Special report to ModernJeeper by Lona Scott of Scott’s Designs, front line action photographer, designer and race junkie!
The Race and the Results — Ultra4 Nationals
Photos and Story by Lona Scott of Scott’s Designs
Ultra4 Nationals is the closing race of the season that brings the east and west coast racers together for a chance to claim that spot on the National podium! For some 4400 drivers it’s there last chance to grab a KOH spot…In turn it’s a crucial and brutal race! They cut in a massive hill climb on the backside and added another rock pile in the front straight away. This first rock pile was used by many as a jump, clearing the rocks entirely. For some this worked out great, for others it only caused carnage. If your timing and speed was on point it saved time, if not then there was a chance you were going to over jump it and go for a tumble which a few did!
Cody Addington was determined to win in his #888, the Orange Dragon. Cody said, “You don’t expect anything in this sport; you don’t expect it but you want to and at first I go in my head I want to finish and then I said no I’m gonna win, I want to win and that’s what we did. Being a small town low budget team pushing to win with the best guys in the sport. Living the dream and not giving up,” he added.
He put it all out there sending it completely sideways over the 1st rock section and pulled it off with first place.
Mike Bou has really stepped it up this year in his #54 car. Bou started racing Ultra4 in 2014 with the Rooky of the year award and now sits at 6th place in the nation, 4th place in the Western Series, and he crossed the finish line 2nd at Nationals! Mike posted, “I really can’t express how this feels… partied like rock star Saturday night with all my friends then cried on the way home Sunday morning. Worked so hard for so long… thanks everyone.” Mike is hoping that with such a great year and in a winning car that he will find some great partners to help keep this momentum going!
Loren Healy placed 3rd with his Fun Haver Off-Road team mates Vaughn Gittin Jr.’s #25 Car. (Brocky). Loren’s car is currently in Saudi Arabia on display and getting ready for the Riyhad show in November, where he and Vaughn will be putting on some awesome demos, followed by his car being auctioned off.
Bailey Cole has been consistently winning in his #4854 Trent Fab car and with a huge smile took 1st place! In the prelim, Bailey drug his rear axle through the rocks and crossed the finish line after sheering off passenger side wheel studs. With dedicated race support from Trent Fabrication, they got his car all fixed up and did amazing in the main!
His car was built for CRAWL Magazine and named CRAWLmerica. It debuted at SEMA 2013. Bailey was given the chance in the car for 2017 and beyond. The evolution from shock on axle to trailing arms, 2.5s to 3.0s larger engines, going from the th400 to 4l80 had taken several seasons. 2019 is the first season they haven’t made any drive-train or suspension changes or upgrades.
Kyle Wickham pulled off a 2nd place podium with zero race prep in his #4823 car. That’s right he let it sit all year then killed it at Nationals. He said, “I was super pumped to get a podium!”
That says a lot for his driving skills and his car and I’m sure is leaving a lot of people in awe. Kyle stated, “The ultra4 national championship race was a ton of fun. The guys in this class are super fast and super competitive. My brother, Jade Wickham, did an awesome job at spotting me around this track which lead us to a 2nd place finish.”
David Hartman driving his #4874 Jimmy’s car said “we lost coms on lap 2 and had no spotter until lap 6, we thought the Wickhams were a lap down and let them pass .. made a big mistake! My favorite part of the race was qualifying where we were the first people to really jump the rocks that was a very weird feeling just hucking it into the rocks and trusting the car to do what it should do! The season literally came down to the last corner with us between Jeremy Jones and Casey Gilbert’s car but luckily I pulled off a pass in the rocks that put us on the podium in 3rd. Hucking those rocks is either hero or zero and I was lucky it worked !”
Dave Cole, the owner of Ultra4 was very humble even before the race, contacting each driver to see if they would mind if he raced and of course they welcomed him. Dave was driving the #4566 Trent Fab car, same manufacture as his son Bailey Cole’s car.
This car was New for 2017 season, Built for and owned by Canadian Dustyn Friesen. The “boat steering” has been a learning curve of maintenance and driving finesse. The idea for Dave Cole to drive came from Dustyn, and it worked well. Dave got a chance to see what it’s like as a driver, and to get another #1 for the cable car.
Jesse Oliver won 2nd place in #4517. Jesse said, “Loved the track in Reno, first time on it was this year. The weekend started rough, broke the Atlas Thursday, rolled Friday, hadn’t had a full lap around the course until the prelim. Cut a tire and broke an axle shaft in the prelim, so just tried to survive. Goal was to make up places in the main to maintain my 2nd place national points. When Shawn Rants broke early in the main, 2nd place in national points was sealed, so then it was chase position and give Dave Cole a run for his money.”
