Round 5 of the AMA ATVMX National Championship series played out on a specially designed night track in Oakland, Kentucky, that challenged the riders and thrilled the spectators. Defending champion John Natalie (Can-AM) kept the competition in check at the 2012 Ballance Moto X by taking first in both motos. In doing so, Natalie took home his first win in a season that’s been dominated by title contender, Chad Wienen (Yamaha).
Under the lights of the Balance Moto X facility, Craig Porter (Honda) grabbed the first SSi Decals Holeshot award of the evening. Natalie didn’t waste much time putting himself in the lead and made his way around Porter and Wienen by the end of the opening lap.
Throughout the first moto, we saw a familiar scenario in which Wienen relentlessly trails Natalie just waiting to make his move. However, Wienen couldn’t work any last minute magic this time around and had to follow Natalie through the checkers.
Meanwhile, a fierce battle for third raged between Josh Upperman (Honda) and Joel Hetrick (Can-Am). Despite a slow start, Hetrick managed to work his way up through the pack and put pressure on the leading pack. He went so far as to attempt a pass on Wienen for second, but faltered and fell back into competition with Upperman. Towards the end of the moto, Upperman was able to slip past Hetrick and secure the final podium position.
Hot off his win in Moto 1, Natalie shot out of the gates in Moto 2 to snatch up the Holeshot Award. From that point on he dominated the field, laying down the fastest lap time of the moto in Lap 5.
Hetrick and Wienen kept pace with the champ, but never enough to pose a serious threat to his lead. Although he tried hard to get around Hetrick, Wienen never found the opportunity and ended the evening with a 2-3 record. Hetrick’s 4-2 performance landed him in third overall behind Natalie and Wienen.
Upperman took fourth overall, but his fourth place finish in Moto 2 required some hard work. It wasn’t until late in the race that Upperman was able to takeover the number four spot from Thomas Brown (Yamaha) who had it under his control for most of the moto.
Brown would go on to finish 5-5 at Ballance and fifth overall. Sixth overall went to Nick DeNoble (Honda) who finished sixth in both motos for his best performance since the opening round in Geogia. The top ten was rounded out by Derek Swartfager (Honda) in seventh, followed by Jeffrey Rastrelli (Suzuki), Mark Madl (Honda), and Adam Clark (Honda).
High Point Raceway
Round 6 of the AMA ATVMX Championship will take place on June 16-17 at the Hight Point Raceway in Mt. Morris, Pennsylvania
Ballance Moto X National Results
- John Natalie (1-1)
- Chad Wienen (2-2)
- Joel Hetrick (4-2)
- Josh Upperman (3-4)
- Thomas Brown (5-5)
- Dick DeNoble (6-6)
- Derek Swartfager (7-7)
- Jeff Rastrelli (9-8)
- Mark Madl (7-10)
- Adam Clark (10-9)