Sometimes in motocross, it’s not always the rider who wins the races that ends up taking home the overall win. For Joel Hetrick at round four of the AMA ATV Motocross National Championship Series, two second place finishes was enough to put the sophomore rookie on top of the podium at Budds Creek MX, where he scored his first overall win of the 2012 season.
Wienen Motorsports/SSi Decals/Walsh Race Craft/Yamaha’s Chad Wienen continued his five-race win streak in Moto 1 as he made his way out front immediately and went on to lead all twelve laps of the race. But it was Baldwin Motorports/PEP’s Josh Upperman who grabbed the SSi Decals Holeshot Award and led for a brief moment before Wienen put himself into the lead. Hetrick put in a solid second place finish, coming in less than three seconds behind Wienen. Upperman worked hard to fend off TBROWN Yamaha Racing/Moto-X-Perts rider Thomas Brown to maintain third place in Moto 1, while Brown finished a close fourth after getting off to a rough start.
ATVRiders.com Fastest Qualifier Joe Byrd landed the fastest lap time in the morning qualifying sessions and the veteran made his way up to fifth place after getting off to a bad start in Moto 1. Motoworks/Can-Am rider John Natalie began the race inside the top five until he overshot a corner, causing him to go off the track and lose a significant amount of time and positions. The Ironman was able to work his way back into a sixth place finish, despite his early fumble.
Moto 2 began in a similar fashion as Wienen took control of the race early on, but this time it was Joe Byrd on his heels, while Upperman, Natalie and Hetrick chased from close behind. Byrd went wheel-to-wheel with Wienen in the early parts of the race, but as the race wore on, Byrd began dropping positions, where he eventually settled into sixth place.
Wienen also began dropping spots around the halfway point and it wasn’t long before the points leader found himself outside of a podium position for the first time this season. “I got off to a great start in the second moto and things were going well until I stuck a rut and kind of tweaked my hand, but we salvaged a fourth place out of it,” Wienen said. “I don’t like not winning but I’m stoked to come away with some solid points!”
Natalie capitalized on Wienen’s shortfall and gunned in to take over the Moto 2 lead. The defending champ didn’t look back as he sealed the win on this one. “I said at round 2 that I would be back and ready to go as soon as we got to a real rough track,” said Natalie. “Well, here we are and we did what we wanted to do in Moto 2 and that’s win! Unfortunately things didn’t go as planned in the first moto, but third overall and a moto win is still a good weekend!”
Hetrick and Brown eventually made their way around Wienen too, each grabbing a podium finish in Moto 2, while Upperman fell into the fifth place spot behind Wienen.
“I’m pumped to get the TBROWN Racing team a top three race finish for the first time this season,” Brown said. “We’ve been setting goals each weekend and pushing hard to reach them, so we’re looking forward to maintaining top three finishes from here on out.”
Hetrick kept a consistent feel all day as he went 2-2 for his first overall win of the season, while Wienen took home the runner-up spot, ending his perfect record thus far. Natalie finished with the third place spot, just in front of Thomas Brown and Josh Upperman, who rounded out the top five overall.
Joe Byrd (HON) finished sixth overall, just ahead of Derek Swartfager (HON) in seventh, and rookie Jeff Rastrelli (SUZ) took home eighth place. Adam Clark (HON) and Nick DeNoble (HON) rounded out the top ten.
The 2012 AMA ATV Motocross Championship heads to Sunset Ridge MX in Walnut, Ill., for round four of the ten-race circuit. For more information, please visit www.atvmotocross.com.
AMA Pro ATV Results:
1. Joel Hetrick, Can-Am, (2-2)
2. Chad Wienen, Yamaha, (1-4)
3. John Natalie, Can-Am, (6-1)
4. Thomas Brown, Yamaha, (4-3)
5. Josh Upperman, Honda, (3-5)
6. Joe Byrd, Honda, (5-6)
7. Derek Swartfager, Honda, (9-7)
8. Jeff Rastrelli, SUZ, (8-9)
9. Adam Clark, Honda, (10-8)
10. Nick DeNoble, Honda, (7-13)
AMA ATV Motocross Championship Pro Point Standings:
1. Chad Wienen, Yamaha – 143
2. John Natalie, Can-Am- 128
3. Josh Upperman, Honda – 112
4. Joel Hetrick, Can-Am – 109
5. Thomas Brown, Yamaha – 103
6. Nick DeNoble, Honda – 80
7. Derek Swartfager, Honda – 80
8. Joe Byrd, Honda – 74
9. Jeff Rastrelli, Suzuki – 67
10. Mark Madl, Honda – 66
About the AMA ATV Motocross Championship
The AMA ATV Motocross Championship is the nation’s premier amateur and professional ATV motocross series, hosted at top motocross facilities nationwide. The 10-round series features the Nation’s best racers, teams and sponsors, and is America’s largest and longest-running ATV national motocross program. Since 1985, the series continues to expand and produce top talent from the amateur ranks, while premiering the professional class. For more information, please visit www.atvmotocross.com.