Traxxas TORC Off Road Racing at Bark River

Johnny Greaves & Ricky Johnson battle it out coming down for the checkered at Bark River International Raceway

Although my typical USAC racing ventures feature only left-hand turns on August 14th I took in USAC racing of a different nature at Bark River International Raceway near Escanaba, Michigan.

Each year Bark River plays host to a two-day Traxxas TORC Off Road Championship Series event featuring TORC superstars such as Ricky Johnson, Johnny Greaves, Rob McCachren and Mike Oberg.   Off-Road racing is a challenge of endurance; both of man and machine and there is nothing quite like seeing truck sail through mid-air for over 200 feet.

USAC Officials perform technical inspections on competitors.

With a record setting crowd of over 13,000 spectators, skies that beamed down sunshine despite forecasts of rain, and some intense racing action; rounds 7 & 8 of the TORC Short-Course series were certainly successful.

Off road short course racing is racing with an extreme twist, a combination of Rally racing, Road Racing, and Motocross all mixed into one intense package.  Drivers put their skills to the test in each and every race handling buggies and trucks through jumps, sand, dirt and turns in 10-lap events.   Between the grueling track conditions and ruthless competition, by race-end trucks are nearly unidentifiable due to the lack of body panels and dirt clad chassis.

Intense Action at Bark River International Raceway

The excitement of attending a race at Bark River can’t be measured, and it is certainly unmatched.   When taking a break from watching the on-track action, open pit areas allow fans to get an up-close look at the equipment, while drivers are ready with sharpies in hand to chat with their fans and sign autographs.   Working in conjunction with Traxxas and Dodge the TORC tour also provides spectators with more than enough entertainment during track preparation breaks.   Two mini short courses allowed Traxxas Truck Remote Control racers to test their skills, while at the Dodge Ram tent there were free pictures, a monster truck display, airbrushed tattoo’s and my personal favorite; the Dodge Ram 1500 obstacle course which I had a blast driving a 2012 Ram through!

Looking pitside at Bark River International Raceway

To learn a little more about the USAC/TORC Off Road Championship Series you can check them out on the web at http://www.torcseries.com, but even better yet catch them in action.  The next stop on the tour will be in Crandon, Wisconsin on September 3rd-4th.  September 14th & 15th teams will spend the weekend at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois before finishing the season in mid-October at Cycle Ranch in Floresville, Texas, and of course Bark River’s 2012 event is a mere 51 weeks away!

Johnny Greaves looking relaxed before his Pro 4 race.

Also keep checking out www.nationalspeedsportnews.com for TORC updates and a PitSide Chatter feature on multi-time TORC champion Johnny Greaves (Pro 4×4 no.22).

After a wild Pro 2WD race Mike Oberg drove his no.80 to a podium finish

Another spectacular competitor and off road veteran Mike Oberg (Pro 2WD no.80) is also featured at NSSN online. 

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