Can-Am Race Report: ATVMX Round 8
Making his return to the AMA ATV Motocross National Championship Series, 2010 champion Josh Creamer raced his Can-Am DS 450 to a second-place finish at Unadilla, NY.
Creamer was joined on the Pro class podium by defending AMA ATV MX champion John Natalie, who finished third overall. Natalie’s Motoworks / Can-Am teammate Joel Hetrick finished fourth while Canadian Can-Am X-Team racer Richard Pelchat took seventh on his DS 450.
“It was another great weekend of racing, as our Can-Am riders battled hard to earn two spots on the Pro podium in Unadilla, N.Y. Josh Creamer had a memorable return to the AMA ATV MX National series convincingly winning the first moto and ending up second overall. Motoworks / Can-Am pilot John Natalie earned a hard-fought third-place finish and kept himself in the championship points race with only two rounds remaining,” says Jimmie O’Dell, race manager, Can-Am. “Joel Hetrick just missed the podium, finishing fourth, but gained some valuable points in his pursuit to remain in the top three in the Pro class points race.”
Holeshots were critical in New York as the famed Unadilla Valley Sports Center played hard and fast with limited lines to pass. Creamer, BCS Performance / Can-Am racer and current New England ATV Motocross series Pro class points leader, proved he could still run with the top ATV pros as he grabbed the holeshot and immediately pulled to a three-second lead. Creamer held the lead the entire moto on his way to earning his first moto victory in almost two years. Creamer was fourth at the start of moto two, but moved up to second — passing Natalie — at one point before settling for third. His 1-3 finishes were good for second overall and his first AMA series Pro class podium since 2010.
“BCS Performance did a great job on the DS 450. I got the holeshot and checked out from there. I didn’t get tired and I just stayed focused,” says Creamer. “I really felt good out there. I’ve spent the last six weeks training and it really helped me to be ready for this round. I am really happy to have finished on the podium and now I am really excited for Red Bud. I want to thank all the fans out there for all of their support. It was great to hear everyone when I was out there battling it out. I wanted to come out here and get on the box this weekend and I did that so I can’t complain.”
Natalie put in a spirited ride in New York. After battling back from a horrible start in the first moto, Natalie picked off several racers until he moved into third place at the finish. He paired his third-place run with a hard-fought second-place ride in moto two to earn third overall and keep alive his shot at another national championship.
“There was some great racing today. I had to spend a lot of energy in the first moto trying to work up. And for moto two, I just gave it everything I had,” says Natalie. “I always want to win, but I still finished on the podium and salvaged some points. There’s still four motos left in the season and anything can happen so things could get real interesting at Loretta’s.”
Hetrick, who posted the quickest time in the second timed qualifying session, was in third at the start of moto one, but got bumped back to sixth on the first lap. Hetrick recovered to eventually retake third place. However, he lost one more spot at the end of the moto when his teammate Natalie got by in the closing laps of the moto. Hetrick would finish in fourth. Hetrick also finished fourth in moto two to finish fourth overall. However, his fourth-place ride cushioned his lead for third place in the overall Pro class point standings. The fourth Can-Am racer in the top 10 was Pelchat, who usually competes in the Courses VTT series in Canada. He posted 7-6 finishes in the motos to earn seventh overall aboard his DS 450.
Two rounds of the AMA ATV MX series remain. Red Bud Raceway in Buchannon, Mich., will host round nine on July 28. The series finale is slated for August 11, at Loretta Lynn’s in Hurricane Mills, Tenn.