Crandon World Championship & Crandon World Cup
Location: Crandon, WI | Date: 9/3 - 9/5
Off-Road Racing At The Longest, Fastest Short-Course
Written by: Rex Roy
Suppose you think the epicenter of off-road racing is Ensenada, Mexico (starting point for the famous Baja 1000) or Reno, Nevada (home to many renowned desert racing teams). Well, anyone who witnessed the Labor Day action in Crandon, Wisconsin, might disagree. The small town just hosted arguably one of the biggest off-road events in the world, the 52nd Polaris Crandon World Championship and the sixth Red Bull Crandon World Cup.
Located about 100 miles North of Green Bay near Wisconsin’s border and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Crandon International Off-Road Raceway is a huge part of the local culture and the most prestigious—and final—season stop for the AMSOIL Championship Off-Road series. All classes with the Ultra4 Racing Series also provided side-by-side on-track action.
Crandon Int’l Raceway boasts 400 acres of forest, grasslands, and a “huge” granite pit offering 300 miles of ATV/UTV trails and more than 2,300 designated camping sites. These elements alone might make Crandon an off-road destination like no other, but if you can believe it, it gets even better. The focal point of the complex is its revered 1.75-mile dirt track circuit known as the longest and fastest off-road racing short-course. Top-class trucks run over 100 mph in between hairpin turns and huge jumps.
Proving the importance of the Labor Day event, the track drew significant sponsors, including AMSOIL, Red Bull, Polaris, Lucas Oil, MAVTV, Yokohama, Fox, MasterCraft, Pepsi, Vision Wheel, and Continental. This past weekend, organizers estimated 60,000 fans were on hand to watch the competition from the grassy hillsides or the comfortable Vision Wheel Hospitality Complex. To put the attendance into context related to its location, Crandon’s population in 2019 was just 1,941.
A charity race on Thursday, September 2, helped kicked off the festivities. The five-stop poker run trail ride began at the track and ended in downtown Crandon. The best hand won $500 and along with products from Lucas Oil, Polaris, Yokohama, and Vision Wheels.
Back at Crandon Int’l Raceway, the competition spanned six pro and 13 amateur classes of off-road vehicles. The main racing event saw both the Pro 4 and Pro 2 categories take the track simultaneously. Overall, the race was ultimately dominated by Crandon’s hometown hero Keegan Kincaid, a veteran of the extreme sports event X Games and multiple off-road racing series, including TORC. Kincaid led the final 12th round race from start to finish, securing the overall Pro 2 championship just one point ahead of Cory Winner.
During the event, Mickey Thomas secured the Pro 2 category, while Johnny Greaves took the FWD Pro 4 category in his No. 22 Toyota. His son, CJ, took seventh in his No. 33 Yamaha. CJ did have the highest points in the Pro 4 championship with 526 points.
The Pro-Lite races, which feature two-wheel-drive midsize trucks with about 500hp V8s, saw several crashes and cautions, but Cole Mamer never lost sight of the prize, taking the victory in his No. 35 Chevrolet. Brock Heger won the overall championship for the category, meanwhile, with 525 points.
Michael Meister won the Super Buggy championship with 536 points. This competitive FWD class allows up to 1,835cc production-based engines unless you’re running a certified stock GM Ecotec 2.4L four-cylinder. A considerable part of what makes these vehicles so exciting is the wide-open chassis and suspension rules.
In addition to the Greaves, Crandon also hosted plenty of other racing families, like father/son duo Rodney and Owen VanEperen—who just narrowly missed winning the Super Buggy final—and UTV racing brothers RJ and Ronnie Anderson. Also rounding out the dozens of races that gave fans non-stop action across the weekend was the youth- and amateur-oriented 170 SXS class. Overall, Crandon offered something for everybody in a great family-friendly atmosphere.
Given the direct automotive powertrain connection for many of the classes—and the fact that the EPA also sets emissions regulations for ATVs and UTVs—this kind of competition is absolutely operating under a dark cloud of potential EPA regulatory action if the RPM Act doesn’t get passed.
To help ensure that motorsports competitions like off-road racing continue to thrive in the US, become a member of PRI. Check out PRI’s new membership options for individuals and businesses here. Plan to attend the 2021 PRI Trade Show in Indianapolis on December 9–11 to catch up with the latest products and services. To register as an attendee for the 2021 PRI Trade Show, visit here.