What had previously been a set of single-digit points leads among most of the Pro classes coming into Championship Off-Road’s long-awaited visit to Bark River International Raceway, turned into a group of clear-cut championship leaders going into Crandon.
CJ Greaves’ Pro 4 points advantage over defending champion Kyle LeDuc expanded from five to 25 after a weekend sweep. Keegan Kincaid rebounded from a tough go at Dirt City to win the first Pro 2 race, but Jerett Brooks took the points lead and then finally found the top step of the podium the next day. In the SXS divisions, Brock Heger broke the deadlock with Greaves in Pro Stock, and consistency enabled Rodney Van Eperen to establish the advantage in Pro Mod even as Andrew Carlson bounced back to win the second race of the weekend.
In short, the first Bark River event in two years may have done more to determine this year’s champions than World Championship weekend itself will early next month.
Funnily enough, if you had only watched the first halves of the two Pro 4 races, you’d have thought it was a different Greaves who’d have swept them. Johnny rode hot starts to the top spot in both, only to have mechanical troubles knock him from both events. Jimmy Henderson and rookie Ben Passa would complete the Saturday podium, while Doug Mittag and Carlson would finish second and third on Sunday as LeDuc missed the podium in both races.
In Pro 2, Kincaid struck first with his fourth win of the season on Saturday, outdueling Brooks for the lead shortly after the midway caution as both would capitalize on incoming points leader Ryan Beat’s mechanical issues. Brooks would inherit the top spot from Beat even as Mickey Thomas snuck past him for second in the race. He’d extend that advantage with a win over Cory Winner and Ricky Gutierrez on Sunday, aided further by more trouble for Beat and a DNF for Kincaid.
It was a VanEperen 1-2 in Pro Mod SXS on Saturday as Owen won the race and Rodney got past Carlson for the points lead, with Brock Haugen completing the podium after an early battle for the lead with Kyle Chaney. Chaney would fail to finish that race, but he’d bounce back for a second place finish to Carlson on Sunday, with Rodney VanEperen returning to the podium in third.
Heger’s pursuit of dual titles in his first COR season got a huge break when he won Saturday’s Pro Stock SXS race over Owen VanEperen and Johnny Holtger as CJ Greaves took a DNF. He would then complete the sweep on Sunday ahead of Greaves and Jacob Rosales. Cole Mamer finally scored his first win of the year in Pro Lite on Saturday ahead of Dillon Pointon and Madix Bailey, but Heger would bounce back over Mamer and Pointon on Sunday for his seventh win of the year.
Behind Greaves in Pro 4 and Heger in Pro Stock SXS, there were seven other weekend sweeps. They included Michael Meister in Pro Buggy, Colin Schulz in 1600 Light Buggy, Dylan Parsons in 1600 Single Buggy, Ben Holtger in Super Stock Truck, TJ Ewert in Stock Truck, Kody Krantz in 170 SXS, and Chase Braun in 570 SXS.
The Championship Off-Road season concludes as always on Labor Day weekend with the World Championship Off-Road Races at Crandon International Speedway. Three full days of racing kick off on Friday, September 3, with COR points racing the first two days and the independent World Championship events on Sunday.
Images via Championship Off-Road