DSC

Championship Off-Road Race Preview: Bark River

After a rain delay put off the start of the program to noon ET, Championship Off-Road’s return to Bark River International Raceway is officially underway. Rounds 9 and 10 of the 2022 season will see short course’s biggest championship return to the upper peninsula of Michigan for one of the most popular events of the year, as the top racers attempt to put themselves in the best points position possible for the finale from Crandon on Labor Day weekend.

Many of the Pro divisions have clear-cut leaders coming into Bark River, with CJ Greaves holding a 31-point advantage over Kyle LeDuc in Pro 4, Brock Heger leading Greaves by 35 in Pro Stock SXS, and rookie Hamish Kelsey up by 50 points in Pro Turbo SXS. Others are much closer, with Jerett Brooks up on Cory Winner by just two points in Pro 2, and two ties: Heger and Kyle Greaves in Pro Lite, and Nick Visser and Gray Leadbetter in Pro Spec.

Friday’s qualifying results saw some incredibly close times, especially in the ultra-competitive Pro 2 class. Top qualifier Keegan Kincaid, winner of three of the past four Bark River rounds, topped the charts with a 1:23.925, but both Dave Mason and Doug Mittag were within five one-hundredths of a second of the pole time; Brooks and Winner were sixth and seventh. LeDuc topped the Pro 4 charts with a 1:18.475, while Heger and Kyle Greaves qualified 1-2 in Pro Lite as they resume their battle. Heger would also post the top time in Pro Stock SXS, with a nearly two-second advantage over Owen VanEperen in that session.

Last year’s COR action at Bark River saw the title chases spread out significantly, with CJ Greaves adding 20 points on his lead over LeDuc in Pro 4 thanks to a weekend sweep and Heger doing the same to Greaves in Pro Stock. Brooks will hope that a repeat of last year’s Pro 2 victory will help him build a bigger advantage of his own, while a Kincaid repeat would mark his first podium of the year after an unlucky season. Kelsey, meanwhile, will be hard-pressed to extend his gap against stiff competition: not only did his three closest challengers, Owen and Rodney VanEperen and Kyle Chaney, all podium here last year, but they also posted the top three qualifying times on the weekend, with Kelsey fifth.

Live coverage of Championship Off-Road action at Bark River will stream as always on FloRacing, with TV coverage on the CBS Sports Network in the coming months. The COR season concludes as always on the first weekend of September with the World Championship Off-Road Races at Crandon International Raceway.

Image via Championship Off-Road

Chris Leone

A veteran of the motorsports industry (both physical and digital), Chris Leone contributes coverage of race events of all types to Off-Road Racer. Elsewhere, he is the marketing/communications manager at iRacing, media director of Jim Beaver's Down & Dirty Show, and a frequent contributor to UTV Underground.