Natalie Edges Wienen at High Point MX
Second straight victory for Can-Am pilot
Story by Staff, Photography by Ken Hill, Jun. 18, 2012
Riding in his home state, John Natalie picked up his second straight win in Round 6 of the AMA ATV Motocross National Championship Series at High Point Raceway in Mount Morris, Pa. Points leader Chad Wienen split moto wins with Natalie, while Thomas Brown secured his first podium finish of 2012.
Natalie (Motoworks/Can-Am) kicked off Moto 1 with the SSi Decals Holeshot Award and held the early lead over teammate Joel Hetrick, Brown and Nick DeNoble. Wienen (Wienen Motorsports/SSi Decals/Walsh Race Craft/Yamaha) got into a collision with Josh Upperman off the start, causing both riders to fall behind the pack. It wasn’t long before Hetrick put the moves on Natalie, taking control of the Moto 1 lead; but only for a couple laps as he experienced mechanical issues that forced him to pull into the mechanic’s area to readjust.
Natalie then inherited the lead on lap 5, but Brown kept his TBROWN Yamaha Racing/Moto-X-Perts Yamaha on the rear end of Natalie throughout the entire first moto, even making his way past the defending champ to take over the lead briefly in the middle of the race. Natalie held Brown off for the remainder of the race, taking home the Moto 1 victory despite feeling under the weather all week. Wienen caught back up to the lead pack after hooking up with Upperman in the first corner, salvaging points for his overall position.
“I just haven’t been feeling too hot the past few days and I’m not going to lie, there were times when I felt like giving up out there,” says Natalie. “The biggest thing that kept me going was hearing the fans cheering as we went by. That was amazing and I couldn’t have made it through without them!”
Baldwin Motorports/PEP’s Josh Upperman fought back to finish in the fifth place spot, just behind Hetrick’s fourth place ride.
In Moto 2, Upperman shot out of the gate to grab the SSi Decals Holeshot Award and led the early part of the race until he lost control and went off-track, causing him to lose four positions right away. Meanwhile, Hetrick worked his way past Natalie for the lead by the third lap.
“I had a great jump off the start and I felt really good on the first lap, but I may have gotten too excited and just kind of went off the track and lost the lead,” says Upperman. “Things are really coming together and I feel really comfortable with my bike set up this year.”
After a first corner tangle-up in Moto 1, Wienen was on a mission in the second moto as he pushed past both Motoworks/Can-Am teammates and took the lead for the remainder of Moto 2. It wasn’t long before Natalie reclaimed second place from Hetrick, and it was downhill from there for the young gun as Brown cleared the triple over Hetrick’s double to take over third place. Upperman put the moves on Hetrick soon after, leaving Hetrick back in fifth for the rest of the race.
Wienen edged out Natalie for the Moto 2 victory, but it was Natalie who took home the overall win with a 1-2 score for the day. Wenen’s 3-1 moto results was good for second overall.
“I knew I would have a chance at the overall today if I could put myself out front in the second moto and that’s what we did,” says Wienen. “Championships are won on your worst days and I truly believe that I put in my best effort today despite the bad luck we had in the first moto.”
Brown got his first podium finish of the 2012 season, taking home third overall with a 2-3 score. Upperman was fourth overall, switching off 5-4 with Hetrick, who went 4-5 for the day.
“It feels good to finally get on the podium this year,” says Brown. “Everything is really coming together and I can’t thank my sponsors enough for sticking by me for so long. I’m looking forward to staying on the podium for the rest of the year!”
Michigan’s Harold Goodman (Honda) secured a season-best sixth overall, while Ohio’s Adam Clark (Honda) came in seventh. Nick DeNoble (Honda) salvaged an eighth overall after taking a hard hit to the ground earlier in the day. Rookie Mark Madl (Honda) grabbed ninth overall and Jesse Barnes (Yamaha) rounded out the top ten.
The 2012 AMA ATV Motocross Championship heads to Sunday Creek Raceway in Millfield, Ohio June 30 and July 1 for Round 7 of the ten-race circuit.
|High Point MX National||2012 ATV Motocross Pro Class Standings|
|1.||John Natalie||Can-Am||1 - 2||1.||Chad Wienen||Yamaha||280 (3 wins)|
|2.||Chad Wienen||Yamaha||3 - 1||2.||John Natalie||Can-Am||267 (2 wins)|
|3.||Thomas Brown||Yamaha||2 - 3||3.||Joel Hetrick||Can-Am||223 (1 win)|
|4.||Josh Upperman||Honda||5 - 4||4.||Josh Upperman||Honda||218|
|5.||Joel Hetrick||Can-Am||4 - 5||5.||Thomas Brown||Yamaha||218|
|6.||Harold Goodman||Honda||9 - 7||6.||Derek Swartfager||Honda||159|
|7.||Adam Clark||Honda||7 - 10||7.||Nick DeNoble||Honda||152|
|8.||Nick DeNoble||Honda||6 - 11||8.||Harold Goodman||Honda||139|
|9.||Mark Madl||Honda||12 - 6||9.||Adam Clark||Honda||136|
|10.||Jesse Barnes||Yamaha||10 - 8||10.||Mark Madl||Honda||134|