With the championship title still up for grabs in the 2012 AMA ATV Motocross National Championship Series, this weekend’s stop at the Loretta Lynn Ranch is a little more than just a season finale. Points leader Chad Wienen holds an advantage over defending champ John Natalie on the official leader board, but anything could happen with two motos left to go-approximately one hour of racing-this Saturday, August 11, in Hurricane Mills, Tenn.
Coming into the final round of 2011, Wienen Motorsports/SSi Decals/Walsh Race Craft/Yamaha-backed Wienen was sitting along the sidelines as he healed up from a back injury that happened mid-season. Wienen’s championship push this season is arguably the closest the 27-year-old has been to the AMA Pro ATV title and heading into the weekend with three consecutive wins may give Wienen the confidence he needs to secure his first-ever AMA Pro ATV title.
However, Motoworks/Can-Am’s Natalie is a two-time AMA Pro ATV champion and the veteran knows just what it takes to get the job done. Natalie is known for his tenacious riding style and mental game, which makes for an interesting finale at the Loretta Lynn Ranch.
Baldwin Motorsports/PEP/Maxxis rider Josh Upperman and Motoworks/Can-Am’s Joel Hetrick are a couple of heavy hitters in the Pro division and although neither rider has a chance at the title, they’re still racing for moto-wins this season. Hetrick is still a young gun in the Pro class and currently has one moto-win and one overall win this season in his first year with the Motoworks/Can-Am team. Upperman has yet to secure a win this season and has all sights set on taking a victory in the final round. Upperman favors consistency, which will help him in the overall point standings. TBROWN Yamaha/Moto-X-Perts rider Thomas Brown currently sits fifth behind Upperman in the standings. Brown has been in the mix all season, finishing inside the top five in every round so far.
Another tight championship battle comes in the Manufacturers Cup competition, where Yamaha currently tops Can-Am by less than 20 points heading into the final round. This battle will run parallel with the Wienen (YAM) and Natalie (CAN) battle, in addition to the other prominent riders such as Brown (YAM) and Hetrick (CAN).
The pro riders will run Saturday as part of a full schedule of amateur racing, including classes for Youth, Women and Veteran riders. Amateurs will practice on Friday and race on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets on Saturday are $20 for spectators ($10 for ages 6-11), and admission includes full pro-pit access and an autograph session.
To get to the ranch from Nashville, Take I-40 west 65 miles to exit 143. Take Highway 13 North seven miles to the track entrance on your left.