Motorsports fans accustomed to handlebars, throttles and thin knobby tires in this neck of the woods were blown away with the highly aggressive world of TORC: The Off-Road Championship presented by AMSOIL.
RedBud MX, host of top professional motocross racing for more than 40 years, quite literally carved up its property for the premier off-road racing series. The result was nothing short of epic as those in attendance were, well, making plans on how they could see more when the TORC Series continues on to its final stops at Crandon (Wis.) International Raceway, Sept. 1-2, and ERX Motor Park (Minn.), Sept 22-24.
Sunday’s TORC Series racing at RedBud capped two days of intense competition. New winners and podium finishers pointed to the series’ parity, while overall point races tightened as the series continues to grow and attract new short course off-road racing fans at a pace.
The following is a breakdown of the TORC PRO class events on Sun., Aug. 13 at RedBud, beginning with the premier PRO 4 main event.
YOUNG GUNS OF TORC PUT ON SHOW IN PRO 4
Former TORC PRO 4 champion Ricky Johnson refers to TORC racing as the “UFC of motorsports.” And contact was abound in today’s premier PRO 4 class race at RedBud as TORC Young Guns CJ Greaves and Keegan Kincaid would put on a show-of-shows for the fans, CJ eventually winning a come-from-behind, last lap technical knockout of sorts over Kincaid.
“We got off to a bad start; track was rough and tough to pass on. One mistake costs you,” explained CJ, who recorded his fifth PRO 4 win of the season and is once again tied with his father, Johnny Greaves, in the season points chase.
Local racer Ross Hoek started on the pole and grabbed the early lead. Behind Hoek on the first turn Scott Douglas slid wide and brought Johnny Greaves with him into the outside vertical dirt wall below the announcer’s tower. The accident affected Johnny’s driver’s side tires, eventually forcing him to pull off at the competition yellow with two flats.
But before the damage reached that point, Johnny made his way to the lead. Keegan Kincaid dove to the inside of him on some loamy braking bumps in the most aggressive move of the race, but Johnny wouldn’t give up the lead just yet. The two briefly brought each other off the track, allowing CJ Greaves to make up significant ground, but the running order remained the same.
Later on the same lap, Johnny pushed wide in an off-camber left turn, allowing Keegan to zip inside for the lead just before the competition yellow. Johnny sped to the hot-pits to get his two flat tires replaced and dropped to the back of the field.
CJ Greaves and Kincaid would separate from the others in a great second-half battle. CJ made a quick pass on lap six, but on lap eight Keegan got back by him in a repeat of his earlier pass on Johnny. Unfortunately, Kincaid suffered a fuel pressure issue with just three turns remaining, and CJ was right there to make the pass for the win.
“He (Kincaid) hit a hole on the last lap so hard. I just thought to myself, ‘I’m gonna just go around that,’” said Greaves.
Added Kincaid: “That was a fun battle. We had a fast truck and on one of the last corners the fuel pressure started dropping on me. Couldn’t buy any luck today. Was going to win it, but things like that happen. That’s why they call it ‘racing.’ We hope to put ‘er back on top at Crandon.”
Coming back from last position to third was Johnny Greaves, who battled a stuck throttle, two flats and a jack that broke during the competition yellow tire change effort.
LUKE JOHNSON WINS PRO 2 WITH NEAR-PERFECT RUN
TORC PRO 2 series point leader Luke Johnson got a bit of redemption in Sunday’s final race at RedBud, charging from the back to the early lead and running a near-perfect race through the checkers for the 4.5 second win over Brad Lovell.
With the win, Johnson, who clocked the day’s fastest PRO 2 lap time by a full second, increased his lead in the overall point chase to 27 points over Lovell.
“I’m so happy to be back on top,” said an elated Johnson from the podium. “These guys were sure a handful to get through. The track was super rough today.”
Cody Conrad started up front and led early on, only to watch Johnson blast out of nowhere and into the lead. Like Luke Johnson, Andrew Carlson also had to start Sunday’s race towards the back. Saturday’s PRO 2 and PRO Light class winner, Carlson was eager to set up another great battle for first with Johnson, like they had the previous day. Unfortunately Carlson’s truck started to smoke, and the problem rapidly intensified on lap five, ending his day.
“We had engine failures in both trucks today,” said Carlson. “Sucks to blow up a motor, let alone two of them—especially (in PRO 2) when we had something for Luke (Johnson) up front.”
At the competition yellow Johnson led Lovell and third place Mark Peterson up Horsepower Hill and out into clean air. By lap eight Johnson had built a 2.5 second lead on Lovell, a lead he’d never relinquish.
“I was working as hard as I could, but Luke drove a really clean race. Gotta hand it to him,” said Lovell.
With two laps to go Cody Conrad would catch and pass Tim Nelson, who had got by Peterson for the final PRO 2 podium spot. The two would race close, with Conrad ultimately scoring the last podium position and his first-ever TORC PRO 2 podium. The Kenda Tire-backed PRO 2 rookie also scored the Bad MoFo award from Vision Wheel for his outstanding performance.
