Walnut, Ill.  – The chase for the championship tightened up this weekend at round five of the AMA ATV Motocross National Championship Series presented by DWT. Only four points separate the current points leader from second place, the closest margin yet this season. At almost halfway through the season, the veteran riders are beginning to mark their territory while several Rookie riders are showing flashes of brilliance.

Although Wienen lined up at his home track, all holeshot advantages were pushed aside as Sunset Ridge debuted a brand new starting structure this weekend, but that’s ok since he grabbed the ATVRiders.com Fastest Qualifier Award earlier in the day. Makson Construction/JB Racing/Maximum RPM/Hetrick Racing’s Joel Hetrick had no problem adjusting to the changes as he shot out of the hydraulic-powered gates to capture the SSi Decals Holeshot Award. It didn’t take long for Wienen to put the move on Hetrick as the duo went side-by-side over the finish line jump on lap two.

Motoworks Can-Am’s John Natalie spent the first half of moto one chasing the Honda of Hetrick, who rode a tenacious race – even pulling away from the veteran rider at times. Natalie finally made his move about halfway through the race, turning his sights to Can-Am teammate Wienen out front.

The intense racing action actually took place in the battle for fifth between Ballance Racing’s Thomas Brown, SSI Decals/Motoworks/JB Racing/Fox Shox’s Chase Snapp and Walsh Race Craft/Fox Shox/Maxxis/FMF’s Jeremy Lawson. Brown got off to a bad start but hammered his way through the pack and put the pressure on Lawson who was all over Snapp for the fifth spot. Snapp, Lawson and Brown were in freight train formation heading into the corner – Brown railed the outside while Snapp tucked inside and Lawson followed. Brown swept around Lawson first and then went to work on Snapp, eventually slipping inside on the downhill corner. Snapp returned the favor the next time around, making contact with Brown and finishing out the race in fifth behind Baldwin Motorsports/JB Racing/PEP’s Upperman. Brown held off Lawson for sixth and the Rookie claimed his first-ever Pro podium behind the Motoworks Can-Am duo of Wienen and Natalie.

“You had to be really patient out there, the track was only turning a couple fast lines and you really had to pick them right,” Wienen said. “I had to be really safe on the lines I picked and I just all of the sudden turned the light switch and hit it,” he added.

Joel Hetrick was on fire aboard his Honda machine, grabbing yet another SSi Decals Holeshot Award in moto two with fellow Honda rider Josh Upperman close behind. The Can-Am duo of Chad Wienen and John Natalie tucked in behind the Honda riders and immediately began picking away. Wienen railed the outside line to steal second from Upperman and it wasn’t long before Natalie followed suit. The fans cheered home state rider Chad Wienen hard as he pushed his way past Hetrick for the lead and never looked back. Hetrick lost steam midway through the moto, falling victim to another Can-Am rider for the second position.

“I got a couple blisters on my hands and had real bad arm pump for a while, I couldn’t even push the gas through the turn but that eventually went away and I just cleared my head and calmed down after that,” Hetrick said.

Natalie heightened his pace near the end of the moto, turning lap times nearly two seconds faster than the leader. With two laps to go, Natalie put himself within striking distance of his teammate until his bike started smoking. Natalie lost his momentum as his bike slowly deteriorated, making it as far as the corner before the finish line before it shut off. Natalie pieced together a sixth place overall despite his moto two breakdown.

“It stinks what happened to John out there but I’ll take it,” Upperman said. “That’s all I’m asking, is to be in the top three,” he added.

After battling to the end in moto one, Chase Snapp and Thomas Brown found themselves paired up once again in moto two – this time Brown controlling the fate. Snapp, Lawson and Joe Byrd were close behind but through the rough track conditions couldn’t make the move around Brown. Upperman took home a comfortable third after Natalie dropped out and Brown finished with fourth to take the fourth overall with Snapp going 5-5 for fifth.

Wienen now holds a four-point lead over Natalie in the Championship standings heading into round six. Josh Upperman, who has been consistent all season, holds the third position over Jeremy Lawson and Rookie Chase Snapp bumps out Joe Byrd for the fifth spot.

The AMA ATV Motocross Championship Series heads to Steel City MX in Delmont, Pa., May 21 and 22, 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. Joel Hetrick (HON)

3. Josh Upperman (HON)

4. Thomas Brown (YAM)

5. Chase Snapp (CAN)

6. John Natalie (CAN)

7. Jeremy Lawson (SUZ)

8. Joe Byrd (HON)

9. Nick DeNoble (HON)

10. Adam Clark (HON)


AMA ATV Motocross Championship Pro Point Standings

1. Chad Wienen (221) 2. John Natalie (217) 3. Josh Upperman (189) 4. Jeremy Lawson (172) 5. Chase Snapp (140) 6. Joe Byrd (137) 7. Nick DeNoble (134) 8. Joel Hetrick (122) 9. Travis Moore (117) 10. Thomas Brown (115)

San Bernardino, Calif.  – IMS Products riders Dustin Nelson and Beau Baron battled through less-than-ideal conditions Sunday to take first and second place in the opening round of the Yamaha Quad-X Series. Glen Helen Raceway experienced a turbulent weekend of spring showers and chilling temperatures, leading to slick inclines and soggy flats on the USGP track.

