Wienen finishes second to reclaim championship lead
Thomas Brown picked up his first Mtn. Dew ATV Motocross National Championship win of the season this past weekend at the Ironman National. This was the series’ debut at Ironman Raceway, which sits just outside of Indianapolis.
Thunderstorms threatened the area most of the day but the morning started dry. As the Moto 1 gate dropped, Hetrick Racing/Corrosion Specialties Honda rider Joel Hetrick didn’t waste any time getting out front as he shot out to the SSi Decals Holeshot and quickly left the rest of the field in his dust.
Behind Hetrick, a battle ensued between the Yamaha duo of Brown (Maxxis Yamaha, powered by Moto-Xperts) and reigning AMA Pro ATV Champion Chad Wienen. The pair swapped the final two podium positions several times before Wienen ultimately pulled away aboard his Wienen Motorsports/Maxxis/SSi Decals/Walsh Race Craft Yamaha for second.
When the checkered flag flew, Hetrick had a sizeable margin of victory at 6.2 seconds over Wienen, who attempted to put in a late charge, and Brown. Following the top three were Root River Racing’s Josh Upperman in fourth, and Vechery Racing/NSD/Pafford EMS Honda’s Ronnie Higgerson in fifth, tying his best moto finish of the season.
Prior to the start of the second moto, thunderstorms and lightning passed through the area, slightly delaying the gate drop. Once the crew had finished working on the track, the riders prepared to attack the wet conditions.
Getting out front with clear vision was a priority in the mud and it was Upperman who scored the SSi Decals Holeshot award once the field emerged out of the first corner. Brown, Wienen and Hetrick all made their way by Upperman after the first few corners, but misfortune struck Hetrick as he went down, allowing the entire field to get by and leaving him dead last. With Brown, Wienen and Upperman out front, the entering points leader needed to gain as many positions as possible in hopes of keeping his title hopes intact. Hetrick fought valiantly and made it up as high as 11th in the tough conditions before a bobble sent him back to finish 14th.
With the treacherous conditions making passing difficult, Brown held off his former teammate and mentor Wienen to win the moto, with Wienen and Upperman joining him on the podium. Yamaha rider Nicolas Cavigliasso, from Argentina, scored his best career finish in fourth, while Yamaha rookie Nick Gennusa rounded out the top five.
When the overall points were tallied, Brown’s 3-1 moto scores narrowly edged out Wienen’s 2-2 finishes for Brown’s first overall win of the season and his first victory as a team owner. Wienen ended up second, while Upperman’s 4-3 results earned him his first podium finish of the season in a breakout performance for the Root River Racing effort.
After losing the red plate and the points lead at the previous round, defending back-to-back-to-back ATVMX champion Wienen reclaimed the points lead and once again controls his own destiny in his quest for title number four. His Yamaha will once again be adorned with the red plate and Wienen now sits 10 points ahead of Hetrick in the AMA Pro ATV standings. Hetrick has come from behind once already this season, but he’ll have to do it this time around beginning at Wienen’s home track. The ATVMX season’s next round will take place at Sunset Ridge MX in Walnut, Illinois June 13-14.
AMA Pro ATV Overall Results (Moto Results) 1. Thomas Brown, Sanger, Texas, Yamaha (3-1) 2. Chad Wienen, Galena, Ill., Yamaha (2-2) 3. Josh Upperman, Louisville, Ohio, Honda, (4-3) 4. Joel Hetrick, Seneca, Pa., Honda (1-14) 5. Nicholas Gennusa, Wall Township, N.J., Yamaha (8-5) 6. Brett Musick, Verdunville, W.Va., Yamaha (7-6) 7. Casey Martin, Frenchburg, Ky., Honda (10-7) 8. Nicolas Cavigliasso, Gral Cabrera, Argentina, Yamaha (15-4) 9. Vital Cazenave, Union City, Tenn., Honda (9-10) 10. Ronnie Higgerson, Cutler, Ill., Can-Am (5-16)
AMA Pro ATV Championship Standings 1. Chad Wienen, Galena, Ill., Yamaha – 244 2. Joel Hetrick, Seneca, Pa., Honda – 234 3. Thomas Brown, Sanger, Texas, Yamaha – 220 4. Josh Upperman, Louisville, Ohio, Honda – 168 5. Nick Gennusa, Wall, N.J., Yamaha – 156 6. Ronnie Higgerson, Cutler, Ill., Can-Am – 149 7. Jeffrey Rastrelli, Palm City, Fla., Can-Am – 138 8. Vital Cazenave, Union City, Tenn., Honda – 117 9. Joe Byrd, Union City, Tenn., Honda – 107 10. Tyler Hamrick, Cortland, Ohio, Honda – 106