TORC Series Off-Road racing: Opportunity knocks for MacCachren

BARK RIVER – One minute he was stuck in a swamplike area alongside the track, a short time later he was in the winner’s circle.

That was the fate of Rob MacCachren of Las Vegas, Nev., who overcame an early mishap Saturday to take the checkered flag in the PRO 2WD event of the 38th Annual Bark River Off-Road Races.

In the mishap, MacCachren lost control of his vehicle when when his vision became obscured by flying mud and debris while trying to jockey for position moments after the start at Bark River International Raceway.

“I guess I found out where the water was,” MacCachren said with a sense of humor while describing what happened. “I couldn’t see and lost track of where it was. I started thinking to myself, ‘I hope it’s not deep.’ The next thing you know, my truck was passenger-side down, which was perfect. Once I got out, I was hoping they would re-start the race.”

MacCachren, in accordance with TRAXXAS/TORC Series rules, was granted his wish and proceeded to take advantage of a second chance.

He weaved his way from the back of the pack and was fourth at the midway point.

Jeff Kincaid of Argonne, Wis. was the leader after five laps, but was unable to continue after the alternator failed on his truck.

C.J. Greaves of Abrams, Wis., who was second heading into the mandatory competition re-start, shot ahead and held the lead until the ninth lap when MacCachren took over.

“I moved up to fourth very quickly,” said MacCachren. “Then, I was able to get by two trucks at one time. I knew the truck was capable. It was super important to get the lead as soon as possible. At first, I didn’t know what happened to Jeff. That was unfortunate for him because he was running very strong.”

MacCachren returned to the podium after the next race, taking runner-up honors behind Ricky Johnson in Pro 4×4.

“Pro 4 was running very well,” said MacCachren. “We’ve been trying a lot of different things, trying to get our truck to run good. But we were losing fuel in the end, which was kind of a bummer. We simply had to conserve fuel.

“But the weather was perfect and the fans here are incredible. It’s a great atmosphere. We really enjoy coming here.”

The 17-year-old Greaves was runner-up in PRO 2, with points leader Brad Lovell of Colorado Springs taking third.

Greaves’ second-place finish came on the heels of his victory in Pro Light, where he was followed by Keegan Kincaid of Crandon, Wis. and Lovell.

“Patience was the key,” said Greaves. “I didn’t really want to push the issue in a long (10-lap) race. It was nice to have the lead at the halfway point (of PRO Light) because it got us some points. Although, it’s not vitally important. After the re-start, I just wanted to stay smooth. I didn’t want to make any mistakes. In PRO 2, we were battling with Bryce Menzies (of Mesa, Ariz.) and Rob sneaked underneath us.

“Between races, there was very little time to adjust. You just hop from one vehicle into the other. The pace is faster in PRO 2 and there’s not as much traction as in Pro Light.”

Jaime Kleiman of Wilson was Saturday’s lone area winner, taking 1600 light buggy. He was followed by Billy Ruth and Bryan Holter.

In Super Stock Truck, things looked promising for Dan Beauchamp of Escanaba for more than 9 1/2 laps. The rear axle then broke, stopping his vehicle less than 20 yards from the finish.

Don Demeny of Abrams won that race, followed by Larry Maciosek and Matt Siorek.

“It was all of a sudden,” said Demeny. “When it (axle) went, he was done. We just tried to run our lines and take advantage of the situation. After I passed him, I was thinking ‘a quarter-lap to the checkered flag.’ We actually would have been content with second place. Yet, you need to be a contender in every race in order to have a shot at the (point standings) title at the end of the season. Dan’s an excellent driver. We just needed to get around him.”

Brad Erickson of Bark River took third in 1600 buggy. Chad Hord of Felch placed fourth in PRO 2, with Matthew Ives of Stephenson fourth in stock truck.

The Central Upper Peninsula, however, had its heaviest representation in PRO Light, where Nick Baumgartner of Iron River placed sixth. Mark Kleiman of Wilson was ninth, with Scott Beauchamp of Bark River 11th.