Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Chad Wienen grabbed both moto wins to take the overall victory at the Can-Am Northeastern ATV National at the historic Unadilla Valley Sports Center in New Berlin, New York, capping off an amazing come-from-behind charge that has brought the Illinois native from virtually worst to first in the 2009 AMA Pro ATV Motocross Series point standings. The Unadilla event also marked round six of the 2009 ITP Tires/Moose Racing AMA ATV Motocross Championship presented by Parts Unlimited.
“Everything is coming together this year and I’m so excited right now with this finish at Unadilla,” said Wienen, who topped Rockstar/Makita Suzuki’s Doug Gust and Warnert Can-Am’s John Natalie for the win. “I haven’t been here in four years and I didn’t know how many fans I have out here. I’m happy to be up here on this box and I’m just taking it race by race.”
Wienen, new to the Kawasaki squad this year, suffered through mechanical troubles in three of the first four motos of the season, and found himself over 50 points behind the series leader after round two. But he’s been on the podium ever since, logging three seconds and two victories while early-season leaders Joe Byrd and Dustin Wimmer have struggled.
Byrd and Wimmer’s troubles continued at Unadilla. Honda veteran Byrd made a mistake in moto one and dropped from fourth to eventually finish 11th, and he was credited with 17th in moto two after mechanical troubles set in. Amazingly, Wimmer, the defending AMA Pro ATV MX Champion, made up points on Byrd despite riding with a lingering shoulder injury suffered before round four of the tour. Wimmer soldiered on with 10-4 scores for sixth overall at Unadilla. Wienen now leads both, with a nine point lead on Byrd and 19 points on Wimmer.
Wimmer’s teammate Doug Gust made a serious challenge at Wienen. He landed the ATVSource.com Top Qualifier Award and battled at the front of the pack in both motos, ultimately taking 3-3 scores for second overall. Warnert Can-Am’s John Natalie went 5-2 for third, pleasing the event’s title sponsor.
(left) Josh Upperman grabs the first MotorcycleUSA.com Holeshot Award. (middle) Josh Upperman gets a few mid-moto questions
from the ATVision team. (right) Doug Gust earned the moto 2 MotorcycleUSA.com Holeshot Award.
Honda rider Josh Upperman took fourth with 2-6 scores, and another Can-Am rider, Jeremy Lawson, went 4-5 for fifth.
Wienen had to work for his wins on the notoriously fast and rough Unadilla track. Upperman grabbed the $250 MotorcycleUSA.com holeshot in moto 1, leading Gust, Wienen and Byrd. Wienen held off Byrd as he marched up to Gust and then moved into second on lap six. Three laps later, Wienen closed in on Upperman and made the pass after the massive Gravity Cavity jump. Upperman held off Gust to grab second, while a pack of Can-Am riders, Lawson, Natalie and Richard Pelchat duked it out much of the moto to end in 4th, 5th and 6th.
Byrd tipped over while running fourth and dropped to 12th, and he was only able to climb back to 11th at the finish. Wimmer came around the first lap in 17th still nursing an injured shoulder, but he dug deep and snagged a 10th.
For moto two, Gust’s Suzuki team changed motors, and it paid off as he grabbed the $250 MotorcycleUSA.com Holeshot Award over Wienen. But Wienen made a quick pass to get the lead. Gust maintained pressure throughout the moto with Natalie close behind. Gust picked up a stick on the track that cut off his rear brake, allowing Natalie to set up a pass. On the last lap, Natalie made his move for second right before the finish, stealing second in the final inches of the battle.
“I ended up picking up a stick in my brake the last three laps and I knew right where [Natalie] was going to get me and then he got me. But hats off to John and Chad, they ran an awesome race. I’m just happy to be up here.”
In the Pro-Am Production class, Cody Gibson won both motos, topping Joel Hetrick and Cody Grant on the podium.
Notes: Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Josh Creamer won the previous round of the tour at Steel City Raceway in Pennsylvania, but his luck disappeared at Unadilla. Mechanical troubles ended his moto-one ride, and his team barely got his machine to the line for moto two, and he had to miss the parade-lap. He took ninth in moto two….Joe Byrd has logged moto scores of 6-19-3-5-11-17 since Wimmer’s shoulder injury put him into the series points lead…. Typical Unadilla rough weather set in on Saturday, with rain marring their first two practices. Sunday was picture perfect for racing, however.
Can-Am Northeastern ATV Nationals
Unadilla Valley Sports Center
New Berlin, NY
AMA ATV Pro Class
1. Chad Wienen 1-1 (Kaw)
2. Doug Gust 3-3 (Suz)
3. Josh Natalie 5-2 (Can)
4. Josh Upperman 2-6 (Hon)
5. Jeremy Lawson 5-4 (Can)
6. Dustin Wimmer 10-4 (Suz)
7. Richard Pelchat 6-8 (Can)
8. Greg Gee 8-7 (Hon)
9. Harold Goodman 7-10 (Hon)
10. Patrick Brown 13-11 (Yam)
Series Standings (After seven of 11 rounds):
1. Chad Wienen (254/2 wins)
2. Joe Byrd (245/ 1 win)
3. Dustin Wimmer (235/3 wins)
4. Josh Creamer (217/1 win)
5. Josh Upperman (210)
6. Doug Gust (208)
7. John Natalie (197)
8. Jeremy Lawson (167)
9. Greg Gee (144)
10.Clay Holmes (142).