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ULTRA4 Off-Road Racing Regionals Kicks-Off with the Area BFE Beatdown in Moab, Utah

If you are unsure of how the new Ultra4 series was going to unfold this season you are not alone. For those of you that are new to the off-road racing community or still have your news feed full of Oscar’s awards ceremony drama, the US Regional Ultra4 Racing series was recently sold to Jason and Gayla Robinett from Jay, Oklahoma. Drivers had as many questions about the series as the fans, so Jason and Gayla, along with JT Taylor (the new U4 race director) were all onsite to talk and answer any questions during the driver’s meeting.

Loren Healy Racing Ultra4 Moab 2022

The event was also being broadcast from Rock Racing Television who handle most of the bouncer events on the east coast. The Area BFE Beatdown, in Moab, Utah has hosted the U4 series before with amazing terrain and views while racing, this year it was held the week before Eastern Jeep Safari. This year held 9 Stock Class Cars (4600), 23 UTVs Spread over 3 classes (4900), 14 Modified and Limited (4500 & 4800), and 19 Unlimited Cars (4400), for a total of 65 vehicles total. And a ton of big dogs were there, Loren Healey, Shannon Campbell, Gomez Brothers, and Paul Horschel. This was the first official race of the new Ultra4 and the first of the 2022 Western Series and kicked off on April 2 and 3 at Area BFE, a very well-known, privately-owned property just south of Moab, Utah that offers 625 acres of off-road adventure. There was the Ford Bronco proving grounds were a very rough rock section with big ledges that had to be raced up and down, which lead to action packed racing—and a few rollovers.

Paul Horschel Racing Ultra4 Moab 2022

Ultra4 Area BFE Beatdown Qualifying

For the 4600 qualifying is always optional since the risk of breaking can be pretty major, however a lot of racers will participate for the chance to have a better starting position.  For instance, Brad Lovell came off the line and had a great run, but had to perform some minor repair work to a fender due to catching a tree while rerunning and pealing it off the vehicle. UTV or Side by Sides have become insanely fast with a incredible power to weight ratio, and the drivers are not scared to flat out lay it down when it comes to pushing them to the edge which led to several rolled over in qualifying—most were trying for a quick time—not trying to hurt the car.

UTV off-road racing in 2022 Ultra4 Moab, Utah

4500 and 4800 classes are mixed when racing so they allow them to qualify mixed in the class as well, but they can set some very impressive times, some being comparable to the 4400 class. Speaking of the 4400 class, Loren Healy had a great qualifying run going, but as he started to climb the last few feet from the finish his front left tire wasn’t spinning as fast as the other and basically drifted though the finishing line. The problem was later identified as a broken CV, but with a quick repair he was ready to go for the main event.

Kevin Stearns racing Ultra4 2022 on Nitto Trail Grappler Tires

Ultra4 2022 Area BFE Beatdown Race Day Results

Race Day started with a crisp chill in the air, but warmed up quick as the sun rose into the sky. The cars were all dialed in, and racers were chomping at the bit after the few months everyone had off since The King of Hammers. The day started off with the stock class and Brad Lovell, who has raced KOH about every year and even in different classes, battled his way up front by the first lap and was able to hold strong in his new Ford Bronco and despite losing a back bumper still pulled out a win.

Brad Lovell racing off-road in Ultra4 2022 Moab, Utah

With 3 different classes in UTV after a few laps there were pretty spread out on the course which is actually nice for the viewer because you a racer coming by at least about once a min, sometimes there is a battle between two racers and they are both giving their best and they find out later they are not even in the same class, which is what happened at the finish, with a UTV Open winning, followed by 2 UTV Pro Modified. The attrition rate was about 50 percent on the 4500 and 4800 class however most set their fastest lap on the first lap, but they may have been charging a little too hard. The 4500 and 4800 classes saw some of the fiercest competition and they battled hard, several of them after having catastrophic failure which required a call to race ops to inform them that their day was over—yet still maintained a positive and encouraging attitude.

UTV off-road racing in Ultra4 Moab 2022 on Nitto Tires

Brian Croft was charging hard for the win and looked like he could have ended up on the podium top spot when he had to stop for a repair, which is always much harder to do in a single seat chassis car because one person has to do all of the work. Then later in the race his motor overheated, so he hopped out and started directing traffic so that he and the other racers would be safe and able to keep up their race pace.

Bailey Campbell racing down rocky canyon in Ultra4 Off-Road race on Nitto Tires

Bailey Campbell was making great time and working on her 3rd lap when she clipped a tree with the front driver side which took out her front suspension. She attempted to continue and kept racing, but shortly after lost her steering due to severe damage on the steering rack, so she had to finally call it a day. One by one, the number of cars started to drop off or simply pulled out of the race because their vehicles couldn’t take any more abuse. The dust riddled rock course laid waste to eight cars before the day was done.

Shannon Campbell launching his Ultra4 car off the rocks in Moab 2022

Paul Horschel had one of the most impressive runs of the day till he had to stop and change an axle in the pits, which put him down a few places on the leaderboard. One of the famous Gomez Brothers, Marcos, was able to pull out a 3rd place podium finish, much to the chagrin of his fellow brothers who raced in the event.

Marcos Gomez climbing a big rock at 2022 Ultra4 Moab

The biggest story of the day was all about Paul Wolff, a UTV bouncer who got his start in the Southern Rock Racing Series and is an Illinois local. On his last lap he set the faster lap of all 4400 cars and ran down 4400-class veteran Loren Healy on the course.  Paul still finished behind Loren, but, on corrected time he won by a mere 23 seconds.  Paul was pretty excited to win in his Ultra4 Big Car debut. Yes, it was his first time racing the 4400 class in a big car, and he took down all the veteran giants. All eyes will be on him to see if lighting can strike twice in the upcoming event in Kentucky.

Top 3 finishers of 2022 Ultra4 Moab, Paul Wolff, Loren Healy, and Marcos Gomez

Main Race Results

4600 Spidertrax Stock Class

  1. Brad Lovell 1:22:54.830
  2. John Williams 1:48:42.340
  3. Kendall Glines 1:52:41.395

4900 Can-Am UTV Class

  1. Mark Welch 1:24:41.779
  2. Cole Clark 1:24:46.171
  3. Travis Zollinger 1:34:57.179

4500 Yukon Modified Class

  1. Shawn Rants 2:8:07.633
  2. Kenneth Goodall 1:26:55.888
  3. Matthew Weese 2:15:05.081

4800 Branik Legends Class

  1. Jeremy Jones 2:17:25.081
  2. Eric Wikle 2:19:07.738
  3. Jesse Lee 2:26:22.404

4400 Unlimited Class

  1. Paul Wolff 2:29:33.694
  2. Loren Healy 2:29:57.291
  3. Marcos Gomez 2:38:04.302
  4. Shannon Campbell 2:41:27.770
  5. Cade Rodd 2:44:48.934
  6. Darian Gomez 2:48:45.680
  7. Levi Shirley 2:14:18.769
  8. Kevin Stearns 3:00:03.704
  9. Kirk Jensen 3:1:15.314
  10. Bryan Crofts 1:23:29.184
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