Taylor, Thompson defend Ultra 4 Lands End Hill Climb title
Two years ago, J.T. Taylor and Matt Thompson brought their rock crawler to try it out at the Lands End Hill Climb.
This year, there were 14 buggies racing up Grand Mesa in the Western Grand Slam Series of Off-Road Racing.
Taylor and Thompson, who won the first official Ultra 4 Lands End Hill Climb last year, defended their title Sunday with a time of 5 minutes, 33.06 seconds.
And they did it without brakes.
“We lost our brakes half way up (the first run),” Taylor said. “I downshifted, pitched it sideways and held on. We bled (the brakes) and it didn’t seem much better. I can’t let them outrun me.”
Jimmy Olson posted the fastest time on the 5.3-mile course to win the open competition class in 4:58.42 seconds. Todd Cook of Tempe, Ariz., took second in 4:58.45. Justin Schumacher won the Sportsman Class.
Rick Mooneyham and Scott Ward of Lake Havasu City, Ariz., took second place in the Ultra 4 Class in 5:35.35 in the finals of their first hill climb race.
“The first run, we were going nowhere fast,” Mooneyham said. “It was so marbley. We couldn’t control the car. We thought these guys were going to own us. After the track started clearing off, we started going faster and faster.”
Mooneyham and Ward, though, were less than two seconds off Taylor and Thompson’s time after the first run Sunday.
“We told (Taylor and Thompson) we’re only six seconds away from breaking your record,” Mooneyham said. “This is completely different than anything we have (in Arizona).”
Taylor and Thompson shaved of 78 hundreths of a second while Mooneyham and Ward failed to post a faster time.
“It’s fun,” Mooneyham said. “Luckily, it’s shorter than most of our racing so you don’t have to worry about breaking it so much. It’s hard on parts we’re normally not hard on.
“J.T. is the one that got all of us started on it. He came out here and ran pretty good against everyone else. Everyone wants to do what J.T. is doing.”
Loren Healy won the first and second races of the series, the King of Hammers and Silver State 300. He placed fourth in the Lands End Hill Climb.
The fourth race in the series is the Rock Crawl at Cougar Buttes near Barstow, Calif.
“There are a couple of them that really turned it up, Rick, Loren (Healy) and Kevin Yoder,” Taylor said. “It’s been fun racing.”