His 2000 TJ is an 8 year old build. Jesse said “it’s rough around the edges, but it’s getting more robust every year. This year, everything came together after a complete tear down in January, to finish every race of the season without unbuckling my seat belt a single time, and not changing a tire during a race until the prelim at nationals.”
Dan Fresh in the #88 car pulls off 3rd place. Dan has been racing desert for the past 20 years. Being new to Ultra4 he says that he really enjoys the challenge of the rocks.
Dan’s goal for Nationals was to make top 10 in order to win West Coast Championship. He drove real conservatively with no flats. He commented that “we were fortunate enough to not break and kept working our way up.”
They won 3rd place at Nationals and the West Coast Championship. They made the podium all season making it one hell of a year! The 88 car is a hand built tube chassis with the look of a jeep. #88 was built by Johnny Rocha and John Currie for Gerald Lee of Savvy Off-Road Racing in the Summer of 2012. Johnny expressed, “We literally built the car to win Hammers , we wanted a car that would be able to tackle every obstacle without the co-driver having to get out an winch.”
Dan ended our conversation with this comment, “Ultra4 is such a cool group of people is what I notice the most. Everyone is there to help each other out.”
Honestly, I couldn’t agree more with Dan’s last statement!
Dawson Allington in all his excitement took home 1st in his #4695 Baby Jeep. “The National race was an exciting finale to my 2019 race season, it was my last chance to stand on top of the podium.” said Dawson. His mom Melanie Allington posted “Awesome Racing! Dawson Allington / @babyjeepracing won 1st place at Nationals. 2nd place in Ultra4 West Series & 3rd place over all National Championship in the 4600 Stock Class. What a way to end the race season!
Also, last MRI as of the 2nd of October, he is still disease free. #cancersurvior Definitely cause to celebrate!! That smile says it all!! Dawson has battled with cancer while racing Ultra4 Series, kicked cancers butt and continues to do amazing in his Baby Jeep on the track!
Jesse Haines drives the #4699 Roxor. “Not only was I driving the only non-Jeep vehicle in 4600, it’s the first Mahindra Roxor in the class. We did everything possible to build a competitive car with the Roxor’s old school technology. Our finish at Nationals gave me a lot of confidence that we can be a contender in 4600 heading into next season,” said Haines.
Bill Schultz in his #4622 2018 JL Sport, states “Our last race of the year was the Ultra4 National Championship where we saw the most brutal course ever for a Nationals. We chose to run conservative in qualifying which put us at the back of the pack for the Prelim which we worked our way up to 3rd.”
He stuck to their game plan and ran at his own pace in hopes of saving the car for the finish. He made a pass on the 3rd place car in the last rock section right before the finish line, landing him on the podium.
Cole Clark in his #24 RZR UTV with a Stock Motor, upgraded Tune and Clutching claimed 1st place. “I have had a season that can make or break me. I wasn’t having fun, I wasn’t enjoying process like I used to. I was just going through the motions, so for Nationals I told myself I’ll just have fun. And fun we had, the whole weekend was zero stress. The car held together amazing, and when we ran into an issue we solved it. Keeping calm and just having fun doing what I love to do more than anything on this earth,” said Cole.
After such a rough year Cole says, “For us to continue to race next year we need to pick up some serious partners that are as serious about winning as we are.”
Jamie McCoy won 2nd place in #70 Can-am UTV. He started on a hand me down 4wheeler not knowing a thing, went to motocross, owned a moto track for kids. When Polaris came out with the RZR, he bought one and raced it.
He now finds himself in a Can-am saying “I’m a 53 yrs old guy just trying to go fast! I love to race the best competition but I’ve told Kyle Chaney before, I wish I was as young as you boy.”
Jacob Versey who walked away with 3rd place said, “The only thing that stands out to me at Nationals is the level of competition and the amount of commitment it takes to run top 5 in qualifying, heat and main, it is very difficult and we are all committed to dragging the car in ragged and on 3 wheels so to get a podium spot is very difficult!”
His RZR is currently bone stock with not even an ECU tune so he’s about 50-100 hp low compared to most of the cars out there and that just shows HP isn’t always the key. Clean consistent driving is always Jacob’s goal and that is what landed him in 3rd place National Championship spot!
Ultra4 Nationals is for some their favorite race of the year. Whether you are a racer, spectator or a photographer…Nationals is always exciting! The track is very challenging and truly pushes each driver and their car to the limits at Wild West Motorsports Park in Sparks Nevada. Myself along with many others can’t wait for next year. In the meantime…KOH prep has begun and I hope to see y’all out there.
Learn more about Lona Scott of Scott’s Designs here.