Walnut Creek, IL -- In the school of AMA Pro ATV champions, there are few possibilities, but this weekend's feeding frenzy in Walnut, IL for round ten of the 2007 ITP/Moose ATVA National Motocross Championship Series could really open the door for two young students. Defending Champion Joe Byrd holds a slim lead over rivals Jeremy Lawson and Pat Brown in the AMA Pro ATV division. With the Yoshimura/Rockstar/Suzuki team sending stars Doug Gust, Chad Weinen and Japan's Seiya Sakuma into the mix this weekend in guest appearances, it could seriously mix up the standings. With three rounds left, both Jeremy Lawson and Patrick Brown are studying hard to improve their odds of a breakthrough race.
Lawson hopes his new Florida residency comes in handy this weekend. He hasn't raced at Sunset Ridge before, but the track could still benefit him. "I heard it's a sand track, so being down here in Florida, I get enough of the sand to ride in," says Lawson. "I'm pretty tuned in on that."
Gust and Weinen mixed it up when they raced the AMA Pro ATV Class earlier in the season, and they are sure to be factors this weekend. But unknown to Lawson is the All Japan ATV Championship Series Champion, 22-year-old Seiya Sakuma.
"Yea, I met that guy in California," Lawson said of Sakuma. "He's going to ride? That's awesome. He might be quick, you never know."
"Hopefully, it'll work to my advantage," Lawson said. "It'll be great to get more guys out there to mix it up. You never know. At the beginning of the year, we were all racing and it was the same deal. Me and Joe, and I was still second. It's been a while since then, and you don't know how their training program is going along, or how fast they may have gotten."
Patrick Brown faces competition with enthusiasm and considers the point's possibility.
"It could help somebody like me who's sitting back in third place and needs a quick way to make up points," Brown said. "I think it's awesome. I like as much competition as possible. I think it's just better for everything; it's better for spectators, better for me because I can push myself harder. Anytime more people are going to show up for a race is just positive in my mind."
"I think we're all very close, and at any given point, any of us can win a race, but I've definitely been doing my homework this week, and been working hard in the heat," Brown said. "I think sand tracks are awesome, and my Yamaha really pulls hard through the sand."
Catch the AMA Pro ATV riders as the series heads to Walnut, IL on July 14-15 for the Concept Haulers ATV Showdown at Sunset Ridge MX. Amateurs will compete throughout the weekend as well. Pro riders will compete in timed qualifying and practice on Saturday, and in two AMA Pro ATV National motos on Sunday.
DIRECTIONS TO TRACK: From Interstate 80, Exit 45 (IL RT 40), North 4 miles to Manlius. Turn right, go through town and proceed approximately one-half mile East to CR1100 E, Left on 1100E, North 4 miles to 24558 1100 E. Street, Walnut, IL 61376. Phone: 815-379-9534