Natalie and Hetrick complete podium at Underground MX Park
Chad Wienen earned his second straight overall victory on Saturday at the Mtn. Dew ATV Motocross National Championship at Underground MX Park in Texas. The reigning three-time AMA Pro ATV Champion faced stiff competition aboard his Wienen Motorsports/Maxxis/SSi Decals/Walsh Race Craft Yamaha at the inaugural Texas ATV National, but ultimately emerged victorious following consistent 3-1 moto finishes.
After rain hit the region on Friday night it looked as though the riders would be faced with an added challenge on Saturday, but the wet weather had little to no impact on the conditions when the riders hit the track in the morning for qualifying.
When the gate dropped on Moto 1, to no ones surprise it was Motosport.com/Maxxis/FLY Racing Honda’s John Natalie, one of the best starters in ATVMX history, who led the riders into the first turn, collecting SSi Decals Holeshot Award. The veteran opened the race looking strong through the opening laps, but Hetrick Racing/Corrosion Specialties/Brownell Inc. Honda’s Joel Hetrick soon started to apply pressure. Hetrick was relentless in his pursuit of the lead and made an aggressive pass on Natalie stick.
Hetrick went on to lead the remaining laps to take his second moto win of the season, but Natalie kept him honest all the way through to the finish. Wienen wasn’t far behind in third, but also wasn’t a major factor in the battle for the win after having to fight his way through the field. Maxxis Yamaha, powered by Moto-Xperts, rider Thomas Brown finished fourth, with JB Racing Can-Am’s Jeffrey Rastrelli rounding out the top five. After the moto concluded, Hetrick discovered he had run his engine to its limit en route to the win and made a complete engine change in his search of the overall win in the final moto.
As the riders stormed out of the gate in Moto 2, Natalie grabbed his second SSi Decals Holeshot Award of the day for the sweep, with Hetrick second and Wienen third. The battle up front was just as intense as the opening moto amongst the same trio of riders. Hetrick once again looked to put the pressure on Natalie for the lead, but this time a much better start by Wienen allowed him to make the move on Hetrick for second on Lap 1.
Once in the runner-up spot, Wienen was focused on taking control of the moto away from Natalie. The two did battle for the top spot before Wienen eventually made a pass stick on Lap 4, bringing Hetrick along with him. Once out front Wienen pulled away while Hetrick was forced to battle through an apparent bike issue. Hetrick’s misfortune allowed Brown, who had passed Natalie for third, to eventually take over second with two laps to go. Hetrick continued to lose spots as the race came to an end. Wienen took a comfortable win ahead of Brown, with Natalie fighting to another podium result in third. Rastrelli finished fourth while Hetrick soldiered home to fifth.
Wienen’s second moto win of the season proved to be the deciding factor in the overall classification, leading him to back-to-back overall wins to start his title defense. Natalie’s strong starts and consistent efforts landed him second overall (2-3), while Hetrick was able to secure a spot on the box in third (1-5) despite his late troubles. Brown finished fourth overall (4-2) with Rastrelli completing the top five (5-4).
Wienen extended his AMA Pro ATV championship lead to 10 points ahead of Hetrick. Natalie remains close in third, just 13 points back.
Texas ATV National Overall Results (Moto Results)
Chad Wienen, Galena, Ill., Yamaha (3-1) John Natalie, Houtzdale, Pa., Honda (2-3) Joel Hetrick, Seneca, Pa., Honda (1-5) Thomas Brown, Sanger, Texas, Yamaha (4-2) Jeffrey Rastrelli, Palm City, Fla., Can-Am (5-4) Ronnie Higgerson, Cutler, Ill., Honda (7-6) Josh Upperman, Louisville, Ohio, Honda (6-7) Joe Byrd, Union City, Tenn., Honda (9-9) Nicholas Gennusa, Wall Township, N.J., Yamaha (8-10) Brett Musick, Verdunville, W.Va., Yamaha (12-11)
AMA Pro ATV Championship Standings
Chad Wienen, Galena, Ill., Yamaha – 112 Joel Hetrick, Seneca, Pa., Honda – 102 John Natalie, Houtzdale, Pa., Honda – 99 Thomas Brown, Sanger, Texas, Yamaha – 95 Jeffrey Rastrelli, Palm City, Fla., Can-Am – 79 Nick Gennusa, Wall, N.J., Yamaha – 69 Josh Upperman, Louisville, Ohio, Honda – 66 Ronnie Higgerson, Cutler, Ill., Honda – 66 Vital Cazenave, Union City, Tenn., Honda – 53 Joe Byrd, Union City, Tenn., Honda – 50