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Big boys battle it out in AOAA’s first ULTRA4 event


CHRIS J. GREGO/STAFF PHOTO The Blyler family and their Big B Motorsports race team of Klingerstown and local fame took time out for a group photo before Saturday's inaugural Rock Krawler Showdown in Shamokin ULTRA4 Series race at the AOAA park in Coal Township. Josh Blyler, pictured front left with his two daughters, took first place in the 4400 class,

CHRIS J. GREGO/STAFF PHOTO The Blyler family and their Big B Motorsports race team of Klingerstown and local fame took time out for a group photo before Saturday’s inaugural Rock Krawler Showdown in Shamokin ULTRA4 Series race at the AOAA park in Coal Township. Josh Blyler, pictured front left with his two daughters, took first place in the 4400 class,

COAL TOWNSHIP — The Anthricite Outdoor Adventure Area’s (AOAA) first ever ULTRA4 Series racing event turned out to be quite successful and a fan favorite.

The day, which started off with clear skies, ended with a muddy celebration and many smiles.

Attendance

Saturday’s race drew an estimated crowd of more than 1,100 fans to the AOAA

CHRIS J. GREGO/STAFF PHOTO A buggy makes its descent down a steep rocky hill during Saturday's Rock Krawler Suspension Showdown in Shamokin ULTRA4 Series race at the AOAA park in Coal Township.

CHRIS J. GREGO/STAFF PHOTO A buggy makes its descent down a steep rocky hill during Saturday’s Rock Krawler Suspension Showdown in Shamokin ULTRA4 Series race at the AOAA park in Coal Township.

park, not including the race teams and their families, many of whom camped out at the AOAA’s Trailhead Campground, was also filled.

Challenging course

The six lap race through a 13-mile course on the AOAA’s eastern reserve proved to be a grueling test of stamina and durability. The challenging track featured a combination of rugged

ULTRA4 Series Global Race Coordinator J.T. Taylor, right, offers a handshake of congratulations to runner-up Erik Miller, left, and champion Josh Blyler following Saturday afternoon’s race.

ULTRA4 Series Global Race Coordinator J.T. Taylor, right, offers a handshake of congratulations to runner-up Erik Miller, left, and champion Josh Blyler following Saturday afternoon’s race.

terrain including flats, hills, tight turns, heavily forested woods and large rocks, mudholes and much more. The degree of difficulty of the AOAA course was acknowledged and evident by the frustrated reaction of several drivers as many of the series top racers failed to fully navigate it.

One of the most challenging areas was

CHRIS J. GREGO/STAFF PHOTO Showdown in Shamokin ULTRA4 Series unlimited 4400 class race winner, Josh Blyler, of Klingerstown, was all smiles after his first place finish Saturday at the AOAA park in Coal Township.

CHRIS J. GREGO/STAFF PHOTO Showdown in Shamokin ULTRA4 Series unlimited 4400 class race winner, Josh Blyler, of Klingerstown, was all smiles after his first place finish Saturday at the AOAA park in Coal Township.

a large rock climb, where drivers had to carefully make their way up a steep incline while at the same time crawling their vehicles over rocks that are difficult to even walk through. The rock climb area of the track was also a spectator favorite as several hundred people made their way off the

CHRIS J. GREGO/STAFF PHOTO Racers take the checkered flag at Saturday's Showdown in Shamokin ULTRA4 Series race at the AOAA in Coal Township.

CHRIS J. GREGO/STAFF PHOTO Racers take the checkered flag at Saturday’s Showdown in Shamokin ULTRA4 Series race at the AOAA in Coal Township.

beaten path to watch the racers climb up the steep, rocky mountain terrain through several switchbacks and then back down.

Final results

In the unlimited 4400 class (big boys) race, local favorite Josh Blyler of Big B Racing from Klingerstown, bested pre-race favorite Erik Miller of Miller Motorsports, Cumberland, Maryland by a mere 14 seconds

CHRIS J. GREGO/STAFF PHOTOS Two racers make their final push toward the finish line Saturday during the first ever Showdown in Shamokin ULTRA4 Series race at the AOAA park in Coal Township.

CHRIS J. GREGO/STAFF PHOTOS Two racers make their final push toward the finish line Saturday during the first ever Showdown in Shamokin ULTRA4 Series race at the AOAA park in Coal Township.

to take first place in the inaugural Rock Krawler Suspension Showdown in Shamokin ULTRA4 Series race at the Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area (AOAA) park in Coal Township. Derek West, of Springfield, Missouri took third place. All three top finishers ran with Nitto Tires, one of ULTRA4’s lead sponsors.

Race coordinator J.T. Taylor announced the three

CHRIS J. GREGO/STAFF PHOTO Unlimited class 4400 racers make their way up a steep rock climb during Saturday’s Rock Krawler Showdown in Shamokin ULTRA4 Series race at the Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area (AOAA) in Coal Township.

CHRIS J. GREGO/STAFF PHOTO Unlimited class 4400 racers make their way up a steep rock climb during Saturday’s Rock Krawler Showdown in Shamokin ULTRA4 Series race at the Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area (AOAA) in Coal Township.

top finishers at the end of the race, which lasted approximately three hours in its entirety. The top buggies and their drivers made their way to the ‘hot pit’ area and parked their vehicles, which were caked with mud, both inside and out. There were plenty of smiles and hugs to go around for those left standing, especially the local winners.