” JP spoke of his brother, not just winning the Main, but also gaining the 2017 NCRR championship for JP. “I could not be prouder of my brother," he continues. “That’s what makes racing so exciting to watch and be a part of, it’s not over until the checkered flag is crossed. I want to thank the Gomez Brothers Racing Sponsors–Nitto Tire for having the best tires out there for us, Pro Comp for having the best rims that take our constant abuse, King Shocks, ATO Transmission, RCV Performance Axles and Mountain F Enterprise.”

2017 Nor Cal Rock Racing Champion - Nitto Tire

Give a Gomez brother a car, and he’ll race it like he stole it! 

4400 Race Results

  • 1st place: JP Gomez
  • 2nd place: Jon Cagliero
  • 3rd place: Brendon Thompson

4500 Class

Justin Hall started out as a spectator, watching the Nor Cal Rock Races from the stands. Four years ago, Hall raced his first Nor Cal competition and won the series and came to the table this year with sights set on taking home the series again. Starting third in his Heat 1, Hall chose to lay low for a the first segment, as to not put any pressure on the leads. Halfway through Hall made his move, dominating on to second. On the final lap, the leader had mechanical failure, taking himself out for the rest of the day.

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At the start of the main, Hall decided it was "go" time and whomped on the skinny pedal, putting distance between himself and second. “The 208 Motorsports tuned 6.0L pulled hard," notes Hall. "Once I got out front by a bit, the idea was to not push it and keep the car together across the checkered flag. Without my marketing partners, I could not be where I am today. Thank you ProComp, All Terrain Fab, RuffStuff Specialties, and Team 208 Motorsports.” Hall raced strong and strategically, claiming his series championship title once again! Congratulations champ!

4500 Race Results

  • 1st place: Justin Hall
  • 2nd place: Morgan Derodeff
  • 3rd place: Jessie Balter

4800 Class

A recent first-time dad, James Hubbard didn’t get a wink of sleep the night before thanks to his infant son, Waylon. Hubbard started Heat 1 in fourth position. When the flag dropped he was in first, leading to a clean start in Heat 2. Hubbard secured first until the last lap, finishing in second place. Lining up for Main, Hubbard experienced a “gut-wrenching feeling” as his car overheated sitting in the staging line. Spectators and nearby racers were able to supply some water to top off the radiator. Unsure of the cause, doubt plagued him as he worked to just finish. Hubbard got started okay, letting a fellow competitor jump ahead in the first rock pile. Somewhere near the third lap, the car in the first  blew a tire, giving Hubbard the lead across the finish line with a 20-second gap.

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Referring to his driving technique, Hubbard adds, “Conservative in the rock piles, balls-to-the-wall in the dirt.” He also included, “It was a lot of fun, the track was phenomenal!” This win also secured the 2017 class championship for Hubbard. “It still hasn’t sunk in yet!,” he admitted. He'd like to thank Pro Comp, Raceline Wheels, Yukon Gear & Axle and Tonnos Bar & Grill. Asking if we will see him again next year, Hubbard answers, “Without a doubt! I will be racing Nor Cal as long as John Goodby will be running it!” 

4800 Race Results

  • 1st place: James Hubbard
  • 2nd place: Justin Day
  • 3rd place: Steve Lopez

UTV Turbo & 1000

Man on a mission… Beau Judge wanted to prove to himself and the other drivers that the NCRR crew builds a “drivers” course and not a mere “horsepower” course. Aside from his regular class, UTV 1000, Judge made a last-minute decision to also enter the UTV Turbo class. Proving his point with driving skills, Judge won the UTV Turbo class with only half the horsepower as the rest of the competitors! “I just wished I would have raced the turbo class all year!,” laughs Judge.

Judge also dominated his UTV 1000 class. Starting eighth, Judge worked his way to the front of the line by the completion of Lap 1, winning his Heat 1. Taking Heat 2 as well, Judge took flight in the Main, kicking up dust and proving unbeatable. Say hello to your NCRR UTV 1000 Champion… two years straight!

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UTV 1000 Race Results

  • 1st place: Beau Judge
  • 2nd place: David Beebe
  • 3rd place: Pat Okeefe

UTV Turbo Race Results

  • 1st place: Beau Judge
  • 2nd place: Heather Smith
  • 3rd place: Kieran Cox

UTV 170

Following in his father’s footsteps, Braden Judge is just as competitive as the next driver at NCRR… the only difference is he sports a size 2 in children’s shoes. Winning a consistent first place in both his heats, Braden advanced to the Main and dominated the field. Noting that his favorite part of racing that day was simply getting to drive, and his dad letting him have his very own friend as co-driver. Braden added that his least favorite part was the self-evident… fellow drivers crashing in front of him. I was curious to know if the 9-year-old champ thought he could enjoy some ice cream while his helmet was still on and he didn't hesitate when he replied, "Yes! Cookies & Cream!"

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UTV 170 Race Results

  • 1st place: Braden Judge
  • 2nd place: Wyatt Blevins
  • 3rd place: Shelby Waterbury

Class 10 

Despite the heat, Ryan Sargent experienced a great day at the final round of NCRR! Placing first in both heats, he recalls, “I think my brain cooked a little in my second moto after my pumper hose came off the helmet.” Hot outside, but racing fast down the back stretch to cool himself down, Sargent earned first place in the Main and enough points to score the series championship title! Great job Ryan!

NCRR 2017 Round 3 Ryan Sargent

Class 10 Results

  • 1st place: Ryan Sargent
  • 2nd place: David Meek
  • 3rd place: Bill Minteer

Pre-Runner

Not a fan of the rocks, Justin Radford decided to build his Pre-Runner about five years ago. This years NCRR was Radford's first full season. Despite the heat-induced traction issues he was experiencing—Radford still came out strong, winning both of his heats. Radford recounted how, during Round 2, he'd learned a hard lesson—with half a lap lead, he admits he was caught sleeping in the lead, allowing second place to pass him on the final lap. Determined to not let that happen again, Radford stayed in front, "pedal to the floor.” The truck's performance was solid, carrying Radford to first place in the Main. “I started out first, and never looked back! Sometimes… slower is faster, though you gotta be smooth.” He adds. As a sincere fan, Radford will be returning next year for more racing. He happily admits the awesomeness of the track layout. “Nor Cal is my main series!”

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Pre-Runner Results

  • 1st place: Justin Radford
  • 2nd place: Dustin Jones
  • 3rd place: Matt Taylor

UTV 900 Results

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  • 1st place: Michael Von Disterlo

V8 Sportsman Results

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  • 1st place: Dalton Hamilton

Recap the full 2017 Nor Cal Rock Race season, here. We look forward to more in 2018!

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