Half way through the 2013 Mtn. Dew ATV Motocross Championship, sanctioned by AMA, and defending champion Chad Wienen (Wienen Motorsports SSi Walsh Yamaha presented by Maxxis Tires & Team Vollmer) looks poised for a repeat. Wienen earned his third straight overall victory and fourth out of a possible five as the series turned to Sunset Ridge MX for round 5.

“I always look forward to the Sunset Ridge MX race, I have a ton of family and friends that come down to support me and it makes the weekend that much better,” says Wienen.

Chad Wienen Jump Sunset Ridge MXChad Wienen raced to his third straight overall victory and holds a commanding lead halfway through the ATV motocross season.

Baldwin Motorsports PEP Upperman Racing rider Josh Upperman snagged the SSi Decals Moto 1 Holeshot Award. Upperman lead the field out of the first turn but it wasn’t long before the 2011 Champion John Natalie made the pass into the leading position. Natalie’s MotoSport.com Motoworks DWT machine came out of the first turn in second and was on a mission to grab the front spot. 

Josh Upperman HoleshotJosh Upperman grabbed the holeshot in Moto 1.

Wienen got off the gate inside the top five and quickly made work of the field, moving himself into the second place position within a few laps. Wienen then set his sights on Natalie who was out front early on, gaining time on the Ironman with each lap that passed. Around the halfway point, Wienen took over the lead from Natalie where he went on to take the checkered flag.Natalie followed behind in second.

John Natalie Sunset Ridge MXJohn Natalie finished 2-2, which was good enough for second overall at Sunset Ridge MX.

“Coming off my injury last round I was really happy to find myself out front and able to not only stay in the front of the field but keep myself healthy,” says Natalie. “I lost some valuable championship points in Indiana and know I now have to keep my head down and keep to the front of the field.”

Wienen Motorsports SSi Walsh Yamaha presented by Maxxis Tires & Team Vollmer’s Thomas Brown had a rough start off the gate and came through the first turn just inside the top 10. Brown had to make quick work up through the field to find the top five and then proceeded with a three-way heated battle for the third place spot.

Joe Byrd Sunset Ridge MXJoe Byrd continues to race near the front of the pack week in and week out.

Veteran Joe Byrd was maintaining his third place start on top his Joe Byrd Quad Riding School Dasa machine and Upperman was sitting in fourth. After a few intense laps, Brown made a pass on Upperman but Upperman didn’t lose any time and continued to pressure the battle. Upperman attempted to make a pass back on Brown but instead went end-over-end to the ground. Upperman recovered quickly from the fall, maintaining a top 10 position.

Meanwhile, Brown and Byrd had an intense battle for the third place position. Brown and Byrd are not strangers to each other this season after their battling at Round 4, but Brown was able to make a clean pass on Byrd with a few laps to go, crossing the line in third place, with Byrd following in fourth. “I had a bad start to the moto and really had to work hard to work my way up through the field,” says Brown. “I’ve been working really hard trying to get into that top spot, I know what I need to work on and am hoping to get up there soon.”

BCS Can-Am rider Josh Creamer also came out of the first turn just outside the top five and moved quickly into the sixth place spot by the end of the third lap. Creamer then went on to have an intense battle with Walsh Race Craft’s Nick Denoble. Denoble came out of the first turn in the top five and sat in the sixth position until Creamer made a pass on him about halfway through the moto.

Josh Creamer Sunset Ridge MXJosh Creamer took the checkers in Moto 2.

The rain rolled in right before the pros went to the line for Moto 2 but that didn’t hinder the racing. As the gate dropped it was Natalie who came out of the first turn in the front of the field but before the end of the second lap Creamer passed for the lead after Natalie stalled his machine. Even in the muddy conditions Creamer was able to defend the position and not only take the moto win but also third place overall.

“My machine was set up really well for the conditions of moto 2 and my ITP tires really hooked up off the start and I was able to come out with the holeshot,” says Creamer. “From there on I had to ride really smart to keep the position with the pressure I had behind me but I’m really happy to be back up on the podium.” Wienen didn’t get off to the best start, but the current points leader quickly worked his way up into the third place position by the end of the first lap. Attempting to make a pass for second, Wienen spun out on the wet track and moved back into third with two laps to go. Wienen’s third place finish in Moto 2 was enough to secure the overall win and allow him to maintain the points lead after five rounds of racing.

Thomas Brown Sunset Ridge MXAfter finishing third four straight times to start the season, Thomas Brown finished fourth at Sunset Ridge MX.

Brown got off to another rough start in Moto 2, sitting just inside the top 10. The Texas native put his head down and made his way up to sixth by the end of lap one and sat in third by the end of lap two. Natalie only lost three positions when he stalled his machine on lap two and sat in the fourth place position until he made a pass on Brown for third with five laps to go. After Wienen spun out, Natalie reclaimed second place where he ultimately finished in Moto 2.

Byrd grabbed his second top five start of the day and was passed by Upperman for his position by the end of the fifth lap. Upperman had a rough start to Moto 2 but was able to work his way up and crossed the checkers in fifth taking sixth overall for the weekend. Byrd crossed the Moto 2 finish line in sixth and took fifth overall in Illinois. Root River Racing’s rookie Sean Taylor had his best start to a moto for his pro career coming out of the first turn in second. Taylor took an 11th place finish in Moto 2 and went 12th overall for the weekend. Corrosion Hetrick Racing’s Joel Hetrick was able to make up 18 points throughout the weekend even coming off of surgery less than five days ago.

Sunset Ridge MX 2013 ATV Motocross Pro Class Standings
Pos. Rider ATV Motos Pos. Rider ATV Points
1. Chad Wienen Yamaha 1 – 3 1. Chad Wienen Yamaha 221 (4 wins)
2. John Natalie Honda 2 – 2 2. Tomas Brown Yamaha 188
3. Josh Creamer Can-Am 5 – 1 3. Josh Creamer Can-Am 185
4. Thomas Brown Yamaha 3 – 4 4. Joel Hetrick Honda 168 (1 win)
5. Joe Byrd Honda 4 – 6 5. John Natalie Honda 167
6. Josh Upperman Honda 7 – 5 6. Josh Upperman Honda 156
7. Nick DeNoble Suzuki 6 – 8 7. Joe Byrd Honda 132
8. Jeff Rastrelli Can-Am 8 – 7 8. Nick DeNoble Suzuki 118
9. Casey-Martin Honda 10 – 9 9. Jeff Rastrelli Can-Am 115
10. Joel Hetrick Honda 14 – 10 10. Casey Martin Honda 89



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