Some thoughts by philosopher George Berkeley about three centuries ago gave rise to the question of whether “if a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it still make a sound?”
There's another version of that query these days, one inspired by last year's final round of the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series presented by GEICO, and it's the question of whether “if someone wins a championship but no one is there to celebrate it, is it still a championship?”
Christopher Polvoorde indicated that yes, it is … and no, it isn't. He and Travis PeCoy finished second and third, respectively, in the final Modified Kart points race of the 2015 season at Lake Elsinore (California) Motorsports Park in October and PeCoy claimed the title by 1 point – then lost it when his Kart failed the post-race tech inspection.
“When we pulled onto the podium (after the race) and we lost by 1 point it was really heartbreaking,” said Polvoorde, a 15-year-old from Hemet, California. “Travis had like a near-perfect year and had great races all year, he raced clean and had an awesome year. We had some difficulties, we had some ups and downs, but overall we were still really happy as a team. Second place is still crazy for the Modified series.
“That (disqualification) came out of nowhere. We didn't really suspect it. It was really unfortunate for him. We had such a good year together, we had such a fun time racing together. We both raced each other clean. It was such an awesome year.”
Polvoorde said he didn’t know about any of the tech inspection drama until he learned that he was the champion because of PeCoy’s disqualification.
“We had a little party, but it still wasn't like winning it (on the track) and having that crazy thing (celebration),” Polvoorde said. “But we were still very happy and hope to win this year again, but win it the right way.”
That wasn't the original plan for this season. The expectation was that Polvoorde would be moving into the Pro Lite class on a full-time basis after competing in that class for a year at the regional level. But that started to go awry when he “hurt my neck pretty good” while testing early last season and parked the truck for the year.
“We were still going for the Mod championship so we kind of just took a break for a while,” he said. “We just didn't want to take any chances and ruin the rest of my life and my career.”
That career began when Polvoorde's father Chip took a Trophy Kart in trade from a tenant. Christopher, a sophomore at the Western Center Academy, said he spent about a year learning how to drive it in his backyard, joined the national series for the third round of races in 2011 and finished 13th in the Junior 1 Kart standings that season. He ran partial schedule in Junior 1 and Modified Karts the next two seasons before finishing second in the Modified Kart standings in 2014. Last season he had 6 wins and 11 podium finishes in the 14 rounds en route to the title.
Polvoorde is a mountain bike racer, too. He said he trains for that a minimum of four days a week and rides between 10 and 40 miles a day. He said that six-race season gets under way in February and does have some conflicts with the off-road schedule, but plans to race both events when that occurs.
First up, though, is testing this week (January 17-23) on both the Modified Kart and the new Pro Lite truck, a Nissan body with a Ford motor, that crew chief Jimmy Davidson just finished building to accommodate Polvoorde's slight 5-foot-6, 110-pound frame.
“We'll most likely do most of the (Southern California) regional series and then about six or seven (races) in the big series. It all depends on how the Mod season starts off. We would still like to be considered a rookie so we can race the following year for Rookie of the Year (in Pro Lite).”
CHRISTOPHER POLVOORDE AT A GLANCE
|Age:||15 (July 28, 2000)|
|Lives in:||Hemet, California|
|Occupation:||Race driver, student (sophomore at Western Center Academy)|
|Car number:||99 Pro Lite; 594 Modified Kart|
|Type of chassis:||Nissan Pro Lite|
|Engine:||Ford (Pro Lite)|
|Crew Chief:||Jimmy Davidson (Pro Lite); Chris Salazar (Modified Kart)|
|Sponsors:||Horizon Solar Power; Palms River Resort; Walker Evans Racing; PRP Seals|
|Years in racing:||6|
|Divisions raced:||Modified Karts, Junior 1 Karts|
|Series point standings:||1 Modified Kart (2015); 2 Modified Kart (2014); 21 Modified Kart (2013); 17 Junior 1 Karts (2012), 13 Junior 1 Karts (2011)|