Summer in the Midwest can feel like it flies by at a rapid pace, at least if you’re a fan of Championship Off-Road. It’s been just under a month since the season started at Antigo Lions Roaring Raceway, and yet Friday and Saturday’s visit to ERX Motor Park already marks the halfway point of the 2021 season. The series’ lone visit to the Minnesota track, after making two trips last year thanks to COVID-19 protocols that shifted a round away from Bark River International Raceway, should prove crucial to establishing which drivers are still in the championship hunt of the premier divisions, and which ones will be racing more for pride in the second half of the year.
CJ Greaves and Keegan Kincaid have been the racers to beat in the Pro 4 and Pro 2 truck classes so far this year, with Kincaid winning the first three rounds of the season at Antigo and Crandon last month and Greaves a perfect four-for-four on podiums thus far. But with defending Pro 4 champion Kyle LeDuc just 11 points out of that lead thanks to a Brush Run sweep, and last year’s Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series Pro 2 champion and this year’s Crandon Community Cup winner Jerett Brooks leading a deep contingent at 10 points behind Kincaid, there’s no guarantee that things stay the same when the final checkered flag falls on Saturday.
Greaves has long been a dual-class championship threat thanks to his participation in the Pro SXS classes, but he’s faced his strongest challenge yet this season by way of Brock Heger. Another former LOORRS champion who made the move east for 2021, Heger went toe-to-toe with Greaves by splitting wins in Antigo and beat him in both races in Crandon. In fact, thanks to three wins in four Pro Lite starts, the Pro Stock SXS division may serve as the battleground to determine the only multi-class champion of the season.
The Pro Mod SXS class was a family affair at Crandon, with father Rodney and son Owen VanEperen splitting the wins from the Brush Run and now entering ERX first and third in points. Only Andrew Carlson splits them in the standings, as he looks to defend a win here last year and become the first repeat class winner of the season at his family’s track.
With four rounds across two weekends at ERX last year, quite a few names had the chance to cross the top step of the Pro podiums. LeDuc and CJ Greaves split the four Pro 4 wins here just as they have in 2021 thus far, while defending Pro 2 champion Kyle Kleiman would love to recapture his twice-winning form here from last year and take his first victory of 2021. Pro Lite’s Kyle Greaves (three times) and Pro 2’s Ryan Beat (once) each won here last year and carry the momentum of wins at Crandon into the weekend.
Championship Off-Road action from ERX Motor Park will stream live all weekend at champoffroad.com and on the Championship Off-Road Livestream page. TV coverage will air on the CBS Sports Network on August 1, the same day as coverage of the Forest County Potawatomi Brush Run from Crandon that ran two weekends ago. After ERX, the series returns to action on July 31 and August 1 at Dirt City Motorplex, which will host its second national event after making its debut on the COR schedule last year.