EVENT: 2022 DAYTONA ATVSX

Hetrick handled the mud By the staff of Dirt Wheels Photos by Stephen Tripp

Being this tiny bit behind on the start forced Daytona winner Joel Hetrick (88) to eat mud roost for 16 laps! Brandon Hoag (26) holeshot and led solidly until a water-pump failure took him out with two laps to go in the main.

Former national ATVMX champion Joel Hetrick has experienced luck turning against him at the Daytona ATVSX. In 2021 Hetrick had his new Yamaha YFZ450R ride swatted out of the air when a rider he was passing crossed lines. Instead of standing on one of the three podium steps, he was in an ambulance on the way to get checked out. While general luck—mostly weather—wasn’t too nice to any of the ATVMX pros at Daytona, Hetrick’s personal luck held strong. Daytona has become the traditional opener for the ATVMX series, and Hetrick had to battle to leave with top points.

Yamaha up-and-comer Max Lindquist rode strong for the entire main. He had only ridden 10 times since breaking a collarbone in 2021. Keeping the pressure on earned him second place.

The Daytona track is typically toned down for the amateur day that the ATVSX is part of. For a Supercross motorcycle track, Daytona is quite friendly to quads, and the track was fully prepped the night before the race. A frog-strangling rainstorm hit the night before the race. Depending on your viewpoint, the water either did some serious harm to the track or repaired Lake Daytona.

Jeffrey Rastrelli put together his own Rastrelli Racing Yamaha program for 2022, and it paid off with the final podium spot. Nobody looked happier on the podium than he did.
Yamaha’s reigning and eight-time national champion Chad Wienen needed this start in the main. He was mired in the pack on a one-line track and forced to claw his way to fifth place.

The crew scrambled to repair the track and drain standing water. The repairs looked great until further downpours during the qualifiers all but guaranteed that the track would have limited lines. During the races, some turns and straight sections had four ruts—two deep square ones for the tires and shallower ones where the sprockets and disc rotor were furrowing the surface.

During the heats it rained hard enough to look like it was snowing. Fans could barely see the riders from the stands! Zack Decker finished sixth in the main.
At 7 a.m. the track looked like Lake Daytona. The crew had delays but got the track shaped up nicely. Then, it dumped again during the heats, and the racers never got to have good passes again.
At times in the main event Hetrick would get close enough to push young Musick Racing rider Brandon Hoag for the lead. Hoag handled the pressure, but the water pump didn’t.

As it turned out, the racing was stunning with very close racing, but riders were trapped in follow-the-leader ruts for extended times. Reigning champ Wienen took an off-track excursion on lap one, and he had to battle like a madman to scratch and dig his way up to fifth place. That left Hetrick to battle with young riders all day.

Young Bryce Ford ran strong on his Ford Racing Yamaha all day. He looked like a sure podium bet for the whole main, but a tiny slip bumped him from second to fourth on the final lap.

Musick Racing’s Brandon Hoag holeshot the main and gave every indication of staying in front. Hetrick maintained pressure but wasn’t going to attempt a risky pass. He wanted points! Hoag was joined in the lead pack by recent pros Bryce Ford, with Max Lindquist and veteran Jeffrey Rastrelli just behind.

Things seemed to break loose at the front in the late laps. Wienen had been mired at the rear of the top 10, but he soldiered on. Hoag tragically lost a water pump on lap 14 and pushed his bike off the track on lap 16 of 18. The final adjustment was a small but costly miscue that dropped Ford from second to fourth on the final lap.

After Hoag’s unfortunate mechanical, Hetrick was mud-blasted but happy and safe in the lead. Lindquist slotted into second and Rastrelli was third. Ford recovered for fourth, and Wienen’s massive effort pulled him to fifth.

Custom wake boards for trophies might have been a little prophetic for this race. There was enough standing water near the track to use them! Yamaha swept the top 11 places!
This is an emotional Brandon Hoag looking back at what could have been. He grabbed the holeshot and rode like a master for 16 of the 18 laps. The mechanical failure was a hard one.

RESULTS:

1. Joel Hetrick (YAM)

2. Max Lindquist (YAM)

3. Jeffrey Rastrelli (YAM)

4. Bryce Ford (YAM)

5. Chad Wienen (YAM)

6. Zack Decker (YAM)

7. Nick Gennusa (YAM)

8. Michael Allred (YAM)

9. Logan Stanfield (YAM)

10. Patrick Turrini (YAM)

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