Holtger Becomes First-Time Winner Alongside Big-Name Triumphs in Championship Off-Road at Bark River

If you took a quick glance through the list of winners from last weekend’s Championship Off-Road action at Bark River International Raceway, you wouldn’t be too surprised at most of them. After all, it was a split weekend between CJ Greaves and Kyle LeDuc in Pro 4, Greaves and Brock Heger in Pro Stock SXS, and Robert Loire and Greaves in Pro Turbo SXS (although one of those wins was a long time coming). A different Greaves, Kyle, added a Pro Lite victory as he looks to hold off Heger for the Pro Lite title, while Mickey Thomas took his fourth checkered flag in 10 tries across a prolific Pro 2 season.

But for the up-and-coming John Holtger, Saturday’s Pro 2 feature at Bark River etched his name alongside short course racing royalty. After top qualifier Keegan Kincaid drew a 10-truck invert for the race, Holtger had the good fortune of starting first, pulling away as the trucks behind him fought tooth and nail for the remaining podium spots and earning his first win in the class in his very first try.


The win was just one of many surprising (and sometimes championship-altering) moments from the annual visit to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, as few drivers were able to claim dual podiums across the Pro classes on the weekend. Greaves and LeDuc managed in their Pro 2s, finishing second in the respective races that they didn’t win, while Greaves also went 1-2 in Pro Stock and Kyle Chaney earned a pair of runner-up results in Pro Turbo to whittle Hamish Kelsey’s points lead down to 17.

But Pro 2 produced six different podium finishers, with past champions Keegan Kincaid and Kyle Kleiman joining Holtger on Saturday and Thomas flanked by Cory Winner and Doug Mittag on Saturday. Winner is now within two points of championship leader Jerett Brooks, while Thomas is up to third at just 22 points back with an outside shot of his own.


Meanwhile, Trey Gibbs’ third place on Saturday and win on Sunday extended his Pro Lite podium streak to five, and he’s now right there with Kyle Greaves and Heger as that group is split by just three points. Brody Eggleston and Travis Milhausen Jr. each joined Gibbs on the podium for the first time on Sunday. Gray Leadbetter and Nick Visser remain closely matched for the Pro Spec title as well, with the winner from Crandon likely to take home the title.

The third season of Championship Off-Road wraps up with the traditional Labor Day weekend World Championship at Crandon International Raceway, which celebrates its 53rd running in 2022. As always, COR champions are crowned on Saturday, before World Championships are handed out as part of a full program of races on Sunday that culminates with the Crandon World Cup for Pro 4s and Pro 2s. Tickets can be purchased here, while live streaming will be available as always via FloRacing and CBS Sports Network will show the action on television in the coming months.

Images 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.