Defending champion and Rockstar Makita Suzuki's Dustin Wimmer started off the season in style by winning the opening round of the 2009 ITP/Moose Racing AMA ATV Motocross Championship presented by Parts Unlimited.
After coming up short in the first moto, Wimmer rebounded by grabbing the holeshot and the win in the second moto to secure the top spot on the podium.
“It's always easy getting out front first. You don't have to work as hard,” Wimmer said after the second moto. “However, it is never easy on a rough and sandy track like Glen Helen Raceway. I came up on two wheels in the second or third lap and thought I was going to lose it. But defending my championship like this; it feels great.”
The first moto was an exciting way to open the 2009 season. Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Josh Creamer grabbed the holeshot and was followed by a pack of Honda’s including rookie Nick DeNoble, Josh Upperman and Joe Byrd. Wimmer was fifth after the start and took about half the race to reach and pass Byrd to move into second. Wimmer then began to stalk Creamer late in the moto and actually took the lead on a few occasions. Creamer, however, changed his lines and held his ground to win the first moto of the year.
In the second moto, Wimmer powered his Suzuki to the holeshot and settled into the lead over Byrd. Creamer struggled to a mid-pack start, but worked his way into the number three spot. Creamer’s third place finish in the second moto was enough to get him into second position on the podium, something he didn’t realize during the race.
“My mechanic was telling me 'second, second' and I didn't know what it meant,” says Creamer. “I was thinking, trying to figure it out. I guess I was never really good at math.”
Byrd rounded out the podium happy with a better start to the season compared to last year.
“We had a better setup in the second moto and we like this track,” says Byrd. “It's good and rough.”
Yamaha rookie Thomas Brown was so excited to be at the race you couldn't wipe the grin off of his face. Riding an ailing machine in moto one, he kept it together to finish ninth then upped it to fourth for a fourth overall.
Another rookie and Byrd's protege, Clay Holmes, came close to earning the number four spot, but the quiet rider earned eighth and fifth to grab his first Top 5 finish in the Pro class.
Can-Am mounted riders John Natalie of Warnert Racing earned fifth and tenth for sixth overall while Motoworks' Jeremy Lawson finished the day in seventh with tenth and seventh for his motos.
Rockstar Makita Suzuki's Doug Gust, who got tangled on the start in moto one, reached thirteenth at the checkers and ended the second moto in sixth for eighth overall.
Baldwin Motorsport Honda's Josh Upperman had a great start to moto one but faded back to sixth then suffered a rough second moto relegating him to fourteenth for ninth overall.
Rounding out the Top 10 overall was Canadian Greg Gee who switched brands in the off season and entered 2009 on a Honda.
The 2009 ITP/Moose Racing AMA ATV Motocross Championship heads east to Pell City, Alabama for the FMF Spring Nationals at Mill Creek Raceway on March 21 and 22 where the amateur classes will join the series with their opening round of the season.