The season couldn’t have ended more dramatically. All year long, the QuadCross series was a two-mad battle between French Motoworks rider Jeremie Warnia and GYTR Yamaha’s Dustin Nelson. Warnia would win a race, then Nelson would win a race. It was certain that the championship in the 450 Pro class would come down to this weekend’s final round at Glen Helen. Going in to the race, there was considerable tension because Chad Wienen was just hired as a teammate to Warnia. Wienen was fresh off the National circuit and is considered by many to be the best new talent in ATV racing. The specter of team tactics might raise its head.
If there were any team orders, they all backfired in the first moto. Dustin Nelson rode the race of his life. He got out front and there seemed to be nothing that the Motoworks riders could do. Second place was a complete wild card. Chase Snapp came out from Oklahoma to mix it up with the west coast boys and rode brilliantly. To the frustration of the Can-Am crew, Snapp held second throughout the race. The pivotal moment of the first moto came when Warnia tried to make a pass for second and ended up taking an off-track excursion. He dropped back to a distant fourth, putting Wienen in a difficult place, politically. He unofficially was there to support Warnia, but he ended up finishing in third, between Nelson and Warnia.
As they lined up for the second moto, politics still could play a big part. Since Warnia had a three-point lead in the series, he didn’t have to beat Nelson out right. He could finish right behind Nelson in the overall standings and still win the series--as long as Nelson didn’t get first and the one-point bonus that comes with the victory. As the race unfolded, that looked to be the case. Snapp got the holeshot, but made a mistake on the first lap. Then it was Wienen out front and Warnia in second. Nelson was third, but that wasn’t good enough. If they finished in that order, Wienen would get the overall with Nelson second and Warnia third, making Warnia the champion by a single point. All three riders were highly motivated. Wienen now needed to help his teammate by winning the race himself. Nelson did everything he could, but as he came into the last lap, nothing had worked. “I though I had blown it. I made a mistake earlier in the moto and it cost me some time, and I couldn’t close back in. But then Warnia just stopped. I couldn’t believe it! I thought he stalled it, but then he didn’t restart.”
It was a last-lap intrusion of luck--good luck for Nelson, bad for Warnia. Nelson rode by the stationary Warnia in disbelief, putting himself in second for the moto, first for the overall and first for the series. Warnia struggled to restart it bike, but it was clearly a blown motor. He was done. The salvation for the Motoworks team was Warnia’s championship in the Open Pro class, which he dominated all year.
For complete results, go to www.glenhelen.com