Rain greets Bark River Racers

Bark River, Mich. Sat Aug. 14, 2022~ Every year, some of the best races happen in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Bark River International Raceway may not crown the sports champions, but success at the big, fast track solidifies your legitimacy as a contender.

Rain met competitors as AMSOIL Championship Off-Road made its annual trip to Bark River. Muddy conditions are part of off-road, and a great equalizer as driver’s must be both cautious and aggressive to win. 

Greaves Prevails in Pro 4 as LeDuc Attempts Another Comeback

Time might be running out on Kyle LeDuc’s attempt to chase down and overtake CJ Greaves in the points battle, but if the past few rounds of racing are any indication, there’s no quit in the driver of the 99 and Greaves is going to have to always account for his whereabouts.

CJ Greaves topped Pro 4 action with Kyle LeDuc second and Andrew Carlson third.

LeDuc started third on Saturday but held the lead by the time the Pro 4 field completed its first lap. Greaves was stalking the leader, but LeDuc was looking for a larger lead. On lap five, that lead would dwindle after LeDuc hit a berm, blowing a tire in the process. That put Greaves out front and while he would have to regain it later in the race, he was able to power away over the final few laps for win number five this season.

“My spotter just kept telling me on the radio, ‘keep your cool. You got a fast truck. Just quit making mistakes and quit catching the cushion.’, said Greaves. “It was a battle of whoever didn’t slide into the cushion and get straightened out today.  It’s a bummer Kyle got a flat because it’s always a good battle and he’s been on a roll lately. He’s been pushing us to work on our setup and doing anything we can to get a little faster.”

LeDuc’s flat didn’t signify the end of his day. Despite running the rubber off the wheel, LeDuc was able to get into the hot pit and replenish the missing treads without losing a lap. A mandatory caution allowed him to stay on the lead lap, but in last place. LeDuc put in another charge as he clawed his way to the front. He was able to skirt past Andrew Carlson on the final lap to move into the runner-up spot, marking his third straight podium finish and allowing him to keep pace with Greaves in the standings.

Carlson kept his speed up throughout Saturday’s race, finishing third behind LeDuc. The podium finish was Carlson’s first in Pro 4 since the opening round.

Holtger Wins First Career Pro 2 Race

Things are extremely tight atop the Pro 2 class this season. Two points separated leader Jerett Brooks and Cory Winner at the top, but several contenders were in striking distance as the Bark River weekend opened for racing.

One name that wasn’t on the list was Johnny Holtger. That’s because Holtger had yet to line-up for a Pro 2 race. Not this year. Not ever. But Holtger made the most of his opportunity by shocking the system and creating a little bit of late season havoc in what was already a close competition.

Holtger took advantage of a front-row starting position thanks to an invert of ten trucks. He didn’t throw-away the opportunity, racing out to the early lead, and not allowing the class favorites to bully their way into the lead. Brooks was the biggest threat to Holtger, but a flat tire took him out of contention. That gave Holtger what every driver was looking for on Saturday, clean air, and the ability to stay out of the mud.

“I’ve never been so scared in my life, but I like to thank Keegan (Kincaid) for pulling a 10,” said Holtger after the race. “That’s the only reason I got up front right away, but it was just go and not look back. My spotter told me ‘Dude, you’re clear by 20. You’re gone’ and then it’s just not making any mistakes.”

With the laps ticking away, it appeared Ricky Gutierrez and Doug Mittag would round out the podium. But the pair tangled a little too tightly and both dropped positions. That moved Keegan Kincaid and Kyle Kleiman up the line, with Kincaid taking the runner-up spot, his first podium finish of the season.

Greaves Holds Off Heger in Pro Lite

Entering Bark River, no championship chase was as close as the one in Pro Lite. Defending class champion Brock Heger and Kyle Greaves came into round nine all nodded up with 362 points. There wasn’t much separation after the conclusion of Saturday’s race, as Heger and Greaves went toe-to-toe for the outright lead.

Heger held the initial advantage, leading just ahead of Greaves for the first four laps. But Greaves was able to sneak around on lap five, and no matter how close Heger got, Greaves was able to keep Heger from completing the pass. The two would cross the line less than 7/10ths of a second apart, with Greaves winning his third race of the season and taking a one-point advantage in the standings.

Behind the leaders, race fans saw several different battles for the final podium position. Several drivers held on to the spot throughout the race, but when the mud stopped getting chewed up, it was Trey Gibbs finding his fourth straight podium finish. 

Gibbs, who won his first race of the season in Dirt City two weeks ago, kept pace with Heger and Greaves in the standings. He sits just 20 points behind Greaves in third.

Loire Leads Pro Turbo for Second Straight

Robert Loire’s first few races of the 2022 season are a distant memory. The Polaris driver has been the driver to beat in Pro Turbo over the last month and a half, and his winning ways carried on in Bark River on Saturday.

After grabbing the lead off the jump, Loire had his hands full throughout the final thanks to constant, intense pressure from former class champion Kyle Chaney. The Can AM driver did everything in his power to get around Loire, but he was never able to find enough room to squirt past the race leader. In the end, Loire crossed the line less than a second ahead of Chaney. It marked Loire’s second straight win and his third in the past four rounds.

Chaney, who opened the season by winning three straight, returned to the podium for the first time in four rounds with a second place finish. Gregorie Michaud started a streak of his own on Saturday, finishing third for his second-straight podium finish.