KYLE KLEIMAN WINS PRO LIGHT EXTENDING OVERALL POINTS LEAD
Consistent cornering and saving one’s truck are attributes of a champion off road racer, and Kyle Kleiman possesses both of those qualities. He put them on display in Saturday’s PRO Light main event win on what turned out to be an extremely rugged track for the PRO Lights.
Third place finisher, veteran racer Shawn Morris, put it best when he said, “That was the roughest track I’ve ever been on…I just held on for dear life.”
Morris’ teammate Chad Rayford ran up front early, pulling the holeshot from the pole position, followed by Morris and Saturday’s winner Andrew Carlson in third. But on lap three, Carlson would come into a cupped out corner hard, bounce out and roll onto his door. Officials called for a full course yellow while they pulled Carlson back to his wheels, and he rushed back to join the lead lap in last place.
With Rayford and Morris up front, overall point leader Kyle Kleiman made his move past Morris right where Carson rolled. Kleiman then went to first when Rayford went wide on a turn, taking the lead into the mandatory mid-race competition yellow.
With Kyle Kleiman up front, fans had one eye on him and another on Carlson, who put on an intense charge from last place up to third in just three laps. But the challenge catching up was too much for Carlson’s engine, and he was forced to retire from the contest.
Cam Reimers, who places second on Saturday, hopped back into third. Reimers would then pressure Rayford, who bicycled his truck onto two wheels at the top of Horsepower Hill, allowing Reimers to move into second. Reimers would get close to Kyle Kleiman in the last couple laps, but Kleiman held on to the victory with Reimers in second and Morris third.
“We had a ton of contact early and I think we were in last place at one point,” said Reimers. “Thought we might catch Kyle (Kleinman), but lost our power steering then towards the end.”
With the second place finish Reimers moved up to second place overall in the TORC PRO Light points chase, 24 points back of Kyle Kleiman.
CJ GREAVES LEADS GREEN-TO-CHECKERS IN PRO MOD UTV
Besting his runner-up finish on Saturday at RedBud in TORC UTV PRO Mod, CJ Greaves (Yamaha) raced flawlessly on Sunday, en route to his first-ever PRO Mod win - topping and class points leader Kyle Chaney (Can-Am) in a classic UTV manufacturers battle.
Greaves ran a calculated, mistake-free race in a vehicle he estimates to have at least 70-horsepower less (130 horsepower vs. 200 horsepower) than some of the other vehicles in the Mod class.
“It just came down to car setup and choosing the right lines,” said Greaves, who was racing his father (Johnny)’s Yamaha UTV. “So I was able to get out front and maintain the lead. It was a heck of a race.”
Chaney ran tight with Greaves for nearly the entire race. Prior to the competition yellow they had put more than eight seconds between themselves and third place driver Rodney Van Eperen (Yamaha).
For Chaney, keeping pace with Greaves would lead to a flat landing off the big uphill double that forced the floorboard of his UTV into his brakes. That, coupled with shocks that heated up, had Chaney thankful he was able to hold onto second and put a couple more points between himself and second-place overall holder, Van Eperen. Chaney has now made the podium in eight-straight TORC UTV PRO Mod races.
Van Eperen would hold on to third, without power steering, ahead of Can-Am racer Tim Farr.
LATE-RACE MISTAKE BY LUNDERBY HANDS PRO STOCK UTV RACE TO CJ GREAVES
One mistake. That’s all it took for CJ Greaves (Yamaha) to increase his unblemished TORC UTV PRO Stock season record to 9-0. Race leader Jake Lunderby (Yamaha) biked his UTV entering one of the final turns, allowing CJ to zip past on the inside for the win.
“It was nice being up front in the clean air,” said Lunderby, who held on to second place (following a third-place finish the day before). “Made one mistake and CJ capitalized on it, like he always does.”
Added Greaves: “That was one heck of a run. Jake was so fast that there was only a couple spots where I could run with him. So I focused on those (spots) and figured if the streak was going to end, I’d want Jake to win it.”
Lunderby grabbed the holeshot and led the race through the last lap. Ken Masch (Can-Am) would race hard with Dillon Pointon (Yamaha) and held off Greaves for several laps as well. Eventually, though, Masch would get up on two wheels and Greaves would take advantage, moving into second.
Up front Lunderby laid down the best lap time in the first half of the race (1:13.9), leading the field into the competition yellow, followed by Greaves and Masch. Zach Martin (Yamaha) and Ben Enloe (Yamaha) were also moving up fast.
On the restart Lunderby and a hard-pursuing Greaves would separate from the pack, leading up to the last lap mistake and pass for the Greaves win. Enloe would pass third-place Martin late in the race to score the final spot on the TORC PRO UTV Stock podium.
“I got lucky a few times,” said Enloe. “Got by Zach (Martin) and kept an eye on him in my rearview mirror, so it worked out.”
UP NEXT — KEYS TO THE BIG HOUSE AT CRANDON INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY
Round 11 of TORC: The Off-Road Championship presented by AMSOIL will take place at Crandon International Off-Road Raceway, “Keys to the Big House,” Sept. 1-2. More information is available at www.torcseries.com