EVENT: 2020 DAYTONA ATV/SX
Flying high and rocket rookies
By the Dirt Wheels Staff and Ken Hill, Photos by Stephen Tripp/www.stephentripp.com
As part of Daytona International Speedway’s 50th anniversary of Supercross, ATV Supercross (ATV/SX) provided the fans what we hoped was a glimpse at the 2020 season. Round one for the AMA Pro ATV class did indeed kick the season off in a grand fashion with the continued tossing of the national title between six-time champ Chad Wienen and two-time and reigning champ Joel Hetrick. Just when the two looked unstoppable, an insidious virus slammed the pair—and all racing—into neutral. There is no clear answer when it will begin again.
Wienen Motorsports/Yamaha/Maxxis’ Chad Wienen once again rose to the occasion by taking his fourth action-packed win at the speedway! The win did not come easy, as Tbrown84 Training/CST Tires’ Thomas Brown pulled out to an early lead, with Wienen and a hard-charging Phoenix Honda Racing/Maxxis/Elka’s Joel Hetrick giving chase. These top-three riders picked up where they closed out the 2019 season; however, there was a noticeable difference. Both Brown and Wienen appeared to be a touch more polished and ready to take the fight to the previously unstoppable Hetrick. He seemed unable to generate his normal stunning starts, and began his heat race in the dirt after getting punted aside in the first turn. He had to charge hard to get back to the lead pack.
The battle in the main showed the world that Brown had put in the off-season work. After setting an incredible pace, Wienen ground on Brown until he could make the pass for the lead. That left Brown to fend off Hetrick, who was still feeling the sting of that heat-race crash. Hetrick and Brown were one of the hottest battles to watch as the field separated. Hetrick forced a pass as he moved into second, but time was quickly running out as the race neared its end.
Wienen crossed the finish line unchallenged and secured the win far removed from any on-track controversies. Hetrick would claim second, but Brown was missing as Nine6Nine/Barker’s Exhaust/Walsh Race Craft’s Alan Myers swept in to claim the final podium position! Brown and Hetrick had gotten together, pushing Brown out of a podium spot and back to a heart-breaking eighth-place finish.
While the big names of the series were in play, it was two riders coming off their rookie year who had fans on their feet during the two heat races. Corrosion Specialities/Londerville Steel/Maxxis’ Brandon Hoag fired off the gate in his heat race and powered to the holeshot and the heat win. He earned fifth for the day. Not to be outdone, Myers answered any who questioned his ability to build on his rookie season. He, too, claimed a heat win. Myers had his hands full in the main, but was able to capitalize on Brown’s misfortune and take the final podium position.
Rookie Ford Brothers Racing/Fly/Maxxis/Impact Solutions’ Bryce Ford had everyone’s attention in his first pro event at Daytona. Ford rode a smart race, and he rolled to a solid fourth-place finish.
DAYTONA ATV SUPERCROSS RESULTS
1. Chad Wienen (YAM)
2. Joel Hetrick (HON)
3. Alan Myers (YAM)
4. Bryce Ford (HON)
5. Brandon Hoag (HON)
6. Westley Wolfe (HON)
7. Wes Lewis (HON)
8. Thomas Brown (YAM)
9. Noah Mickelson (HON)
10. Logan Stanfield (YAM)