This was it – the final (2) rounds of Championship Off-Road’s inaugural 2020 season! John went into this weekend trailing the points leader in the Pro Lite class by 16 points and sitting in 6th place overall in the Pro Stock SXS class. Ready to put it all on the line…it was race time!
The weekend kicked off on Friday with (2) scheduled practices. Unfortunately, “mother nature” decided to provide a challenging start to the weekend! With over an inch of rain falling on Thursday, the track was in bad shape, and all practices were cancelled.
In anticipation of having two good qualifying rounds on Saturday morning we were faced with another challenge – qualifying was cancelled! The track’s conditions were still too wet and muddy. Allowing an optional round of practice to those that needed it, John took advantage of this to do a shakedown on some changes made to the Pro Lite.
As the track conditions started to improve throughout Saturday, it was time to get ready to race under the lights! Ready to kick off the Pro races, John lined up 5th for the Pro Stock SXS class! As soon as they started to race, the rain began falling again – creating an absolute mud fest on the track! John made is way up to 4th a few laps in and was running 3rd by the mandatory halfway caution. Trying to chase down the leaders, John fought through the mud with smoke rolling out of his Yamaha to end up with a 3rd place finish!
Scrambling to get off the podium, and back to the finish line to start the Pro Lite race – John was ready to battle with the 9 other trucks lined up! Starting on the pole, John was in hunt of that checkered flag, and to close the gap on the points lead! As quoted by Championship Off-Road, “Rain causes havoc on the off-road tracks and Greaves positive outlook came to a quick stop as the points leader had to pull off on the fist lap. That left the door open for John Holtger and Jason Plouff to move up and take control of the points lead. Holtger had the first shot, grabbing the lead on the restart before another yellow flag situation caused the trucks to bunch back up. Zach Szymik capitalized, grabbing the hole shot and staying out front in clean air for his first win of the year. Holtger did storm back after slipping down to 6th on the restart to finish 2nd, just ahead of veteran Chad Rayford. For the points lead, Greaves still holds the top spot despite the setback on Saturday, but Holtger cut deep into that lead, sitting just 7 points out heading into the final!”
John and his crew had their hands full Saturday night, working late to clean off the mud caked on both vehicles, so they were ready for one last round on Sunday!
With the sun shining, and the fall colors popping, it was race time! John lined up for the Pro Stock SXS class in 5th on Sunday. Running the full track, they were lined up 28 cars deep. John took the hole shot in 2nd behind CJ Greaves. Setting the pace, these (2) Yamaha’s left quite a gap between 2nd and 3rd place! Keeping his lines, John ended the year on the box with a 2nd place finish! This put him 4th place in points for the season in the Pro Stock SXS class – in his rookie year!
“Champions are made from something they have deep inside them – a desire, a dream, a vision.” This was it – the final Pro Lite race of the season. Trailing by 7 points, the championship was not yet decided. “John Holtger never held the Pro Lite points lead in 2020 until it mattered, at the end of Sunday’s race. Holtger has been a work of consistency in his first season of Pro Lite. He grabbed 5 podiums heading into Sunday, including a runner-up finish on Saturday. But he trailed Kyle Greaves, who had won 4 of the first 5 events to start the season. Coming into Crandon, Greaves held a 16-point lead, but was unable to finish a lap at the Big House both days, opening the door for Holtger, who led from start-to-finish on Sunday to clinch the title! – Holtger wins Pro Lite Title!”, quoted by Championship Off-Road.
This season has had its ups and downs, but overall, John and his team have accomplished what many dream of and all strive for – a Pro Championship Title! Coming off his rookie year in both Pro Classes, we could not be more excited for how the year ended! We cannot thank everyone who has supported this race program enough…our crew, family, friends, and partners! We appreciate all of you and look forward to what the 2021 season will bring!