Jeffrey Barker 2017 Top Sportsman National Champion
After taking a year off from the top spot, Barker is right back at it with a completely dominate performance for the 2nd time in 3 years for his 2nd World Championship. By starting the year out red hot in Gainesville, FL at the divisional and national with back to back wins, Barker was able to get 190 points and start the year pretty much prefect. But, 2 weeks later his luck would end in a rare 1st round loss, which left him with an eventual throw away race and still a great score to start the year. After a month of sitting out, the Atlanta, GA national event at the beginning of May was next on the schedule and he would yet again fall early (rd2), which left him with 262 points in his 1st 4 events. Barker knew he would need to get hot again if he was going to stay in contention for the championship, a few more 1st and 2nd round losses and he would probably be phased out of the running.
A few weeks after the Atlanta national was the Atlanta divisional and from that point on Barker was almost unconscious, racking up 444 points and going to 5 straight final rounds to lock up the championship by August. After knocking down the Atlanta divisional for 85 points, he would head over to Bristol, TN national where he would get to the final round and have to settle for the runner up spot, adding another 74. The next 3 weeks would be 3 consecutive wins for Barker at 95 points a piece, starting at Norwalk, OH in June before heading over to Topeka, KS for the double divisional, where he would sweep both events and “lock it up”. Barker would eventually attend Reynolds, GA and Rockingham, NC for divisional events in October but would be loaded up after 2nd and 1st round, lucky enough for him the championship was already a done deal at 675 points!
With a final rap-sheet that included 6 wins and a runner-up, Barker was the 1st sportsman racer to clinch the title, locking up 1st place well before the start of the “fall” season. With 2 championships in the last 3 years, when you think of the Top Sportsman category, 1 of the first names that comes to mind has to be his. And after almost a perfect score, I wonder how Jeffrey Barker will top his 2017 performance in 2018?