What looked like a rather conservative TORC Series PRO 4×4 main event was actually world-class off-road racer Ricky Johnson doing everything he could to hold off rival and TORC points leader Johnny Greaves to take the win, tying up the overall TORC PRO 4×4 points with one race remaining on the schedule.
In TORC PRO 2 action Bryce Menzies wrapped up the overall title – in this his rookie campaign on the TORC tour – by winning Saturday’s PRO 2 main event over Jeff Kincaid. And in the PRO Light division multi-time TORC winner/Hollywood stunt/Dirifter driver Samuel Hubinette was back on top of the podium with a thrilling win over Chicagoland Speedway TORC PRO Light winner RJ Anderson.
TORC PRO 4×4
Johnson, who won qualifying on Friday, rallied past a late first half Greaves pass to move Greaves out of the way in the final corner before the finish line – leading the race at the competition yellow midway mark and gaining a point on Greaves for his effort.
The second half of the TORC PRO 4×4 race at Cycle Ranch was much of the same with Johnson and Greaves distancing themselves from the rest of the pack. But to the trained short course off-road eye – which pretty much meant everyone in attendance taking advantage of the wonderful all-course vistas at Cycle Ranch – the battle for the final podium spot between Mark Jenkins and Steve Barlow proved to be equally as exciting as the show put on by Johnson and Greaves, with Jenkins putting a second half pass on Barlow – and making it stick – for 3rd place.
Up front Greaves, who won the Oakley Bomb Award for the TORC PRO 4×4’s fastest lap on Saturday, could only get to within a couple seconds of Johnson. And while a wide turn, over-rotation and subsequent spinout of Greaves (by Johnson) would raise people’s eyebrows and have them looking around to see if the two teams were about to rumble, Greaves would acknowledge that there was no foul play in the pass.
Said Greaves on Sunday’s race: “It’ll be two of the world’s best off-roaders going at it. No points are involved … there’ll be no ‘playing it safe’ … it’s on.”
PRO 4 results
1st – Ricky Johnson 2nd – Johnny Greaves* 3rd – Mark Jenkins 4th – Steve Barlow 5th – Scott Douglas 6th – Adrian Cenni 7th – Mike Jenkins
*Oakley Bomb Award fastest TORC PRO-4 lap
Needing only a 7th place finish or better to wrap up the 2011 TORC PRO 2 overall championship, Menzies nonetheless put the hammer down much like he’s been doing all season, won his PRO 2-leading fifth Oakley Bomb Award and led veteran Kincaid to the checkers for his sixth win of the season and fourth consecutive win.
“Feels so good to be up here … to lock up the championship for all of these guys that put in all of the hours,” said Menzies from atop the TORC PRO 2 podium at Cycle Ranch, Oakley Bomb Award in hand. “I can’t thank everyone enough for this, but this one’s for my dad (Steve Menzies, who turned 50 today). I was either going to wreck this truck or win – and I’m glad I’m up here today with the win.”
With Chad Hord on the pole and taking the holeshot – and challenged early by Kincaid – Greg Adler, Rob MacCachren got locked together – literally – in the last corner of the first lap, breaking what appeared to be MacCachren’s front driver’s side A-arm and eliminating him from the race. Moments later Hord had something go wrong with his drive shaft and he ended up limping around the rest of the race.
So with only seven trucks running, the title at this point was already Menzies’. But that didn’t stop the Las Vegan from putting a charge on for the lead, passing Kincaid with a ton of corner speed that he used to launch for the lead down the middle lane – and well within the view of the inaugural TORC Cycle Ranch crowd.
At the mandatory TORC PRO 2 competition yellow Menzies made more of a statement, opening up a sizable lead between himself and the veteran Kincaid, while Adler got past Marty Hart for the third and final podium spot.
TORC PRO 2 results
1st – Bryce Menzies* 2nd – Jeff Kincaid 3rd – Greg Adler 4th – Marty Hart 5th – Michael Oberg 6th – Mike Vanden Heuvel 7th – Chad Hord 8th – Rob MacCachren
*Oakley Bomb Award fastest TORC PRO 2 lap
TORC Traxxas PRO Light results
With Andrew Caddell having already wrapped up the 2011 Traxxas TORC PRO Light title, nothing but bragging rights were on the line at Cycle Ranch. That said, the fastest driver as of late in the class has been 17-year-old TORC rookie RJ Anderson, who’d won the previous two PRO Light class wins in a row at Chicagoland Speedway/Route 66 Raceway’s dirt oval and won the pole on Friday leading into Saturday’s event.
But when the dust cleared on the first lap neither Anderson nor Caddell were up front. That spot would belong to rookie TORC racer Hubinette – of the “Fast & Furious” movie franchise with his notable drifting and stunt driving skills. Hubinette shot up the middle of the track and led Anderson (2nd) and Caddell (3rd) early. And no sooner could you say “Lawn Dart” did Caddell drive the nose of his Ram truck into the tacky red Texas dirt, flipping north/south in spectacular fashion directly in front of the finish line jump. And while Caddell, who won the Traxxas Maxx Lap, has survived numerous impacts of this nature throughout the season – and, unbelievably, kept on racing – this one at Cycle Ranch wounded his truck to the point where he joined the fans to watch the rest of the contest.
At the competition restart Hubinette led CJ Greaves and Anderson in 2nd and 3rd, respectively. Then when the race started back up, Greaves caught a rut and high-sided, knocking himself temporarily out of the race. Casey Currie, the defending 2010 TORC Traxxas PRO Light champion, had worked his way up into podium contention – but then left the track on the Todd Cunningham induced full course caution for his rollover.
Noteworthy: At the time of this printing TORC officials were still deciding on where CJ Greaves got back into the race. So with the final Traxxas PRO Light podium spot in question, we’ll pick up the coverage for 1st and 2nd place – and will revisit TORC’s call on CJ Greaves when that information becomes available.
As Hubinette stayed on point through the final stages of the race, Anderson again found his speed and moved ahead for a solid 2nd place. The “unofficial”
1st – Samuel Hubinette 2nd – RJ Anderson 3rd – Casey Currie 4th – Shawn Morris 5th – CJ Greaves 6th – Randy Eller 7th – Corey Sisler 8th – Todd Cunningham 9th – Derry Peterson 10th – Andrew Caddell* 11th – Brad Lovell 12th – Keegan Kincaid
Photos by Vince Knakal of Mad Media