With nine rounds of racing complete, AMA Pro ATV points leaders Chad Wienen and John Natalie have perpetuated the title chase all the way to the season finale after splitting moto-wins at the penultimate round of the 2012 AMA ATV Motocross Series at RedBud MX in Buchanan, Mich. Wienen proved strong as he outlasted the defending champion in a two-moto format, taking the overall win and extending his points lead with one round remaining.
Wienen once again grabbed the ATVRiders.com Fastest Qualifier Award with a 2:10.9 time. When the gate dropped for Moto 1, it was Motoworks/Can-Am’s John Natalie who took the SSiDecals Holeshot Award, with TBROWN Yamaha/Moto-X-Perts’ Thomas Brown close in tow. Brown made the move past Natalie to take over the early lead but Natalie quickly stole it back for what turned into a dominant Moto 1 for the defending champ.
Wienen Motorsports/SSi Decals/Walsh Race Craft/Yamaha’s Wienen began Moto 1 just outside the top five but worked his way into the third place position where he battled with his Yamaha Racing teammate Thomas Brown, eventually passing Brown with two laps to go. Brown was able to hold on for a third place finish in Moto 1.
Just behind the second place battle, Baldwin Motorsports/PEP/Maxxis’ Josh Upperman and 2010 ATVMX champ Josh Creamer pushed each other hard in an intense battle for fourth place. Upperman edged out Creamer in Moto 1, while Motoworks/Can-Am’s Joel Hetrick came in sixth place.
Upperman shot out of the gate in Moto 2 to grab the SSiDecals Holeshot Award and immediate gained a lead on Brown, Wienen and Creamer-who remained close behind. Natalie went down in the first corner of the opening lap and was forced to work his way up from behind the pack. The battle for the lead began to heat up between Wienen and Upperman by mid-race but Upperman dropped back just enough to allow Wienen to confirm the Moto 2 victory and secure the overall win at RedBud MX.
“The track was pretty rough today but my goal was to ride smart, patient and not over ride the machine and I think we accomplished those things today,” Wienen said.
Upperman came in a close second to Wienen in Moto 2, giving him second overall with a 4-2 score-his best overall finish this season. Upperman remains fourth in the championship standings as the series heads to the season finale in just two weeks.
“We have been working really hard to get a good bike setup and I think we’re heading in the right direction thanks to Tim, Mark and Wayne-who have put so much time and effort into our program this season. “I’m happy with second overall and we’re looking to get a win before the season is over.”
Natalie made his way up to sixth place in Moto 2 after getting hung up in a first corner crash. His Moto 1 victory was enough to boost his score to claim third place overall. Natalie’s third afforded him enough points to remain in the championship hunt with one round remaining.
Brown engaged in a race-long battle with Creamer and Hetrick and managed to hold off the Can-Am riders until Lap 8 when Hetrick made his move for third. Brown’s 3-4 score gave him fourth place overall, just ahead of Hetrick’s fifth place finish.
2010 ATVMX champion Josh Creamer (Can-Am) finished with a consistent 5-5 score for sixth overall, while Pennsylvania’s Derek Swartfager (HON) took home seventh overall with 7-8 finishes. Ohio’s Adam Clark (HON) went 8-9 for eighth overall and Harold Goodman (HON) and Mark Madl (HON) rounded out the top ten.
The 2012 AMA ATV Motocross Championship heads to the Loretta Lynn Ranch in Hurricane Mills, Tenn. August 11 and 12 for the final round of racing. For more information, please visit www.atvmotocross.com.
AMA Pro ATV Results
1. Chad Wienen, Yamaha, (2-1)
2. Josh Upperman, Honda, (4-2)
3. John Natalie, Can-Am, (1-6)
4. Thomas Brown, Yamaha, (3-4)
5. Joel Hetrick, Can-Am, (6-3)
6. Josh Creamer, Can-Am, (5-5)
7. Derek Swartfager, Honda, (7-8)
8. Adam Clark, Honda, (8-9)
9. Harold Goodman, Honda, (9-10)
10. Mark Madl, Honda, (14-7)
AMA ATV Motocross Championship Pro Point Standings
1. Chad Wienen, Yamaha – 421
2. John Natalie, Can-Am- 385
3. Joel Hetrick, Can-Am – 341
4. Josh Upperman, Honda – 326
5. Thomas Brown, Yamaha – 314
6. Derek Swartfager, Honda – 224
7. Adam Clark, Honda – 213
8. Mark Madl, Honda – 205
9. Jeff Rastrelli, Suzuki – 196
10. Harold Goodman, Honda – 183
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 http://www.atvmotocross.com.