|John Natalie and Josh Upperman Complete AMA Pro ATV Overall Podium |
BLOUNTVILLE, Tenn. (April 6, 2014) - The second round of the 2014 Mtn. Dew ATV Motocross National Championship, sanctioned by AMA (ATVMX), season took place at a revamped Muddy Creek Raceway in Blountville, Tenn., on Saturday. Keeping with the highly competitive foundation set at the opening round a couple weeks ago, the on-track competition was fierce and after a captivating pair of motos, Wienen Motorsports/SSi Decals/Walsh Yamaha's Chad Wienen once again emerged victorious in the AMA Pro ATV division, posting back-to-back victories to start his title defense.
A great crowd was on hand to cheer on the world's best ATV riders, greeted with sunny skies and balmy temperatures after a day full of rain on Friday.
The second round of the 2014 ATV Motocross National Championship once again produced compelling competition in front of a stellar crowd.
Photo: Ken Hill
Just like at the opening round, Wienen's path to victory wasn't easy as his fellow contenders stepped up in their efforts to unseat the champion. Muddy Creek Raceway presented some changes to its popular layout, which was well received by the riders but ultimately played a major role in the outcome of each moto. From new jumps to off-camber corners, track position was at a premium and starting up front paid big dividends. Just like the opening round, Wienen began the afternoon at Muddy Creek by grabbing the ATVRiders.com Top Qualifier Award, giving him prime gate selection.
Motosport.com/RRR/Ford/DWT/Walsh/Fox Honda's John Natalie started the afternoon by grabbing his third SSi Decals Holeshot to start to opening moto, with Wienen giving chase. The duo opened a small gap in the opening laps over Two Seven Motorsports/DASA/Maxxis/Fireball Racing Honda's Brad Riley. As the field began to sort out, Natalie and Wienen pulled away while Riley continued to amass one of his best pro moto perfomances. Eventually, BCS Performance Can-Am's Josh Creamer moved passed Riley into third but was caught up in a crash with Wienen Motorsports/SSi Decals/Walsh Yamaha's Thomas Brown just a short time later.
While both riders returned to action, their misfortune allowed JB Racing/DWT/Mtn. Dew Live Wire Can-Am's Joel Hetrick to take over the final spot on the podium. Out front Wienen pressured Natalie throughout the moto, showing a wheel on occasion, but Natalie held him off for his second moto win of the season. Hetrick finished third, with Baldwin Motorsports/PEP/Upperman Racing Honda's Josh Upperman in fourth and JB Racing/Cheerwine Can-Am's Jeffrey Rastrelli rounding out the top five.
Chad Wienen's 2014 title defense has began with back-to-back overall wins in the first two rounds, but he's be challenged throughout.
Photo: Ken Hill
As the gate dropped on the second moto, Upperman became the first rider other than Natalie to capture the SSi Decal Holeshot. Upperman kept his Honda out front for several laps before Wienen, who started second, made his move on the lead and took over the top spot. Natalie asserted himself into third place while a battle ensured behind him between Hetrick, Brown, and Rastrelli. Hetrick and Brown went wheel-to-wheel for several laps before contact forced Hetrick off the track. Brown assumed fourth and Rastrelli fifth. Hetrick returned to action in 10th, but started to fight his way back through the field. Wienen went on to post a dominant moto win and secure the overall victory, while Upperman maintained control of second with Natalie in third. Brown finished fourth, with Rastrelli edging out a hard-charging Creamer for fifth.
John Natalie's strong start to the season continued at Muddy Creek with a second straight runner-up effort.
Photo: Ken Hill
Wienen's 2-1 results duplicated his efforts from the opening round for the overall win. Natalie grabbed the runner-up spot overall for the second straight round (1-3), while Upperman secured his first overall podium result of the season in third (4-2). Hetrick finished fourth overall (3-7), while Rastrelli finished fifth (5-5).
"I had to play it smart today, it's a long season," said Wienen. "We are only the second round in and if you force the issue, you can end up on the ground. In that second start, we were all rubbing up to the first corner trying to get position. I started to the inside of John [Natalie] and that seemed to be the difference maker. Everyone is working really hard and I'm trying to play it cool. Going home with the red plate helps me work harder as we head into this break."
Creamer narrowly missed the overall podium on his Can-Am after finishing fourth in the final moto. His moto scores of 3-4 landed him fourth overall, while Wienen's teammate Thomas Brown rounded out the top five overall with 5-5 moto finishes.
Wienen (center) retains the red number plate and was joined on the overall podium by Natalie (left) and Josh Upperman (right).
Photo: Ken Hill
Wienen extended his lead in the AMA Pro ATV standings to six points over Natalie. Hetrick sits third, 18 points out of the lead, while Upperman occupies fourth, 25 points out. Rastrelli rounds out the top five, 33 points behind.
The Mtn. Dew ATV Motocross National Championship will take a break of about six weeks before returning to action for the third round of the 2014 season on May 17-18. Legendary High Point Raceway in Mt. Morris, Pa., will be the site of the Maxxis ATV Stampede.
AMA Pro ATV Overall Results (Moto Finishes)
1. Chad Wienen, Galena, Ill., Yamaha, 2-1
2. John Natalie, Warriors Mark, Pa., Honda, 1-3
3. Josh Upperman, Louisville, Ohio, Honda, 4-2
4. Joel Hetrick, Seneca, Pa., Can-Am, 3-7
5. Jeffrey Rastrelli, Palm City, Fla., Can-Am, 5-5
6. Thomas Brown, Sanger, Texas, Yamaha, 11-4
7. Brad Riley, High Point, N.C., Honda, 6-10
8. Brett Musick, Verdunville, W. Va., Honda, 9-8
9. Adam Clark, New London, Ohio, Yamaha, 10-9
10. Josh Creamer, North Stonington, Conn., Can-Am, 15-6
AMA Pro ATV Championship Standings
1. Chad Wienen, Galena, Ill., Yamaha, 94
2. John Natalie, Warriors Mark, Pa., Honda, 88
3. Joel Hetrick, Seneca, Pa., Can-Am, 76
4. Josh Upperman, Louisville, Ohio, Honda, 69
5. Jeffrey Rastrelli, Palm City, Fla., Can-Am, 61
6. Thomas Brown, Sanger, Texas, Yamaha, 60
7. Josh Creamer, North Stonington, Conn., Can-Am, 59
8. Ronnie Higgerson, Cutler, Ill., Can-Am, 43
9. Casey Martin, Frenchburg, Ky., Honda, 43
10. Brett Musick, Verdunville, W. Va., Honda, 39
ATVRiders.com Top Qualifier Award - Chad Wienen
SSi Decals Holeshot Championship
1. John Natalie - 5 points
2. Josh Upperman - 2 points
Catch all nine rounds of AMA Pro ATV Class racing action, plus a special pre-season preview show, on MAVTV. For more information on the series, visit www.atvmotocross.com and join the conversation on the series Facebook page or follow on Twitter @ATVMXdotcom and #ATVMX.
About the AMA ATV Motocross Championship
The AMA ATV Motocross Championship is the nation's premier amateur and professional ATV motocross series, hosted at top motocross facilities nationwide. The 9-round series features the Nation's best racers, teams and sponsors, and is America's largest and longest-running ATV national motocross program. Since 1985, the series continues to expand and produce top talent from the amateur ranks, while premiering the professional class. For more information, please visit www.atvmotocross.com.
About Mountain Dew
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