Wienen and Hetrick battle nonstop By the staff of Dirt Wheels, Photos by Stephen Tripp, PH3 Photos and Josh Cline
There are eight rounds down and two to go in the ATVMX series, and the constant for the season, as for the last four or five seasons, is Chad Wienen and Joel Hetrick in an all-out battle. Current champ Wienen established his Wienen Motorsports team working with Yamaha race quads, and he won five national MX championships in a row. Before linking with Yamaha, he raced a Honda and was on race teams for Suzuki, Kawasaki and Can-Am.
For the last few years he and Hetrick have swapped the championship each year. But, it looks like Wienen may go two in a row. With eight rounds in, each rider has four wins in the bag, and each has held the point lead twice. The difference is that Wienen, a 16-year veteran of the ATV National Championship, has not finished worse than second overall at a single race this year.
The ATVMX season opener is actually an ATVSX run at Daytona on a tamed version of the famed National Supercross. Wienen won the main event, while Hetrick—on a Yamaha for 2021—found himself charging from the rear. While making a pass, another rider jumped at an angle, tumbling Hetrick from high in the air onto the ground. With lots of points to make up, Hetrick won rounds two through four to slip into the points lead by a single point.
Illinois is Wienen’s home state, and the fifth race was there. Motivated to be in his home state, Wienen took the win and recovered the point lead. Hetrick pulled the same trick at the next race! The race was in Pennsylvania, Hetrick’s home state! Like Wienen at the previous race, Hetrick won both motos in his home state of Pennsylvania. Again, he regained the point lead by a single point!
Unadilla, a famous outdoor motorcycle motocross track, had a rainy first moto. A small tip-over cost Hetrick big in the first moto. He had trouble righting his machine in the slippery mud, and he was not able to climb any higher than 10th. He was second in the better conditions during the second moto, but Wienen left with 299 points to Hetrick’s 283.
HEADING FOR THE FINISH
After Unadilla came Red Bud in Buchanan, Michigan. Wienen won again at Red Bud, with Hetrick second in both motos. Still, Hetrick’s second let Wienen stretch his point lead to 22. With two races remaining in the season, it is still possible for Hetrick to regain the number-one plate, but Wienen would need to make a mistake or have a mechanical issue, and so far this year he has used his years of experience to avoid all serious mistakes, whether they be on the track or in the pits.
Competition for the final step of the podium has been contested just as hotly, but with more riders involved and less consistency than with Wienen and Hetrick. At Red Bud, rookie pro Max Lindquist grabbed third and made it another Yamaha podium sweep. Lindquist has been very consistent, but if he had matched his typical finishing position, he would have been third in points as well. Instead, Bryce Ford (he and brother Cody are among others who made the switch to Yamaha for 2021) has a small point lead over rejuvenated Jeffrey Rastrelli, Westley Wolfe and Nicholas Gennusa.
Rastrelli and Gennusa have been fighting to regain the top-three form they once enjoyed, and it seems to have worked this year. Both have been on the podium twice, and they are fourth and sixth in the point standings.
Westley Wolfe is somewhat unique in that he contests both the GNCC and ATVMX in the Pro class. For 2021 he joined forces with JH Racing/FTR Graphics/Fly Racing/Walsh Race Craft on a Honda. The change has worked for him, and he has two podium finishes and is currently fifth in the standings.
ATVMX now has a Pro Stock class as well. Hetrick is in the points lead in the stock class ahead of Gennusa, Chad Wienen and Max Lindquist. Those four are all on Yamahas, and it is likely that the whole class is on Yamaha machinery.
Yamaha also has a 100-point lead in the Manufacturer’s Cup ahead of Honda and Suzuki. Those are the only brands currently racing the ATVMX series in the Pro classes.
CURRENT ATVMX POINTS
1. Chad Wienen (YAM) 349
2. Joel Hetrick (YAM) 327
3. Bryce Ford (YAM) 245
4. Jeffrey Rastrelli (YAM) 241
5. Westley Wolfe (HON), 230
6. Nicholas Gennusa (YAM), 227
7. Max Lindquist (YAM) 221
8. Brandon Hoag (HON) 203
9. Logan Stanfield (YAM) 188
10. Cody Ford (YAM) 176