DANVILLE, Va. – The 2013 Mtn. Dew ATV Motocross National Championship, sanctioned by AMA, once again put on a show for ATVMX fans despite undesirable weather conditions at Round 6. After steady rainfall prior to the weekend, the weather finally cleared for Saturday’s Pro race. The Bob “Smitty” Smith Memorial ATV National showcased tight racing all afternoon in Danville, Va., where series points leader and defending champion Chad Wienen claimed his fourth consecutive overall win of the season.
“I wish the weather was something we could control but I’m just really glad we have our mud set up dialed in and we have our machines working really well. You never know what is going to happen in the mud but I’m always thrilled to come out of a weekend that can go any which way on the box and still holding onto the red plate,” said Wienen.
Two-time national champion Joe Byrd snagged the moto 1 SSi Decals Holeshot award aboard his Joe Byrd Quad Riding School Dasa machine in front of a raging field. “I knew the start was going to be crucial and that I had to get a great jump. My machine was set up well and was really hooking up to pull me to top of the hill first,” said Byrd.
Wienen was right behind Byrd coming out of the first turn and it wasn’t long before the Wienen Motorsports SSi Walsh Yamaha presented by Maxxis Tires & Team Vollmer rider came through the field and made a pass into the lead. Even with the conditions, Wienen was able to ride a comfortable pace to secure a seven-second lead over the second place rider in moto 1.
Baldwin Motorsports PEP Upperman Racing’s Josh Upperman got off to a good start, filing in behind Wienen in the third place spot. Upperman rode at a strong pace and started to place pressure on Byrd for second but ended up losing a position to Brown by halfway through the race. Upperman settled into fourth and rode there uncontested until the end of the moto.
Wienen Motorsports SSi Walsh Yamaha presented by Maxxis Tires & Team Vollmer’s Thomas Brown may have had second gate pick of the moto but Brown did not fair well coming out of the holeshot, sitting just inside the top ten. Brown moved into fifth by the halfway point in the race and was able to dig deep to climb into the second place position by the end of the moto. Byrd rode in second until three laps to go, when Brown made the pass. Byrd fell into the third place position and despite pressure, was able to maintain third until he crossed the finish line.
“I really had to work hard for that second place finish and am pumped on the outcome. We couldn’t do it without all of our sponsors helping us out, especially Maxxis Tires. In a race like today’s conditions tires are key and they have us hooked up on the track to help us find the front of the field,” said Brown.
Walsh Race Craft’s Nick Denoble came out of the first turn in the top ten. At lap one, Denoble was in sixth but then after a mistake fell back into ninth. Denoble had a lot of ground to make up but drive allowed him to pick people off and move into fifth by the halfway point. Denoble went on to finish in fifth.
“Really happy with moto 1 results, this is my second best finish so far this season and I’m really hoping to settle into the top five more in the next four rounds. The Walsh crew had my set up dialed for the track conditions enabling me to make the passes to get towards the front of the field,” said Denoble.
MotoSport.com Motoworks DWT’s John Natalie started just inside the top ten but was able to make his way into third by halfway. When Natalie tried to make a pass into second he had an issue forcing him to pull into the mechanics’ area. Natalie came back onto the track but was an entire lap down but finished the moto in thirteenth. Corrosion Hetrick Racing’s Joel Hetrick was having a great race starting off in the top five especially considering the Pennsylvania native had surgery on his broken collar bone only three weeks ago. Hetrick was in fourth but spun out in a corner and came back into the field just outside of the top ten. Hetrick continued on as he tried to make his way back into the front of the field but ended up unable to finish the race after he blew up his motor with one lap to go.
Starts were key to moto 2 and John Natalie shot out of the gate with some fire and grabbed the SSi Decals Holeshot Award. Natalie took advantage of his great start and drove into a pace that set him up for a comfortable lead on the rest of the field. Natalie took the moto 2 win with a ten second lead over second salvaging a fifth place overall finish for the weekend.
“I had a lot of motivation coming into moto 2 after my moto 1 finish. I knew the start was the most important thing and that I had to get it if I wanted to take the win. My team and mechanic really pulled it together between motos and had my machine running great to not only pull the holeshot but the moto 2 win!” said Natalie.
Upperman came out of the first turn in second and had pressure from behind nearly the entire moto. Upperman was able to hold his position and rode flawlessly. The second place finish secured second place overall for the weekend and Upperman’s first podium of the 2013 season. Wienen followed out of the first turn in third and despite trying to make a pass into second was unsuccessful. Wienen went on to finish the moto in third and took his fourth consecutive overall win of the season with a 1-3 finish for the day.
“I’ve been waiting for my first podium all season long and am pumped to be up on the box. Heading into this break it is really going to give me the motivation to drive into the second half of the season looking for the top of the box,” said Upperman.
Brown had a much better start to moto 2 and came out of the first turn in fourth. Brown stayed right behind the second and third place riders but was also unable to find a place to pass before the checkers flew. Brown took his fifth third overall finish of the season extending his second place championship points margin.
BCS Can-Am rider Josh Creamer was the only pro in the top five who was able to gain positions in moto 2. Creamer came out of the holeshot in sixth and after an intense first half battle with veteran Joe Byrd, Creamer was able to make a pass stick and hold on to the fifth place position until the end of the race.
“There weren’t a lot of places to make a pass in moto 2 but I knew I had the speed to get into the top five and really had to work hard to get up there. I was really hoping to find the box this round but I’m going to come out swinging next round and make my way to the top of the box,” said Creamer.
JB Racing Cheerwine’s Jeffrey Rastrelli was the man on the move in moto 2. After coming out of the first few nearly twenty seconds behind the rest of the field, Rastrelli put his head down and found the determination to press forward. Rastrelli worked his way through the field and was able to salvage an eighth place moto 2 finish.
The series will resume with Round 7 of the 2013 Mtn. Dew ATV Motocross, sanctioned by AMA, National Championship at Steel City MX in Belmont, Pa. on July 6. For more information, please visit www.atvmotocross.com.
AMA Pro ATV Results
Chad Wienen (YAM)
Josh Upperman (HON)
Thomas Brown (YAM)
Joe Byrd (HON)
John Natalie (HON)
Josh Creamer (CAN)
Jeffrey Rastrelli (CAN)
Nick Denoble (SUZ)
Brad Riley (HON)
Casey Martin (HON)
AMA ATV Motocross Championship Pro Point Standings
1. Chad Wienen (266) 2. Thomas Brown (228) 3. Josh Creamer (216) 4. John Natalie (200) 5. Josh Upperman (196) 6. Joel Hetrick (187) 7. Joe Byrd (167) 8. Nick Denoble (145) 9. Jeffrey Rastrelli (142) 10. Casey Martin (111)