DECEMBER 4, 2017
Ultra4 Racing’s King of the Hammers is known as the toughest one day off-road race on the planet. While KOH may be the toughest, it’s not the only Ultra4 event to crown a king. Just over the pond in Europe, you’ll find an eager assortment of some extremely competitive off-road racers looking to take the coveted title of King of Britain. This year, an American driver by the name of Bailey Cole would go on to nab first place. Fresh off of his win, we caught up with Cole to find out about his race, along with what the future holds for the very busy race car driver.
DL: First off, congrats on taking home the win! For those Ultra4 fans in the states not familiar with King of Britain, can you talk a little about it and how it compares to King of the Hammers?
BC: King of Britain is a European Ultra4 event. I would say the race it was the most similar to this year was the Indiana East Coast regional. It is a wet race that had multiple laps consisting of woods and a rock quarry. This leads to a lot of action all over the track. This was also the first race in Europe that was a rolling start, so there was thousands of horsepower leaving the start line at once. It was a blast to be racing with the best from across the pond.
How were the crowds and other competitors?
The crowds were pretty good. We were a few miles outside a small town and it seemed like most of the town showed up. There were definitely people in the spectator areas like the Rock Section. It was fun to pass cars in there and hear the crowd go crazy. The competitors are starting to get really fast over there. There are some cars there that would be competitive over here in the states. It seems like the Euro Fighters are dominating over there right now. Rob Butler and Axle Burman just built IFS cars that are true works of art and extremely fast. It was a lot of fun battling with them at the event.
Ultra4 Racing continues to evolve as a sport. How do you feel about the idea of it continuing to expand internationally?
I think it is really good for Ultra 4 to expand overseas. It allows the following to expand all over the world. Innovation and evolution are sure to follow. One thing that I know has expanded since we crossed the pond is our winches. Before Ultra4 went to Europe, they mostly had winching competitions. They designed winches that can pull a car up to 15 mph. Now, I know quite a few cars that have those winches on the car. We brought speed over there while they brought some finesse back to the states. It is cool to be able to see how, both nationally and internationally, the races have changed in the past few years.
You left your normal race machine back in the U.S. How was it jumping into a different rig? What was similar and drastically different?
It was actually my old Spec racecar from the states. It is a good car, however, it is vastly different from my current car. The Spec cars were built to be a good all-purpose car that could be rented out to people that wanted the Hammers experience. They are way overbuilt in every way for their motors. My current car is a Trent Fab Top Shelf car and is a true race car. It is low, high horsepower, and has all the strong parts that kept the Spec car driving. They are both very good cars, but it is definitely a different experience driving both of them.
It looked like there was plenty of mud on the course. Can you talk a little about your race day and how the terrain and weather impacted your race?
It was very difficult conditions. The mud and water were hard on us, our teams and parts on the cars. The mud there was like clay—so it was thick, heavy and there were a few parts of the course where we were splashing through 3-foot deep mud puddles. I tend to not like mud that much. It’s cold, hard on parts and I tend to run with my visor up half way through the race because you can't clean it off fast enough. That means by the end of every heat, I had to get my eyes flushed with all the mud and dirt that flew into them. The weather was definitely a difficult part of the event, but we all had to deal with it and in the end it was still a blast to race it.
With the 2018 King of the Hammers approaching quickly, what are you doing to prepare? Any new chassis, tactics, or superstitions?
(For the 2018) King of the Hammers, I am doing something that is a little crazy. I am partnering with Robby Gordon and racing his race Arctic Cat UTV. Then, I am racing my current Legends Trent Fab Car. To top it all off, I am stealing my dad's 4400 Trent Fab Top Shelf Car that just finished 2nd in the 4400 class at the Baja 1000. I'll be racing three days in a row—and hopefully, will be competitive all three days. Since the off-season for racing began, I've been getting my cardio in in the morning and every other day a few friends and I go rock climbing at a gym. Hopefully, getting me in good enough shape to keep me going through the three days of abuse.
Aside from Driving Line, how can Ultra4 fans keep up with you and your race team?
I am on both Facebook and Instagram. On these pages, you can see the most recent changes to the car and my race program. And, of course, to get the best race recaps, go to DrivingLine.com!
One last question. What's the best advice you can give to someone interested in getting into Ultra4 Racing?
Just do it. It doesn't matter what class you race. From UTV, stock class to Ultra4, you will have a blast and meet good people. The best part of Ultra4 for me is most of the guys racing are my really good friends. Everyone wants to help one another and it's just a great environment. So, if you are interested just try it.
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