2017 TORC RD 7-8, Bark River PHOTOS | STORY | RESULTS
VanEperen, Chaney and Greaves Win at Bark River TORC
Bark River, MI (7/16/2017) – Rodney VanEperen, Kyle Chaney and CJ Greaves scored victories during the doubleheader TORC Off Road Championship presented by AMSOIL Throwdown in the U.P. at Bark River International Raceway. VanEperen won Saturday’s Pro Modified UTV race, while Chaney scored his first victory this season in the class on Sunday. Greaves continued his perfect streak this season, winning both Pro Stock UTV races.
Bark River represented the longest track thus far on the tour at 1.5 miles and track conditions for both races started out wet with widespread blue groove at the end of the eight-lap contests. Each race was stopped at its midpoint for a competition caution.
In Saturday’s Pro Modified race, VanEperen took the lead at the start and held off Chaney on the final lap to win his fifth race of the season in his Yamaha. Chaney finished second in his Can-Am, ahead of Zac Zakowski’s Yamaha.
“Man I didn’t realize it was that close at the end, but we’ll take them any way we can get them,” said VanEperen. “This is a driver’s track here. To win you have to make less mistakes. It’s fun racing and that’s what the fans and the manufacturers want to see.”
After starting on the second row, Chaney finished second for his sixth consecutive time. He came within half a car length of passing VanEperen for the lead on the final lap.
“I felt like I could run down Rodney,” said Chaney. “We just need to find out how to put on a charge early instead of waiting for the last two laps. I tried everything I could, but trying isn’t winning. I still have the points lead and we’re getting better every race.”
Zakowski’s third-place finish was his best this season. He dedicated the podium to his mother, Linda, who is being treated for breast cancer.
“Finally we got up to third,” said Zakowski. “I felt great today and I felt like I could do anything with the car. A little more speed and we would have been right there with Rodney and Kyle.”
In Sunday’s Pro Modified event, Chaney out-dueled Tim Farr on lap two, making contact and taking the lead for good. Farr, in a Can-Am, spun and recovered to finish second, followed by VanEperen, who started last in the field due to an engine change after qualifying. Chaney padded his points lead with the victory, his first this season. With Sunday’s victory, he was happy to be a bridesmaid no more.
“I came to this race expecting a win,” explained Chaney. “It’s awesome. Can-Am goes one-two and I pad my points lead. I want to win more races, but taking a second or third is a little easier. The whole team has been good all year. I’m super happy with the Can-Am X3. We’re taking a desert car and making it into a competitive short-course car.”
Farr was gaining on Chaney with two laps to go. On the final lap, he nearly stuck a pass on the inside, but Chaney quickly slammed the door.
“I got a run on him, but I couldn’t really put it anywhere,” said Farr. “It was a fun race, but I wasted too much time getting by the second place guy. I think I need to drive more aggressively.”
VanEperen’s run from last to third in Sunday’s race was a thing of beauty. He took 10th on lap two, fifth on lap seven and then took the final spot on the podium on the last lap.
“A stock motor in a modified machine and we finished third,” said VanEperen. “We threw in a stocker with a set of cams and that goes to show just how good these Yamahas are. It hurts to lose some points to Kyle, but it beats a DNF.”
In Pro Stock, Greaves was virtually unstoppable in his Yamaha. In Saturday’s race, he led from the pole and dominated the event, scoring the victory ahead of Adam Reek and Zach Martin.
“We just keep making small changes to this Yamaha and keeps getting better,” said Greaves. “This track was slippery. It went blue groove and it came down to picking good lines. We’re so close in this stock class that we’re splitting tenths all of the time. We’re going to keep this going and not let a failure be our only mistake.”
Reek grabbed second from Kenny Masch on lap three, nearly tracked down Greaves at the end and held on for the runner-up finish. Interestingly, it was just his second TORC Pro UTV start.
“I found a spot where Kenny opened up and I squeezed him on the inside,” said Reek. “I latched onto CJ and started following his lines. I picked up on a couple of things he was doing. My spotter told me that Zach was catching me, but I wasn’t slowing down.”
Martin took third from Masch on lap six. He then held on to snag the final spot on the podium.
“It feels good to be back on the podium,” said Martin. “It was a very interesting track today. Some areas were slick and dusty and others were wet, so it took some time to get used the conditions.”
In Sunday’s race, Greaves started third due to the invert, fell back to fifth, but was quickly charging through the dusty conditions. He took the lead from Dillon Pointon, who had led from the pole, on the lap-five restart and wasn’t seriously challenged from there. Pointon fell out of the event on the final lap with a mechanical issue, handing second to Drew Lunderby. Masch was third. Greaves now owns a full race lead in the points.
“I started on the second row and I knew I had my work cut out for me,” said Greaves. “It was hard to get around some guys because the track was really only one-and-a-half cars wide. It came down to making a clean pass. There is no better way to do it than to race them clean.”
Lunderby ran a physical race, muscling his way through the field. On the final lap, he gave everything he had to snag second.
“I had a good run going and then I made some mistakes, but we pulled off a second,” said Lunderby. “I just gave it all I could at the end. It’s the last day and I wasn’t holding anything back.”
Masch was driving an ill-handling car all weekend after a hard crash in the last race at Crandon bent the chassis on his Yamaha. His team got the car together for the weekend and plans to completely tear it down before the next race.
“It’s a war out there,” said Masch. “We got the car straight enough to work out here, but it was really crooked. It was a great race; people were bouncing off of each other and it was fun.”
The TORC Series next sees action August 12-13 at Redbud MX in Buchanan, MI.
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Photos & Story by: Harlen Foley // UTVUnderground.com
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