Heavy morning rains almost put a damper on round four of Championship Off-Road in Lena, Wisconsin on Sunday, July 26th. But the clouds that stayed open all morning long just as quickly shut off the spigot over the Dirt City Motorplex, allowing an abbreviated full day of racing for all classes.
Historically, off-road short-course racing saves the high-horse powered pro trucks for its finale. But the rain flipped the script at Dirt City. Championship Off-Road put the pro classes first on the line and schedule the deep sportsman fields to run out the daylight.
LeDuc Learns Lesson, Gets Back on Top
Kyle LeDuc went for a wild ride on Saturday after leading for almost the entire Pro 4 race. After swapping out and hitting a rut, LeDuc found himself sitting sideways inside his #99 Monster Energy truck.
On Sunday, LeDuc’s ride around Dirt City was a lot calmer, at least as calm as a revved-up Pro 4 can be. With no qualifying due to the rain out, the series went off of points, with a two-car invert after the random draw. That put points leader LeDuc on the inside of Saturday winners CJ Greaves.
Of the start, Greaves got the jump, but it would be LeDuc who would get the win. Greaves gave up the lead early in the race but kept the 99 honest until a spin prior to the mandatory yellow pushed him back several spots. From there, LeDuc hit his marks, kept his tires moving forward and found his third win of the season waiting for him at the finish line.
For Greaves, not all hope was lost after the spin. Ahead of him was his dad Johnny Greaves and Andrew Carlson. That pair diced up the track for several laps until Carlson had to pull off the track. After that, CJ Greaves moved back into a podium position and was able to slip past Johnny Greaves on the last lap for second.
Thomas Tames Pro 2 for First Win
Mickey Thomas has been close to pushing Kyle Kleiman and Keegan Kincaid for his first win this season, but the two past class champions have found another gear late in the race, leaving Thomas looking for more.
On Sunday, he found more. Thomas was a rocket-ship, first of the line, and was on-point for the entire 12-laps. He was smooth in and out of every turn, and whenever the opportunity arose for the field to chase him down, he was able to pull away, making it look easy on his way to his first win in Championship Off-Road.
Behind him, the best battle of the weekend quickly formed between Kincaid and Kleiman. Consistently, lap after lap, the two pirouetted in tandem out of every single tight turn without the hint of contact. They raced each other as clean as any race in the past decade.
Every time Kleiman gave a hint of an opening he looked to capitalize. Every time he did, Kincaid was there to close the door. With Thomas long the winner, Kincaid found himself back in the runner-up spot, by just a smidge over Kleiman.
Four in a Row in Pro Lite
Kyle Greaves may be no ordinary rookie. With a family pedigree deeply rooted in all things short-course, he has his work cut out to make a name for himself. Four rounds into his rookie year, he has quickly become the face of Pro-Lite.
Three wins, and looking for four to start the year, Greaves had his hands full early and often on Sunday. He started on the inside of the front row, next to another young up-and-comer in the class, Johnny Holtger.
Holtger and Greaves had a great race going early on, with each grabbing the lead by making aggressive, and clean passes on the other. The fight continued for several laps before Holtger hit a rut coming out of turn five. That gave Greaves some breathing room and allowed him to pick up his fourth straight win to start the season.
Holtger did everything in his power to track Greaves back down but had to do it with heavy pressure from two proven class veterans, both of whom returned to action in Lena over the weekend. Cody Kleiman dusted off his winning 48 truck, and after a few kinks on Saturday, he found his groove on Sunday.
Kleiman led the charge on Holtger, which also included Zach Szymik and Chad Rayford. In the end, Holtger had more speed on Sunday, and Kleiman was strong enough to capture third, ahead of Rayford. Szymik had a great run but was forced to go a lap down after a mechanical with two laps to go.
Can-Am Comes Back in Pro Mod SXS
Kyle Chaney’s Saturday was one to forget after he had a late-race incident that pushed him back to 13th. On Sunday, it was all systems go for Can-Am driver as he found the right lines on his way to his first win of 2020.
Chaney lined up in the second row, and quickly found himself in a battle with fellow Can-Am driver Scottie Lawrence, and right behind them was Yamaha’s, CJ Greaves. The three would have blanket coverage of one another for most of the first half of the race, with Lawrence taking the first lead.
Chaney took the lead on lap two, with Greeves getting past Lawrence the third time around. From there, Chaney and Greeves would duke it out for the remainder of the 10-lap final and as the checkered flag fell, Chaney had stretched it out to a six-second win.
Lawrence also found a good in-race battle of his own on Sunday. After dropping out of the top two spots, he found himself entrenched in a tilt with Yamaha’s Rodney VanEperen, who won the class race on Saturday. In the end, Lawrence found the podium by edging out VanEperen.
Greaves Gets Pro Stock SXS Win
The Pro Stock SXS class had the grand honor of being the first class to put wheels on the rain-soaked Dirt City track on Sunday. While the track crew did a fabulous job of getting it race-ready, there was a good amount of moisture in the soil, and the mud flew in all directions as the class took the green flag.
CJ Greaves, fresh off of his Saturday win waited patiently as pole-sitter Robert Loire held the point for the first two laps. Greaves was able to make a pass stick on the slick track, but not much passing was done upfront for the remainder of the race. Loire motored home to his second podium of the season, followed by Jason Luburgh.
Sunday Sportsman Showdown
The Championship Off-Road series was able to get in every sportsman class on Sunday, with shorter lap counts and fewer cautions. Overall, the sportsman class responded with excellent, clean racing on what turned into a near-perfect track.
Sunday Sportsman Winners include: (first through third noted)
170 SXS: Carson Greco, Ellah Holtger and Draxton Szymik
Short Course Karts: Hunter Vanzile, Wesley Vande Voort and Samuel Lawrence
Mod Kart: Sam Marquardt, Zack Wirhanowicz and Michael Funk
Sportsman SXS: Jonny Hentges, Chase Kleist and Colin Kernz
Stock Truck: Stan Wood, Collin Wichman and Don Demeny
Formula 4×4: Danny Beauchamp, Nathan Hughes and Randy Schaitel
Classix: Aaron Konitzer, Dale Chestnut and Ronald Kosciesza
Super Stock Truck: Nick Visser, Kyle Cooper and Ben Holtger
Pro Buggy: Mark Steinhardt, Ryan Schwalbe and Chris Van Den Elzen
1600 Buggy: Jeff Bechinski, John Fitzgerald and Craig Paitl
Light Buggy: Billy Buth, Tyson Marquardt and Cory Fisher
For the latest on the Championship Off-Road series and for full details on the next event, be sure to visit their website.