Wienen finishes second to retain championship lead
Joel Hetrick made a huge push on Saturday at Unadilla MX to tighten up the title fight for the 2015 Mtn. Dew ATV Motocross National Championship.
Hetrick (Hetrick Racing/Corrosion Specialties Honda) earned a dominant 1-1 moto sweep at the eighth round of the season to earn his third AMA Pro ATV victory and gain valuable ground in the battle for the championship with just two rounds remaining.
The iconic Unadilla circuit in Central New York was graced with picture-perfect weather. When Moto 1 got underway, Root River Racing’s Josh Upperman edged out Hetrick to score the SSI Decal’s Holeshot Award. However, it didn’t take long for Hetrick to get around, leading the field as it crossed the line to complete the first lap. Once in the lead, Hetrick quickly gapped the rest of the field. He was never pressured throughout the moto and went on to take the win by 13.5 seconds.
Behind Hetrick, Wienen Motorsports/Maxxis/SSi Decals/Walsh Race Craft Yamaha rider Chad Wienen, the championship leader, had his work cut out for him on the opening laps following a mid-pack start. He moved into fourth by the end of the first lap and was able to get by both Upperman and Maxxis Yamaha, powered by Moto-Xperts, rider Thomas Brown to vault into second by the second lap. By that time Hetrick had already pulled a gap of nearly seven seconds, all but forcing Wienen to settle for second. Brown carried on to finish third, while holeshot winner Upperman was fourth.
Moto 2 resulted in a considerably better start for Wienen, but Hetrick collected the SSI Decal’s Holeshot Award and assumed the early lead. The start up front afforded Wienen the chance to put pressure on Hetrick the entire moto, something he didn’t have the opportunity to do in Moto 1. Wienen even laid down the fastest lap of the race over halfway through the moto, but in the end it wasn’t enough as Hetrick clinched the moto sweep by 2.3 seconds.
The battle for the final spot on the moto podium came down to Brown and JB Racing/Can-Am/Liquid Wrench’s Jeffrey Rastrelli. The pair battled back and forth for third during the opening laps of the moto, but once Brown asserted himself into third on the third lap he stretched his lead out and came across the line comfortably ahead of Rastrelli.
Hetrick collected a class-leading eighth and ninth moto win of the season en route to the 1-1 sweep. Wienen’s virtually unbeatable consistency in the late stages of the season continued with a runner-up finish on the heels of 2-2 moto results, while Brown bounced back from missing the overall podium at the previous round to finish the day third overall (3-3).
Hetrick’s dominant outing allowed him to pick up six valuable points as the chase winds down for the 2015 championship, but Wienen was able to minimize the damage with his runner-up effort. Now 15 points separate the lead duo atop the AMA Pro ATV standings with two rounds remaining. Brown sits in third (-44), with Upperman fourth (-133) and Rastrelli fifth (-143).
AMA Pro ATV Overall Results (Moto Results)
1. Joel Hetrick, Seneca, Pa., Honda (1-1)
2. Chad Wienen, Galena, Ill., Yamaha (2-2)
3. Thomas Brown, Sanger, Texas, Yamaha (3-3)
4. Jeffrey Rastrelli, Palm City, Fla., Can-Am (5-4)
5. Josh Upperman, Louisville, Ohio, Honda, (4-8)
6. Ronnie Higgerson, Cuter, Ill., Honda (7-5)
7. Nicholas Gennusa, Wall Township, N.J., Yamaha (6-6)
8. Vital Cazenave, Union City, Tenn., Honda (8-7)
9. Brett Musick, Verdunville, W.Va., Yamaha (10-9)
10. Tyler Hamrick, Cortland, Ohio, Honda (9-11)
AMA Pro ATV Championship Standings
1. Chad Wienen, Galena, Ill., Yamaha – 385
2. Joel Hetrick, Seneca, Pa., Honda – 370
3. Thomas Brown, Sanger, Texas, Yamaha – 341
4. Josh Upperman, Louisville, Ohio, Honda – 252
5. Jeffrey Rastrelli, Palm City, Fla., Can-Am – 242
6. Nick Gennusa, Wall, N.J., Yamaha – 239
7. Ronnie Higgerson, Cutler, Ill., Can-Am – 213
8. Vital Cazenave, Union City, Tenn., Honda – 182
9. Brett Musick, Verdunville, W.Va., Yamaha – 168
10. Tyler Hamrick, Cortland, Ohio, Honda – 165