Nelson and Baron spent much of the day fighting for the lead, but it was Nelson who managed to pull off both moto wins and secure the overall victory. Baron finished second in both races to take second overall.

The track conditions proved to be difficult for riders of all levels, as pros and amateurs alike found themselves stuck or sideways at various points on the track. Nelson adapted quickly, holding his hole-shot lead throughout the entire first moto. Baron took the hole-shot in the second moto, but a few slips throughout the race allowed Nelson to overtake him for the win.

Justin Jones, in his first ever race in the pro class, finished third in the first moto and fourth in the second moto. He ended in fourth overall. Johnny Shafe, with a pair of seventh place races finished sixth overall, while Josh Row finished ninth overall.

All in all Sunday’s Quad-X Round 1 was a success for IMS riders. Despite the tough conditions, Glen Helen got the series off to a great start with some exciting racing.

Bowling Green, Ky. -The Motoworks Can-Am duo of Chad Wienen and John Natalie is no stranger to the podium by now, as they currently sit first and second in the AMA ATV Motocross Championship Series presented by DWT after round three at Ballance MX in Bowling Green, Ky. After finishing second to teammate Chad Wienen in the first two rounds, Natalie finally put the pieces together to prove that “Big Red” can be beat – taking his first moto win and overall of the season.

Wienen took the ATVRiders.com Fastest Qualifier Award to bank an extra $100 for the day. Josh Upperman grabbed the moto one holeshot aboard his Baldwin Motorsports JB Racing PEP Honda and led for the first part of the race. Natalie got a third place holeshot close behind Upperman and Devin Heimes before making his move into the lead around lap five.

“It was a good race,” said the moto one winner. “I got a pretty good start and after I passed into the lead I just held on until the end. Chad was right there the whole race.”

Wienen got off to a rough start in moto one, getting pushed out to around seventh. The points leader quickly made his way to the front of the pack and settled in behind his Motoworks Can-Am teammate until he experienced some bike problems when his rear shock broke. Chad pushed through, though, going on to capture his first second place finish of the season.

The Ballance Racing team experienced continued bad luck at their home track as Thomas Brown and Taylor Kiser both dealt with bike problems in moto one. Kiser, who currently sits in fourth place in the Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series XC2 class, broke his axel on the first lap of the moto, leaving him out of contention in moto one. Thomas Brown grabbed a decent holeshot and pushed right outside the top five until his bike broke down, leaving him with another DNF for the season.

Rookie Chase Snapp put in an impressive ride aboard his Can-Am and after getting off to a back of the pack start, Snapp worked his way up to fifth behind Florida’s Jeremy Lawson. Walsh Race Craft Fox Shox Maxxis FMF’s Lawson maintained a consistent pace in moto one to finish fourth.

Josh Upperman grabbed the moto two holeshot and it wasn’t long before John Natalie put his Motoworks Can-Am back out front.

“The track was a little more technical this week so and it picked out the riders a little more,” said Natalie. “I like the technical stuff a lot better but this weekend I just got good holeshots and went from there. Chad and I battled it out for about five or six laps and I just held on until the end.”

Wienen got a bad holeshot in moto two but quickly began picking off riders. Upperman kept close behind Natalie until about lap six when Wienen made his way into the second spot. It didn’t take long for Lawson to make his move past Upperman to secure a third spot, giving him a season-best finish on the podium. Lawson now sits fourth in the overall point standings behind Upperman.

After struggling with mechanical issues this season, Ballance Racing’s Thomas Brown was finally able to cross the finish line on his Yamaha machine. Brown maintained a consistent pace throughout the moto and finished fifth, giving him a tenth place overall for the day. Brown currently sits in thirteenth overall in the points.

After finishing second this weekend, Chad Wienen still sits at the top of the point standings with round three winner John Natalie just six points behind in second. Only ten points separate the third and fourth spots of Upperman and Lawson and Joe Byrd rounds out the top five eleven points behind Lawson.

The AMA ATV Motocross Championship Series heads to Mechanicsville, MD for the Motoworks Budds Creek event, 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. John Natalie (CAN)

2. Chad Wienen (CAN)

3. Jeremy Lawson (SUZ)

4. Josh Upperman (HON)

5. Chase Snapp (CAN)

6. Nick DeNoble (HON)

7. Joe Byrd (HON)

8. Travis Moore (HON)

9. Harold Goodman (HON)

10. Thomas Brown (YAM)


AMA ATV Motocross Championship Pro Point Standings

1. Chad Wienen (144) 2. John Natalie (138) 3. Josh Upperman (116) 4. Jeremy Lawson (106) 5. Joe Byrd (95) 6. Chase Snapp (79) 7. Nick DeNoble (73) 8. Travis Moore (65) 9. Joel Hetrick (62) 10. Derek Swartfager (58)

Photo: Mike Roth, Event Pix