Can-Am DS 450 racers picked up several class victories and podiums at the opening round of the 2012 AMA ATV Motocross Championship. Leading the way was Team Motoworks / Can-Am’s John Natalie, who finished second in both Pro class motos and second overall.
Teammate Joel Hetrick won the fastest qualifier award at Aonia Pass MX aboard his DS 450 and finished eighth overall. Can-Am racers also wrapped up several amateur class wins during the opening weekend of the 10-round AMA ATV MX series.
“John battled hard in both Pro class motos and just narrowly missed taking the overall win in the final lap of moto two. He remains steadfast and determined in his title defense,” says Jimmie O’Dell, race manager, Can-Am. “Joel Hetrick was very impressive, earning the fastest qualifying time in both Pro practices. Unfortunately, his hopes for a weekend podium were dashed after a first-moto crash occurred while he was making a pass for the lead. Both our racers were very strong and are determined to be significant contenders for the Pro class podium at every round this season.”
Natalie, who was the second fastest qualifier of the day on his DS 450, was second off the start. After falling back to fourth at one point, Natalie buckled down and passed his way back into the top three. He earned the second position when his teammate, Hetrick, went off the track while challenging for the lead. Natalie drew close to the leader, but ran out of time and had to settle for second in moto one. Hetrick, who was unable to finish the first moto, was credited with 14th.
Moto two again saw Natalie pull out of the gate in second. He quickly took over the lead and was followed by the moto one winner. Natalie held the lead and fended off several pass attempts for almost the entire moto. The race overall came down to the final corner. Natalie lost the lead and the race overall, but still ended up second overall with his 2-2 finishes.
“It was really close at the end. I wanted to start the season on the podium and I’m happy about that,” said Natalie. “I have to thank Can-Am, Motoworks and everyone who helped me get to the podium today.”
Hetrick rebounded from his disappointing first moto to earn fourth in moto two. His 14-4 combined finishes were good for eighth overall in his Pro debut aboard the Can-Am DS 450.
“I really like the Can-Am. I felt good on it today,” said Hetrick. “I was having a really good first moto and took the lead, but we got together right after that and I went off the track. I was hoping to be on the podium, but I rode really well and I’m happy I was able to lead for a little while.”
Other Can-Am DS 450 racers to post class victories were, Chase Henry (Production A), Travis Spader (Veteran 30+ and 450 A), Merrill Crose (25+A) and C.J. Dollarhide (4-Stroke B).