Races kick off at Bark River raceway

BARK RIVER – No need to wait until Saturday; the Bark River Off-Road races kicked off with a blazing start on Friday night, and spectators showed up by the masses to get an early start on the weekend’s events.

After a day of struggles and adjustments to his truck, Chad Hord of Felch climbed his way to second place in the PRO 2WD division, falling only to perennial contender Bryce Menzies of team Red Bull.

“This morning we came here for practice, and the oil pump belt broke and we ended up hurting the engine,” Hord said. “The guys had to make a motor change about a half-hour before the race started. I only had two laps on the track all day, and I had to start in the back. (We) worked our way up to the front, battled for the lead.

To be here at Bark River, the home town track, in front of my friends and family and just be sitting here on the podium, just about winning, it’s awesome.”

Matt Cook finished behind Hord for the third place position.

It was also a tough day for local PRO Light racer Mark Kleiman, who only lasted a few moments at the start of the race before making contact with the wall and derailing his chances for a win.

“I came into the first corner and picked up a face full of mud,” he said. “I was pulling a tear off and thought I had the truck pitched, and next thing I know I’m rubbing it off the wall and apparently it was a little too hard. But that’s racing.”

He added that the truck will be back together in a couple of hours, plenty of time to make a run in his races today and Sunday.

Locals Scott Beauchamp of Gladstone and Nick Baumgartner of Iron River fought hard in PRO Light, but couldn’t come out with a place on the podium. Baumgartner led early on, but was overcome as the race pushed on. Keegan Kincaid took first place, followed by Brad Lovell and Shawn Morris.

Johnny Greaves won the Oakley Bomb Award for the fastest lap in addition to his first place finish in Pro 4X4. Ricky Johnson claimed second with Scott Douglas trailing him for third.

The day began with Pro Buggy, which was a hard-fought contest that was ultimately won by Luke Johnson. Andy Zipperer took second, and JR Wheeler finished in third.

Another full slate of races begins at 11 a.m. today at the Bark River International Raceway, highlighted by the start of the Super Stock Truck class. Danny Beauchamp of Escanaba won the overall points championship in that class last season and will begin his charge for a repeat today and Sunday at approximately 2:40 p.m. each day.