As we’ve seen time and time again over the years, a Greaves swept the Pro 4 wins in a short course event in the midwest this weekend—but it may not have been the one you expected.
The legendary Johnny Greaves has spent much of the past few years trailing his son CJ in race events, but one of the best to ever do it showed how much he still has left in the tank at this weekend’s ERX Off-Road National presented by Polaris. Having lost the Lucas Oil Midwest Short Course League season opener at Crandon International Raceway after making a surprising mistake, the elder Greaves won both Friday and Saturday’s races in the third annual event.
It was also a big weekend for Andrew Carlson, whose family runs the year-round ERX facilities and has developed it into one of the biggest off-road venues in the midwest. Racing in both Pro 4 and Pro 2, Carlson took three of a possible four podiums, including a runner-up result in Saturday’s Pro 4 action. Only Chad Hord, who finished third on Friday and won on Saturday, took multiple Pro 2 podiums; defending winner and June Crandon winner Mike Vanden Heuvel won Friday’s Pro 2 race.
But ERX brought the unexpected to the proceedings this weekend, and it all started with CJ Greaves. To not see last year’s Pro 4 and Pro Stock SXS champion on the podium in either class on Saturday is a surprise, no matter how you stack it. He managed to finish eighth in a hard-fought Pro Stock SXS race on Saturday, but suffered a DNF in the Pro 4 weekend finale.
Then again, Greaves was far from the only person to see a winning streak fall by the wayside this weekend. In Pro Lite, Kyle Kleiman’s bid for four in a row was finally halted when he took a DNF on Saturday, allowing Cory Winner to live up to his name. Same goes for Michael Meister, who won on Friday but settled for third in Saturday’s Super Buggy race, joining winner Michael Hester and runner-up Mike Kirkham on an all-Michael podium. And while championship favorites Kyle Greaves and Matt Wood picked up a podium each in Sportsman Stock SXS, it was Gabe Johnson who put it on the box on both days, capped off with a Saturday victory.
The 1600 Light Buggy class remains in search of a repeat winner, as Greg Stingle and Beau Ambos joined Crandon winners Connor Schulz and Tyler Wians as 2018 victors. Owen VanEperen made sure that wasn’t the case in Mod Kart, however, after the Crandon winner split the weekend in his class with Zack Wirhanowicz.
That said, not every winner was a total surprise, and plenty of classes still saw the same driver on top of the box on both days. Kyle Chaney, last year’s Pro Mod SXS champion, beat Rodney VanEperen to the line in both Pro Mod UTV rounds, while Tony Keepers kept up his winning ways with a sweep in 1600 Buggy. Other weekend sweeps included Troy Johnson’s wins in both Short Course Kart rounds, Kyle Cooper’s pair of victories in Super Stock Truck, and Ben Passa’s back-to-back triumphs in Formula 4×4.
The inaugural Lucas Oil Midwest Short Course League season resumes on August 10-12 at Bark River International Raceway with the 43rd annual Bark River Off Road Rumble in the U.P., the third of four events on this year’s calendar. The season will then conclude on Labor Day weekend at Crandon with the 49th Annual World Championship Off Road Race and Crandon World Cup events.