HURRICANE MILLS, Tenn. – It wouldn’t seem right if the 2013 Mtn. Dew ATV Motocross National Championship, sanctioned by AMA, didn’t have some rain fall for the final round of racing at the Loretta Lynn Ranch in Hurricane Mills, Tenn. With the most mud races the series has had in a single season, Mother Nature has played more than her part in the 10-round race series. But as clear skies came through in the afternoon, Saturday’s track shaped up to give spectators some great racing.
Wienen Motorsports SSi Walsh Yamaha presented by Maxxis Tires & Team Vollmer rider Thomas Brown won his first ever Pro class overall at Loretta Lynn’s. Brown made his pro debute in 2009 and has been working towards his life goal since. Brown has been present on the podium at all but two rounds this season and was able to secure second place overall for the 2013 Championship points this weekend.
“Reality hasn’t quite sunk in yet, this is a goal I have been working towards since I started racing and I couldn’t be happier to finally stand on the top spot of the podium at the end of the day. Especially with the incident that happened in moto 1, I told myself I was going to dedicate this season to Caleb Moore and I know he was definitely with me through all of it. I can’t thank everyone who has ever had a part of my racing enough, especially my parents they have been there for me every step of the way and I will never be able to repay them,” said Brown.
BCS Can-Am rider Josh Creamer put down the fastest lap time of the day during morning practice and took the ATVRiders.com Fastest Qualifier Award. Creamer set himself up for the first gate pick in moto 1 and with rain forecasted, the gate picks were crucial in the last round of racing.
“We couldn’t be certain what the day was going to bring us so I knew that getting the fastest qualifier for the first gate pick of the day was going to be important. I felt really good on the track and was really looking forward to some good racing,” said Creamer.
As the rain stopped and the gate dropped for moto 1, it was MotoSport.com Motoworks DWT’s John Natalie who found the front of the field first and grabbed the first SSi Decals Holeshot Award of the day.
Natalie knew that with the wet track conditions that getting out front and finding a comfortable lead were in important and that is just what he did as pulled a five second gap between himself and the rest of the field as he started into the second lap of the moto. Natalie went on to capture the first checkers of the day taking the moto 1 win.
“I was able to get out front and really ride my own race out there. I knew the start was going to be the most important part of the race and really focused on coming out of that first turn at the front. My team has worked hard all season long on getting my machine to where it needed to be to be out front and I couldn’t thank them enough for all the hard work everyone has put into it,” said Natalie.
Recently crowned 2013 champion Chad Wienen came out of the first turn in second and after hitting some mud, lost control of the bike in the first lap and fell back into third. The Wienen Motorsports SSi Walsh Yamaha presented by Maxxis Tires & Team Vollmer rider moved back into second before the end of the first lap and kept the position until the end of moto 1. Brown came out of the first turn inside the top five, eventually moving into second on the opening lap as a result of Wienen’s misfortunte. However, Brown experienced a crash at the end of the first lap, where he lost a few positions. Despite a shake up, Brown kept his momentum to finish third in the first moto.
“The start was key in moto 1 and although I really wanted to come off the track with the win I wasn’t able to make that happen. We had our machines really working well despite the wet track conditions, our Maxxis tires were really hooking up and were able to help me get that second place finish,” said Wienen.
Baldwin Motorsports PEP Upperman Racing’s Josh Upperman came out of the first turn just inside the top ten. Upperman proved he had the endurance to move up through the field and was able to find his way into fourth by the halfway point in the moto. Upperman continued to push and was able to close the gap between him and third to only four seconds when he crossed the finish line in fourth. Creamer, the 2010 National Champion, also got off to a rough start in moto 1. With less than ideal track conditions, the morning’s fastest qualifier came out of the holeshot just inside the top ten and like Upperman, had to work his way through the field. With four laps to go, Creamer was able to move into fifth and secure a top five finish for moto 1.
“I’ve had some rough luck this year and I’ve had to work extra hard to get towards the front of the field and moto 1 was no different. I wasn’t able to get the start I was looking for but I put my head down and knew I had work to do if I wanted to get towards the front. I’m happy I was able to salvage a fourth place finish,” said Upperman.
Corrosion Hetrick Racing’s Joel Hetrick got stuck in the first turn and didn’t check in until eleventh place at the end of the first lap. Hetrick had his work cut out for him but was able to make the most passes in moto 1 and salvaged a sixth place finish for moto 1.
Jeffrey Rastrelli finished just outside the top five for the day, securing a seventh place finish for his JB Racing Cheerwine team. Rastrelli started inside the top five in moto 1 but the Florida native experienced a mechanical issue that ultimately slowed his pace.
Everyone was out for the win as the gate dropped for moto 2 but it was Creamer who had the jump and grabbed the last SSi Decals Holeshot Award of 2013. Creamer didn’t hold the lead for long as Brown railed the outside burm in the second turn and moved into the first place position. Brown continued to gain some distance between him and the rest of the field. And despite pressure from behind, Brown was able to take the checkers and his first overall win of his pro career.
Wienen came out of the holeshot in second and along with Creamer lost a position to Brown when he passed the two of them in the second turn. Wienen went on and was able to make a pass on Creamer before the halfway point in the moto. With Wienen sitting in second, he set his sights on the leader and began to close the gap. Wienen was less than a second behind Brown with one lap to go and the two nearly crossed the checkers at the same time, but Brown had the advantage. With a 2-2 for the day, Wienen took second overall for the day.
Hetrick got a much better start to moto 2 and sat just inside the top five. Hetrick was unable to make any advances through the field until after the halfway point when he passed Creamer for the third place position. Hetrick took his second consecutive third place overall for the season.
Creamer was able to maintain the fourth place position for the remainder of moto 2. With his 4-5 finish for the day Creamer left Round 9 with fourth overall for the day and was able to secure third place overall in the championship points. Upperman sat in the fifth place position at the end of the first lap. Although Upperman was unable to make any advances on the field his fifth place finish in moto 2 secured him a top five overall finish for the day.
Tyler Hamrick secured the Rookie of the Year Award after going 10-10 for the day and finishing tenth overall aboard his Baldwin Motorsports PEP-backed machine. Hamrick was the highest finishing rookie in the championship points chase securing tenth place overall for the season.
The 2013 Mtn. Dew ATV Motocross National Championship, sanctioned by AMA, wraps up Sunday with Pro-Am and Amateur racing throughout the day. For more information, please visit www.atvmotocross.com.
AMA Pro ATV Results
Thomas Brown (YAM)
Chad Wienen (YAM)
Joel Hetrick (HON)
Josh Creamer (CAN)
Josh Upperman (HON)
Jeffrey Rastrelli (CAN)
John Natalie (HON)
Nick Denoble (SUZ)
Casey Martin (HON)
Tyler Hamrick (HON)
AMA ATV Motocross Championship Pro Point Standings
1. Chad Wienen (454) 2. Thomas Brown (391) 3. Josh Creamer (358) 4. Joel Hetrick (332) 5. John Natalie (332) 5. Josh Upperman (323) 7. Nick Denoble (252) 8. Jeffrey Rastrelli (250) 9. Joe Byrd (206) 10. Tyler Hamrick (195)