BLACKWELL, TX APRIL 9, 2011 – History was made at the finish line of the Blackwell 250 when, for the first time ever, an Ultra 4 racer took an overall desert win. The #232 AMSOIL Ranger fought dust and traffic all day after starting at the back of the 4400 class to come out on top.
The inaugural Blackwell 250 is part of the BRT racing series and was held on the Texana Ranch near Blackwell, TX. The enormous ranch hosted a 42-mile loop packed with plenty of rough sections, jumps, banked turns, and dust. The ranch may be more akin the wilds of the African savanna than the deserts of Baja as zebras, gazelles, and other exotic creatures roamed the course on race day. In any case, the combination of influences gives the ranch, race, and series its own unique foothold in off-road racing.
While the fastest vehicles (Class 1 & Trophy Truck) were given a chance to qualify for start position, all others were drawn from a hat. This put Lovell at the back of the Ultra 4’s with nothing to lose and a lot of dust to fight. “Our plan was to hold a strong pace and never stop,” commented Brad, “The dust was bad but we stayed patient. The engine went sour right off the start but hung in there.” As the laps ticked away, Lovell climbed to the front of the Ultra 4 class before facing fuel issues. “We had problems in the fuel cell and had to stop for fuel every 20 miles. It kept getting worse and we were barely able to make left turns without starving the engine.” While the pit crew made preparations to fix the problem, the decision was made to take a gamble and keep moving at all costs. The team played their cards right and the truck lost all fuel supply 50-feet after crossing the finish line.
While the team did have difficulties in the race, they proved just how competitive an Ultra4 can be in the desert. Lovell continues, “We kept trading position with a trophy truck and were the exact same speed for 2 laps. We passed a couple fast cars and must have gotten the others in the pits. I’m proud to show the desert guys what Ultra4 racers can do. Jordan Stemas was my co-driver and did a great job. We all worked hard to prep the truck and it paid off. I’d like to thank the Ellet family, Pikes Peak Rovers, and Rockware for support during the race as well as AMSOIL, BFGoodrich, Torchmate, Spidertrax, and our other sponsors for their commitment to our team.”
The victory was the team’s first in nearly a year and gives the #232 AMSOIL Ranger wins in rockcrawling, rock racing, hill climbing, and now desert racing. The team now prepares for a few days of relaxing trail riding in Moab, UT at the Easter Jeep Safari.