Morgantown, W.Va. – Coming off a strong finish last season, both Motoworks/Can-Am Pro riders were heavy favorites coming into the first round of the AMA ATVMX Championship, presented by DWT. With beautiful, sunny temperatures in the 70’s, conditions could not have been better for the season opener at Aonia Pass MX in Washington, Ga.
Josh Upperman grabbed the moto one holeshot aboard his Baldwin Motorsports Honda, taking over the lead early on. Motoworks/Can-Am riders Natalie and Wienen weren’t letting Upperman out of their sight, though. Pro class Rookie Joel Hetrick got a great holeshot behind the veteran riders. On lap 5, Natalie went over the berm, allowing his teammate Wienen to cruise on by for the second place position. Hetrick also capitalized on Natalie’s mistake, moving himself into the third spot behind Wienen. It didn’t take Wienen long to make his way past Upperman and cruise on for the moto one victory. Natalie finished out in second behind Wienen with early on leader Josh Upperman capping the top three. As rider and owner of Joe Byrd Quad Racing School, Byrd put in a solid ride to capture fourth overall with Walsh Race Crafts Suzuki rider Jeremy Lawson rounding out the top five.
“It was a picture perfect day out there, the bike is working great and I couldn’t ask for more,” said points leader Chad Wienen. “I’ve been working really hard on the off-season and with a great start today, it all came together,” Wienen added.
Harold Goodman captured the moto two holeshot, with moto one winner Chad Wienen breathing down his neck. Wienen made his way around Goodman right away, setting his machine on autopilot for the rest of the race. Motoworks/Can-Am teammate John Natalie got around Goodman as well, and then settled in behind Wienen to take over a comfortable second. Josh Upperman took over the third spot and never looked back as he carried his Baldwin Motorsports Honda to the final podium spot. Tough luck for Factory Yamaha rider Thomas Brown, as he had bike problems in both motos.
The real story here is Rookie Joel Hetrick, who finished an impressive sixth place overall in his first ever-Pro race. After getting a third place holeshot in moto one, Hetrick has proved that he has what it takes to run with the big dogs in the Pro class.
“I started off the first moto in third place and lost three more spots after I tensed up,” the Rookie said. “Second moto I got a bad holeshot, like thirteenth, and I worked my way up just trying to stay calm and race. My goal for next week is to get in the top five,” said Hetrick.
Motoworks/Can-Am rider Chad Wienen heads into round two of the series as the points leader, with teammate John Natalie sitting 6 points behind. Josh Upperman is just 10 points out from the lead, making for a much-anticipated 2011 season.
The AMA ATV Motocross Championship Series heads to Millcreek MX Park in Pell City, Ala., with Pro class racing starting at 1 p.m. Saturday, supported by 37 amateur classes throughout Saturday and Sunday. For more information, please visit www.atvmotocross.com.
AMA Pro ATV Results
1. Chad Wienen (CAN)
2. John Natalie (CAN)
3. Josh Upperman (HON)
4. Josh Lawson (HON)
5. Joe Byrd (KAW)
6. Joel Hetrick (KAW)
7. Nick Denoble (HON)
8. Chase Snapp (CAN)
9. Travis Moore (HON)
10. Harold Goodman (HON)
AMA ATV Motocross Championship Pro Point Standings
1. Chad Wienen (50) 2. John Natalie (44) 3. Josh Upperman (40) 4. Josh Lawson (34) 5. Joe Byrd (34) 6. Joel Hetrick (30) 7. Nick Denoble (28) 8. Chase Snapp (26) 9. Travis Moore (24) 10. Herold Goodman (22)