Colorado Springs – The route from Las Vegas to Reno is surrounded by the most desolate landscape in the US. Temperatures up to 120 degrees sear rocky mountains and silt filled valleys. The remote nature allows the area to host the longest point to point race in the country – BITD Vegas to Reno. 323 teams took the green flag in an attempt to conquer the treacherous route.
Deep in the Ultra 4 class, brothers Brad and Roger Lovell sat in the #4423 AMSOIL/Torchmate rock racer readying themselves for the 534 mile journey. A lot can happen in that distance and there are no EMT’s around (or even witnesses) when disaster occurs. Roger was quick to set a smart pace and break through the mayhem that is the start of any desert race. The pair pushed through slower traffic and into clean air. The Nevada desert is full of silt but the 4wd and 37″ BFG KRT’s easily pushed through while others got mired.
Near dusk the AMSOIL team was reaching the half way point with a clean run. The crew serviced the truck and added the Warn light bar. The brothers switched seats with Brad now behind the controls. More silt, hills, and rocks dotted the course and the air hung heavy with dust. At times visibility was down to nothing and vertigo set in. Soon the transmission started to slip between gears. Before long, it stopped shifting all together and stuck in 2nd gear. The duo was limited to 50 mph with nearly 200 miles to go. “It really hurt us on the fast roads but didn’t cost us a whole lot of time in the rough stuff,” said Brad, “There was no way we were going to quit after 10 hours of running strong.”
Just as the team left the last pit, a high end ignition miss started to hamper speeds. “That’s when we started to worry a bit. We were on our own and only needed another 40 miles out of the truck.” Luckily, the issue did not increase in severity and they charged through a late breaking rain storm to reach the finish line in 13 hours, 11 minutes, 15 seconds. The Lovells finished 4th in the Ultra 4 class and 69th overall.
The determined effort of the entire team has given Brad Lovell the Ultra 4 Pro Series points lead going into the last event at Miller Motorsports Park Sept. 21 – 23. Before that, however, the team returns to TORC duty in the #44 AMSOIL/Torchmate Nissan for World Championship racing in Crandon, WI on Labor Day weekend. Brad set the track record at the legendary track in the spring and looks to take the points lead away from rival Andrew Caddell as the TORC season winds to a close.
2012 TRAXXAS TORC SERIES PRESENTED BY AMSOIL
4/20 & 21 Charlotte, NC * Live on SPEED 4/20
5/26 & 27 Red Bud, MI
6/16 & 17 Crandon, WI * Includes Ultra 4 Racing
7/19 & 20 Chicago, IL * Live on SPEED 7/20
8/11 & 12 Bark River, MI
9/1 & 2 Crandon, WI * World Championship Racing
9/29 & 30 Antelope Valley, CA * Traxxas Pro-Light Cup
Photo: Tom Kingston