For UTV Competitors, 2017 Has Been a Quest for the Perfect Race
As the 2017 season of TORC: The Off-Road Championship Series nears its final rounds, the PRO UTV divisions approach two very different conclusions. CJ Greaves has been in complete control of the Stock class, winning every race of the year en route to a commanding late-season points lead. In the Modified class, things are a little tighter. Kyle Chaney’s near season-long points lead has dwindled down to just eight points. With the Kenda Final Rounds at ERX Motor Park consisting of three full rounds of racing, a host of drivers are still mathematically in the hunt, and anything can happen.
In both of the production vehicle classes, every round presents the same challenge: A quest for a perfect race. With a full count of 20 entries on the track all season long, one mistake is supremely costly. Despite nearly 100 UTVs taking a TORC Series green flag over the course of the season, just four drivers have been able to align the stars perfectly for a win.
No track accentuated this challenge more than RedBud. On both days, it appeared that CJ Greaves’ astounding PRO Stock win streak would come to an end. On Saturday it was Zach Martin at the point, who jumped out to an early lead and, by focusing on running his own lines, was able to stay out front for the entire first half of the race. But things changed at the competition yellow.
“I noticed the lines were beginning to get pretty rough and the corners were pushing out so my style of driving had to change.” Martin recalls. “We started pushing harder into the corners so we could hold the inside line. Going into the sand pit after the little down hill along the crowd side I drove in a little too far inside and I slipped out of the corner letting CJ beside me. I could have held it firm forcing CJ to break or go up on the wall, but I didn’t – rookie mistake!”
The next day it was Jake Lunderby’s turn to take a stab at it. After an overnight spring adjustment, he got out front early over his PRO Stock competitors and looked untouchable. CJ Greaves worked his way through traffic and eventually ended up on the back bumper of his Yamaha teammate, but couldn’t make the pass. When the white flag waved and Lunderby got through the most dangerous spots on the track clean, it appeared that the stars had finally aligned: but with just a few corners to go, Lunderby biked onto two wheels, and Greaves was there to take advantage, seizing the win at the final moments.
Nobody knows more about needing a perfect race to win in UTVs than PRO Mod points leader Kyle Chaney. The UTV racing star came ever-so-close time and time again, finishing in second place for the first six races of the 2017 season. Though ultra-fast and consistent, the elusive victory evaded him until his seventh try.
As the end draws near for the first full season of TORC UTV racing, racers are gearing up for one last push for a perfect race. Will a new driver rise to glory in PRO Mod or PRO Stock? Find out when TORC: The Off-Road Championship Series returns to ERX Motor Park in Elk River, Minnesota for The Kenda Final Rounds, September 22-24.
PURCHASE TICKETS HERE
Andrew Pfluger is a longtime race fan and writer for the TORC Series. To offer feedback or make suggestions for future content, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.