Just one week after the Lucas Oil Motocross Championship came roaring through Mount Morris, Pa., the ATVMX National Championship rolled into town for another weekend of high octane racing. At the historic High Point Raceway, John Natalie (Can-Am) did right by his hometown fans and rode away with the overall finish. Natalie traded moto wins with points leader Chad Wienen (Yamaha) who took second overall for the day.
John Natalie got the crowd roaring right off the bat as he grabbed the SSi Holeshot Award and claimed an early lead. Natalie’s lead was soon challenged by young gun Joel Hetrick (Can-Am) who won the ATVRiders.com Fastest Qualifier Award earlier in the day. Hetrick was able to sneak around Natalie momentarily, but by lap five he had to pull into the pits due to some mechanical issues.
After Natalie lost Hetrick to the pits, he had Thomas Brown (Yamaha) to deal with. The Yamaha rider was right on Natalie’s tail and even took over the lead in some of the middle laps. However, Natalie was able to fend him off in the final laps and take first in the moto.
Meanwhile, Chad Wienen and Josh Upperman (Honda) had collided off the start and both had some work to do catching up with the lead pack. Despite a rough start, both were able to work their way up to a decent finish. Wienen couldn’t quite catch up to Natalie, but he did score third place to pick up some helpful points. Upperman ended up in fifth just behind Hetrick.
In the second Moto of the day, Upperman came out on top through the holeshot and lead the race in the early laps. A little ways into the moto, however, he went off the track and lost four positions.
While Upperman was taking a detour, Hetrick overtook Natalie for the lead. Both would soon be passed up by Wienen who looked very determined to win after his setback in the first moto. Once Wienen took over the lead position, things started going south for Hetrick as he was successively passed by Natalie, Brown, and finally Upperman.
After his strong start, he would finish the moto in a respectable fifth place. Wienen was hoping to take the overall win, but Natalie’s 1-2 record beat out his 3-1. On the podium, Wienen gave spectators a little insight into the day’s events.
“I knew I would have a chance at the overall today if I could put myself out front in the second moto," said Wienen, "and that’s what we did. Championships are won on your worst days and I truly believe that I put in my best effort today despite the bad luck we had in the first moto.”
It was a big day for Thomas Brown who earned his first podium finish of the 2012 season. After him, Upperman and Hetrick swapped fourth and fifth place finishes in the motos, but it was Upperman who was awarded fourth overall. In sixth place was Harold Goodman who earned his best finish of the season so far.
7 Sunday Creek
The 2012 AMA ATVMX Championship continues on June 30th at the Sunday Creek Raceway in Millfield, Ohio.
AMA Pro ATV Results
- John Natalie, Can-Am, (1-2)
- Chad Wienen, Yamaha, (3-1)
- Thomas Brown, Yamaha, (2-3)
- Josh Upperman, Honda, (5-4)
- Joel Hetrick, Can-Am, (4-5)
- Harold Goodman, Honda, (9-7)
- Adam Clark, Honda, (7-10)
- Nick DeNoble, Honda, (6-11)
- Mark Madl, Honda, (12-6)
- Jesse Barnes, Yamaha, (10-8)
AMA ATV Motocross Championship Pro Point Standings
- Chad Wienen, Yamaha - 280
- John Natalie, Can-Am- 267
- Joel Hetrick, Can-Am - 223
- Josh Upperman, Honda - 218
- Thomas Brown, Yamaha - 211
- Derek Swartfager, Honda - 159
- Nick DeNoble, Honda - 152
- Harold Goodman, Honda - 139
- Adam Clark, Honda - 136
- Mark Madl, Honda - 134