Coming off a strong finish last season, Motoworks/Can-Am Pro riders Chad Wienen and John Natalie were heavy favorites coming into the first round of the AMA ATVMX Championship, presented by DWT. They certainly lived up to expectations.
Josh Upperman grabbed the moto one holeshot aboard his Baldwin Motorsports Honda, taking over the lead early on. Natalie and Wienen weren't letting Upperman out of their sight, though. Pro class Rookie Joel Hetrick got a great holeshot behind the veteran riders. On lap 5, Natalie went over the berm, allowing his teammate Wienen to cruise on by for the second place position. Hetrick also capitalized on Natalie's mistake, moving himself into the third spot behind Wienen.
A short time later Wienen made his way past Upperman and cruised to the moto one victory. Natalie finished out in second behind Wienen with early on leader Upperman capping the top three. As rider and owner of Joe Byrd Quad Racing School, Byrd put in a solid ride to capture fourth overall with Walsh Race Crafts Suzuki rider Jeremy Lawson rounding out the top five.
“It was a picture perfect day out there, the bike is working great and I couldn't ask for more,” says points leader Chad Wienen. “I've been working really hard on the off-season and with a great start today, it all came together,” Wienen added.
Harold Goodman captured the moto two holeshot, with Wienen breathing down his neck. Wienen made his way around Goodman right away, setting his machine on autopilot for the rest of the race. Natalie got around Goodman as well, and then settled in behind teammate Wienen to take over a comfortable second. Upperman took over the third spot and never looked back as he earned the final podium spot.
The real story here is Hetrick, who finished an impressive sixth place overall in his first ever-Pro race. After getting a third place holeshot in moto one, Hetrick has proven that he has what it takes to run with the big dogs in the Pro class.
“I started off the first moto in third place and lost three more spots after I tensed up,” says Hetrick. “Second moto I got a bad holeshot, like thirteenth, and I worked my way up just trying to stay calm and race. My goal for next week is to get in the top five.”
Wienen heads into round two of the series as the points leader, with teammate John Natalie sitting six points behind.
The AMA ATV Motocross Championship Series heads to Millcreek MX Park in Pell City, Ala., with Pro class racing starting at 1 p.m. Saturday.
|Can-Am Aonia Pass Results||ATV Motocross Pro Class Standings|
|1.||Chad Wienen||Can-Am||1 - 1||1.||Chad Wienen||Can-Am||50 (1 win)|
|2.||Josh Natalie||Can-Am||2 - 2||2.||John Natalie||Can-Am||44|
|3.||Josh Upperman||Honda||3 - 3||3.||Josh Upperman||Honda||40|
|4.||Jeremy Lawson||Suzuki||5 - 4||4.||Jeremy Lawson||Suzuki||34|
|5.||Joe Byrd||Honda||4 - 5||5.||Joe Byrd||Honda||34|
|6.||Joel Hetrick||Kawasaki||6 - 6||6.||Joel Hetrick||Kawasaki||30|
|7.||Nick DeNoble||Honda||7 - 7||7.||Nick DeNoble||Honda||28|
|8.||Chase Snapp||Can-Am||8 - 8||8.||Chase Snapp||Can-Am||26|
|9.||Travis Moore||Honda||9 - 9||9.||Travis Moore||Honda||24|
|10.||Harold Goodman||Honda||10 - 10||10.||Harold Goodman||Honda||22|