Can-Am pilot extends points lead heading into final round
As the AMA ATV Motocross National Championship Series presented by DWT winds down, the action only seems to heighten. Ballance Racing’s Thomas Brown captured his first moto win of the season Saturday at Red Bud MX in Buchanan, Mich., becoming the seventh unique rider to win a moto in this year’s Pro ATV class. Motoworks Can-Am‘s John Natalie answered back with a moto two win, claiming the overall and extending his lead in the championship point standings.
As the gate dropped for moto one, it was the Honda of Josh Upperman that grabbed the SSiDecals.com Holeshot Award. “A huge thanks to Mark [Baldwin] for giving me such a good motor to pull holeshots out there,” says Upperman. Walsh Race Craft Suzuki‘s Jeremy Lawson and Hetrick Motorsports Honda rider Joel Hetrick got tangled up early in the moto, causing both riders to go down pretty hard. Tough luck for Lawson, who posted the fastest lap times in the qualifying sessions and for Hetrick who swept both motos at Unadilla just two weeks ago.
Motoworks Can-Am’s John Natalie put in the fastest lap of the race on the second lap, making his way past Baldwin Motorsports PEP Honda’s Upperman for second place and quickly finding his way around the leader Brown soon after.
“Natalie ran me down – he had a few better lines than me and passed me, but I found his lines and tracked him for a few laps and I was able to make the pass,” says Brown. Brown got back around Natalie through the whoops and laid down a smooth race to the checkers.
Upperman settled into a comfortable pace behind Natalie, keeping an almost thirty-second distance over Can-Am’s Chase Snapp by the end of the moto. “I definitely want to be on the podium every week, but I know staying consistent will keep me in the championship contention,” says Upperman. “The track was pretty brutal and with the big amount of sand, it got really whooped out. I got pretty beat up through the whoops, but I think everyone else did too.”
Mushin Racing/KG Clutch Factory/GBC Bomb Squad’s Travis Moore battled with Snapp at the beginning of the race, eventually settling into the fifth spot behind the rookie. “I’ve been working really hard this year and I think it’s finally starting to pay off,” says Moore. “I’m finally starting to feel comfortable out there and I’m excited for an even better year next year.”
Upperman grabbed the SSiDecals.com Holeshot Award in the second moto, leading the race for the first few laps until Natalie made his move to the lead. Brown got a top five start and diced with Upperman and Hetrick before finally passing Upperman to take over the second place spot. As soon as Brown got around Upperman, he set his sights on the leader Natalie, who was doing everything in his power to hold Brown off for the lead.
“I tried to cruise and save my energy for the end of the race but I think I slowed down a little too much and let Thomas catch up,” says Natalie. “He kind of got beside me going through the whoops a little bit and I held him off and then I pulled a little bit of a gap the last lap.”
Natalie took the overall win with a (2-1) finish, while Brown went (1-2) for the second overall. Upperman cruised on to take the third overall with a consistent (3-3) on the day.
“I want to go to Loretta’s, do well in both motos and get the overall. I wish John and Jeremy the best of luck, there’s still a lot a that could happen in two motos,” says Upperman.
After qualifying first in practice, only to go down hard in moto one, Jeremy Lawson now sits a whopping fifty-three points back from the leader. Brown and Chad Wienen wrap up the top five in points, while Chase Snapp is looking to break into the top five after Loretta’s. Can-Am now leads the Manufacturer’s Cup by forty-nine points over Honda and Suzuki.
The AMA ATV Motocross Championship Series heads to Loretta Lynn Ranch in Hurricane Mills, Tenn., August 13 and 14.
|DWT RedBud MX Results||ATV Motocross Pro Class Standings|
|1.||John Natalie||Can-Am||2 – 1||1.||John Natalie||Can-Am||392 (3 wins)|
|2.||Thomas Brown||Yamaha||1 – 2||2.||Josh Upperman||Honda||382 (1 wins)|
|3.||Josh Upperman||Honda||3 – 3||3.||Jeremy Lawson||Suzuki||339|
|4.||Travis Moore||Honda||5 – 7||4.||Thomas Brown||Yamaha||308|
|5.||Chase Snapp||Can-Am||4 – 9||5.||Chad Wienen||Can-Am||297 (4 wins)|
|6.||Joe Byrd||Honda||6 – 8||6.||Chase Snapp||Can-Am||288|
|7.||Devin Heimes||Suzuki||8 – 10||7.||Joel Hetrick||Honda||269 (1 win)|
|8.||Joel Hetrick||Honda||16 – 4||8.||Nick DeNoble||Honda||255|
|9.||Jeremy Lawson||Suzuki||14 – 6||9.||Travs Moore||Honda||240|
|10.||Adam Clark||Honda||9 – 11||10.||Joe Byrd||Honda||239 (1 win)|