LS Fest has traditionally been a car event, but this year Holley went and changed the mold with the addition of LS Fest West and the Off Road Challenge. We had the chance to catch up with John Mathews of Off Track Motorsports to see how the event went for them and what they have planned the rest of the year.
“Off Track Motorsports is a race team comprised of tight-knit friends based out of Seattle, Washinton,” Mathews explained. “We have been racing in a couple different forms of off-road racing for the last few years starting with a Sportsman class desert rig in Best in the Desert. Most recently, we’ve been involved in Ultra4 Racing since I purchased an Ultra4 modified class 4500 car. Purchasing a proven car and performing a rigorous pre-race prep allowed us to finish February’s Every Man Challenge at King of the Hammers in ninth place in our class.”
Off Track Motorsports hitting the course during qualifying at LS Fest West.
With the off-road portion of LS Fest West being new, people had mixed feelings on it. “I was interested in Holley’s LS Fest West as soon as we got the email from Dave Cole inviting us racers out for the first ever off-road event,” Mathews said. “I wasn’t sure what to expect and the track that the crew put together was way better than I expected.”
Something off-road and car guys rarely see – an Ultra4 rig doing burnouts on the pavement.
“My favorite part was that we were able to get several runs in with practicing, qualifying, and then eliminations,” Mathews continued. “Getting invited to the Cinco De Mayo Tire De Fryo Friday night was a bonus for us. Who doesn’t love doing burnouts and donuts? It was just good old fun for everyone involved.”
The main event for the Off Road Challenge started Saturday afternoon with the elimination round. This would put two Ultra4 cars on the course at the same time, in a race to see who could complete both sides of the course the quickest.
“We beat Shane Smith in the no. 223 in the first round, and Kevin Stearns in the no. 4502 in the second round, which lined us up against Jordan Pellegrino in the no. 4585 in the semi-final,” Mathews said. “I thought we kept up pretty good on the first lap, and Jordan was pulling from me on the second lap. Going into the last corner I was pushing pretty hard and flopped the car over onto its right side. No damage was done, but Jordan got the win and into the final.”
Off Track Motorsports racing during the elimination rounds. They made it all the way to the semi-final before they laid the car on its side.
“Overall the event was a blast, although there was certainly some first-time-event type organization issues,” Mathews continued. “I’m sure they’ll get it all sorted out and we’re already looking forward to next years’ event. One portion that I missed out on, was that I didn’t realize we were able to compete in other events, next year I’ll likely register for some autocross runs just for fun.”
The race season is far from over as Mathews explained. “As a team, we’re looking forward to a busy summer and fall racing season,” he said. “We’re tearing the car down and prepping for a couple of smaller local events, and then an Ultra4 style race in British Columbia, Canada in August, the Ultra4 Fallon 250 in September, and the Ultra4 Nationals in Reno in October.”
Be sure to check out Off Track Motorsports if you head out to any future Ultra4 races.