Hetrick, Upperman join Wienen on the podium
Chad Wienen beat the heat and outdueled Joel Hetrick in the most recent round of the AMA ATV Motocross National Championship Series at Sunday Creek Raceway in southern Ohio. Wienen and Hetrick split moto wins, but Wienen did just enough to earn the overall victory.
When the gate dropped for Moto 1, it was Wienen Motorsports/SSi Decals/Walsh Race Craft/Yamaha’s Chad Wienen who grabbed his first SSi Decals Holeshot Award of 2012, with Motoworks/Can-Am’s Hetrick, Baldwin Motorports/PEP’s Josh Upperman and John Natalie in tow. Hetrick began applying pressure to Wienen early, before finally securing the pass for the lead on lap three. Wienen began closing the gap on Hetrick by mid-race, but the young gun put in several quick and consistent laps, building a comfortable cushion all the way to the checkers.
Wienen crossed the finish line in second, while Motoworks/Can-Am’s Natalie came through in third after working his way past Upperman for the final podium position. Meanwhile, TBROWN Yamaha Racing/Moto-X-Perts Yamaha Thomas Brown spent much of Moto 1 chasing after Upperman and the lead pack, ultimately settling for a fifth place finish.
Things were heating up as the field made its way to the line for Moto 2. In a replay of earlier, it was again points leader Chad Wienen who rocketed out of the gate quickest to nab the SSi Decals Holeshot Award over Natalie and Upperman. Moto 1 winner Hetrick was marred with a mid-pack start, and had his work cut out for him as he attempted to work his way to the front. Upperman overtook Natalie for second place in lap two and was glued to the rear tires of the leader Wienen for the first half of the moto ready to capitalize on even the slightest error. Hetrick was a man on a mission in Moto 2, moving up methodically as the laps wore on. Hetrick caught Upperman and engaged him in a battle for the runner up spot, where he eventually stuck the pass for a second place finish.
Wienen took the Moto 2 win and overall victory, and will once again carry the red plate into the next round. Hetrick’s second place score gave him second overall for the day with 1-2 finishes. Much to the delight of his home state fans, Upperman finished third place in Moto 2, giving him the final podium position at Sunday Creek.
Natalie lost the momentum he had coming into this round with a 3-5 score for the day, finishing off the podium for the first time this season with a fourth overall. Thomas Brown fought hard and made a late pass on Natalie to grab fourth in Moto 2, which earned him another solid top five overall.
Rookie Mark Madl (Honda) took home sixth overall with a consistent score of 6-6 for the day, while Ohio’s Adam Clark (Honda) came in seventh. Rookie Jeffrey Rastrelli (Suzuki) took eighth overall, while Iowa’s Jesse Barnes (Yamaha) came in ninth and Jonathon Venjohn (Honda) rounded out the top ten.
The 2012 AMA ATV Motocross Championship heads to Unadilla in New Berlin, NY July 14 and 15 for Round 8 of the ten-race circuit.