PRO STOCK SXS: With the season winding to a close, the gap in Pro Stock SXS between Brock Heger and CJ Greaves continues to tighten. 

It looked like another showdown between the two with Heger taking the early lead and holding on to a slim margin over Greaves at the half-way mark. Once the restart took place, however, Heger had a hard time holding onto the lead. Greaves was able to sneak by as Heger found contact with another car. A right rear flat would push Heger back down the line as Greaves stretched out his lead on his way to his third win in the past four rounds.

Heger’s misfortune gave way to opportunity for Jack LeTourneau, who finished second ahead of Dallas Nord. It was LeTourneau’s first podium since round one. It marked Nord’s first podium of the season.

Over the past four rounds, Greaves has gained 21 points on Heger’s large lead, including 16 points on Saturday.

PRO SPEC: Gray Leadbetter was looking to extend her Pro Spec lead in wins on Saturday, but she would have to sit on four wins after a late charge by Chris Van Den Elzen.

Leadbetter and Van Den Elzen battled down the stretch, but a surge by Van Den Elzen with two laps to go would put his season win total to equal with Leadbetter at four. Leadbetter continues to hold down the points lead, sitting five points up after finishing second. Easton Sleaper held off Nick Visser for his third straight podium finish.


PRO AM SXS: Jake Jorgenson second half of the season is on the uptick. Jorgenson led from the get-go on Saturday and picked up his second win in the past three rounds of Pro-AM SXS action. 

A two-time winner this season, Tyler Remmereid made a last lap pass stick for his first podium finish since round three. Round eight winner Matthew Boerschinger raced near the front all day before crossing the line in third.

SUPER BUGGY: It took just one half of a lap for Larry Job to get the lead in Super Buggy on Sunday, but once he did, he didn’t give it back. Despite heavy pressure from Michael Meister for much of the race, Job held the point on the way to his first win of the season.

Meister looked to be holding down the second spot before he spun with two laps to go, which gave Ryan Schwalbe the opening he needed to move up to the runner-up spot. Meister’s spin also put points leader Billy Buth on the podium for the third straight race. It also extended his points lead over Meister to eight points with three rounds left on the schedule.

SPORTSMAN SXS: Cody Jones has found his groove over the past few weekends in the Sportsman SXS, heading into Bark River with four straight podium finishes. Jones continued his spectacular driving by winning a rain-soaked final on Saturday for his second straight win. 

Current points leader Ben Berger increased his points gap with a second-place finish. Berger was able to move into the runner-up spot on the final lap by getting around Jacob Blemke, who finished third just ahead of Dustin DeGrand.

MOD KART: Porter Inglese knows how to race with a lead, and he used the clean air on the mud-filled track to notch his sixth Mod Kart win of the season. The points leader was followed across the line by Troy Johnson in second and Andy Johnson in third.

1600 LIGHT BUGGY: Twins Connor and Colin Schulz had won a combined five 1600 Light Buggy races this season. Make that six after Colin made a last lap pass on his brother for his third win of the season. Connor crossed the line just behind Colin for second. Evan Hockers plowed through the muddy conditions for his first podium finish of the year.

STOCK TRUCK: The Stock Truck field pulled Yeoman’s duty on Saturday as they jumped up the schedule to be the first race of the weekend. That meant a soggy track awaited the competitive field. When the checkered flag dropped, it was points leader Cory Holtger who found enough traction to take the win, his class-leading sixth of the season. Defending class champion Diesel Shanak crossed the line in second, moving him to second overall behind Holtger and just two points ahead of Saturday’s third place finisher TJ Ewert.

170 SXS: Kody Krantz is blazing hot in the 170 SXS class. Krantz made it four in a row with an impressive win in Bark River on Saturday. Harper Hughes returned to the podium with a second place run after holding off points leader Wyatt Olson at the line for the runner-up spot.

570 SXS: With three rounds remaining, the overall points lead in 570 SXS is now dead-even between Chase Braun and Ryker Remington.

It was Dylan Rohloff’s day on Saturday, as he took the wire-to-wire win for his second win in the past three races. Ellah Holtger got herself back on the box with a strong race for second, crossing the line just ahead of Remington. With Braun finishing fifth, he and Remington are now tied at the top, with Saturday’s fourth place finisher, Ethan Dressel sitting just two points behind.

SUPER STOCK TRUCK: The largest Super Stock Truck field of the year lined up in Bark River on Saturday with 22 trucks taking the green flag. When the checkered flag dropped, it was Kyle Cooper leading the charge. He is in hot pursuit of points leader Ben Holtger for the overall, but Holtger didn’t lose much ground as he finished second. Nick Byng notched his third podium of the season with a third-place finish.

1600 SINGLE BUGGY: John Fitzgerald did everything he could to get around Dylan Parson, but the defending champion enjoyed the clean air as he picked up his second straight win. Fitzgerald held on to finish second, with Michael Seefeldt crossing the line uncontested in third.

SHORT COURSE KARTS: Race Visser picked up his first win of the year in round eight, and now has a two-race winning streak after a convincing win in round nine. Reed LeDuc and Gavin Plummer are in a tight battle for second overall as they try to chase down points leader Carter Zahara. LeDuc and Plummer were also in a tight battle on Saturday, with LeDuc getting the edge for the runner-up spot.

There are only two rounds of Pro racing left on the 2022 Championship Off-Road schedule, including Sunday’s round ten in Bark River. 

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