Morgantown, W. Va. (May 18, 2011) – The 2011 AMA ATV Motocross National Championship Series presented by DWT (ATVMX) has been nothing short of unpredictable as we’ve witnessed an array of firsts, bests and even luckless situations in the Premier class.

Current points leader Chad Wienen has experienced his most dominant season ever this year in the ATVMX series. With a total of three wins under his belt, Wienen holds the most overalls this season, edging out his Motoworks Can-Am teammate John Natalie by only one win and a mere four-point margin in the championship standings. Natalie lost his former points lead at Sunset Ridge MX after his bike broke down two turns away from the finish line in moto two – quickly moving the second place rider back to fourteenth. Natalie salvaged a sixth place overall to keep him within a handful of points from his teammate.

Pennsylvania’s Joel Hetrick could be a force to wreak havoc on the Motoworks Can-Am duo this year after a grabbing his first-ever AMA Pro podium at round five. The Rookie has a lot to learn before contesting a championship in the Premier class, but don’t exclude him from mixing it up with the veterans out front – especially in his home state this weekend at Steel City.

With a consistent string of top four finishes, Baldwin Motorsports Honda’s Josh Upperman comfortably maintains the third place points position. The Ohio rider has used his calm and collected attitude to maintain a pace just a few beats off the leaders, putting him in the running for a top three finish at the end of the season. Walsh Race Craft Fox Shox rider Jeremy Lawson struggled to break the top five at Sunset Ridge in an unusual off-weekend for the naturally consistent Suzuki rider. This weekend’s hard-packed Steel City track may be what Lawson needs to get back into his pre-Sunset Ridge groove.

What’s exciting about this year’s deep field of Pro class talent is the heightened level of competition taking place for every position on the track. Ballance Racing’s Thomas Brown and Can-Am’s Rookie Chase Snapp have begun an on-going battle this season that only gets better each weekend. If these riders can secure a holeshot, there’s a good chance they could push each other to the front of the pack.

As the round-six event sponsor, Can-Am will hold its popular demo ride program this weekend at the Can-Am Steel City ATVMX. They will have new machines on display all weekend and available for fans to test ride on a special course being built near the main racetrack. Visit the Can-Am display for more information or to test a vehicle.

Amateur classes will practice on Friday and race on both Saturday and Sunday. Pros will run two timed practice sessions on Saturday morning and race in the afternoon as part of a full schedule of amateur racing, including classes for Youth, Women and Veteran riders.

Tickets on Saturday are $20 for spectators ($10 for ages 6-11), and admission includes full pro-pit access and an autograph session.

To get to the track, take Route 66 North to Story Road and take a right. Follow the signs .5 miles to the track.

For more information, please visit www.atvmotocross.com

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)