Chad Wienen Looks to Open Season with Back-to-Back Victories
MORGANTOWN, W. Va. (April 1, 2014) – After a captivating start to the 2014 season that featured a thrilling battle for victory at the opening round, the Mtn. Dew ATV Motocross National Championship, sanctioned by AMA (ATVMX), will host its second round this weekend from Muddy Creek Raceway, in Blountville, Tenn. On Saturday, April 5, defending champion and opening round winner Chad Wienen will look to start his title defense with back-to-back wins in the AMA Pro ATV Class.
Opening round action from Aonia Pass just a couple weeks ago provided a thrilling start to the 2014 season and showed that the battle for the championship is sure to be one of the most dramatic in series history. While Wienen emerged victorious aboard his Wienen Motorsports/SSi Decals/Walsh Yamaha, he had to endure fierce challenges from JB Racing/DWT/Mtn. Dew Live Wire Can-Am’s Joel Hetrick and Motosport.com/RRR/Ford/DWT/Walsh/Fox Honda’s John Natalie. Both Hetrick and Natalie led the majority of the first and second motos, respectively, proving that their offseason preparations were effective and also showing they are ready to end Wienen’s two-year reign. While the battle up front drew most of the attention, the distance covering the top five riders throughout the afternoon was often just mere ATV lengths, meaning the entire field has stepped up its game.
Reigning Champ Chad Wienen wet the bar at Aonia Pass with an opening round victoryPhoto: Ken Hill
Many have looked to Hetrick to potentially emerge as Wienen’s biggest rival as the rising star is simply willing to lay it all on the line at any moment. While he finished second to Wienen in the opening moto of the season, he’s more than ready to do battle. Natalie, who also grabbed both of the SSi Decals Holeshot Awards at Aonia Pass, is a crafty veteran who simply knows how to get the job done and did so by holding off Wienen to take the Moto 2 win.
While Wienen was able to emerge with the overall win, he was flanked by a pair of riders who have answered the call in the early stages of the season to try and prevent the back-to-back champ from claiming a third straight title. In addition to the impressive runs by both Hetrick and Natalie, BCS Performance Can-Am’s Josh Creamer was also in the thick of the hunt. The former series champion was part of the podium battle in each moto and ultimately just missed out on the box by finishing fourth overall. Wienen’s teammate Thomas Brown was consistent as well, finishing fifth overall following a pair of fifth-place finishes to round out the top five.
All the action in Aonia Pass has set the stage for an even better day of action on Saturday at Muddy Creek. One of the most storied tracks on the ATVMX schedule, Muddy Creek provides an ideal combination of high speed, technicality, and fan-favorite airtime. Last year in Blountville, Hetrick put on a show for the fans with one of the most impressive outings of his young career. The Pennsylvania native relied on strong starts, speed, and consistency to simply dominate each moto with a wire-to-wire sweep to the overall victory. Wienen followed in second, with Brown rounding out the podium in third. Creamer was fourth with Natalie in fifth.
Joel Hetrick (front) and John Natalie emerged as early challengers to Wienen’s title defensePhoto: Ken Hill
Thanks to his breakout ride one year ago, Hetrick eagerly awaits the opportunity to chase a second straight victory at Muddy Creek. Thanks to his strong performance in the opening round, a win by Hetrick would make the early title fight exceptionally tight. On the other hand, Wienen knows a convincing performance in Blountville could provide some early separation in the point standings, which could give him a surge of early season momentum to capitalize on.
From top to bottom, this is the closest the field of AMA Pro ATV Class riders will be in the championship which means Muddy Creek serves as an opportunity for everyone to shake up the standings with a strong performance. Every rider will look to make his presence felt on Saturday afternoon, which means the racing will be something no fan will want to miss.
The battle up front was incredibly close all afternoon at Aonia Pass, which bodes well for a highly competitive 2014 seasonPhoto: Ken Hill
Previous Round Results: Aonia Pass MX – Washington, Ga.
March 22, 2014
AMA Pro ATV Overall Results (Moto Finishes)
1. Chad Wienen, Galena, Ill., Yamaha, 1-2
2. John Natalie, Warriors Mark, Pa., Honda, 4-1
3. Joel Hetrick, Seneca, Pa., Can-Am, 2-3
4. Josh Creamer, North Stonington, Conn., Can-Am, 3-4
5. Thomas Brown, Sanger, Texas, Yamaha, 5-5
6. Jeffrey Rastrelli, Palm City, Fla., Can-Am, 7-6
7. Josh Upperman, Louisville, Ohio, Honda, 6-7
8. Joe Byrd, Union City, Tenn., Honda 9-9
9. Ronnie Higgerson, Cutler, Ill., Can-Am, 8-10
10. Casey Martin, Frenchburg, Ky., Honda, 12-8
AMA Pro ATV Championship Standings
1. Chad Wienen, Galena, Ill., Yamaha, 47
2. John Natalie, Warriors Mark, Pa., Honda, 43
3. Joel Hetrick, Seneca, Pa., Can-Am, 42
4. Josh Creamer, North Stonington, Conn., Can-Am, 38
5. Thomas Brown, Sanger, Texas, Yamaha, 32
6. Jeffrey Rastrelli, Palm City, Fla., Can-Am, 29
7. Josh Upperman, Louisville, Ohio, Honda, 29
8. Joe Byrd, Union City, Tenn., Honda 24
9. Ronnie Higgerson, Cutler, Ill., Can-Am, 24
10. Casey Martin, Frenchburg, Ky., Honda, 22
ATVRiders.com Top Qualifier Award – Chad Wienen
SSi Decals Holeshot Championship
1. John Natalie – 4 points
On-track AMA Pro ATV Class action at Muddy Creek Raceway begins at 11 a.m. ET with practice and qualifying. Opening Ceremonies kick off at 2:40 p.m. ET, with opening motos scheduled for 3 p.m. ET. All the action can be followed via Live Timing and Scoring through the official series website.
Catch all nine rounds of AMA Pro ATV Class racing action, plus a special pre-season preview show, on MAVTV. For more information on the series, visit www.atvmotocross.com and join the conversation on the series Facebook page or follow on Twitter @ATVMXdotcom and #ATVMX.
About the AMA ATV Motocross Championship
The AMA ATV Motocross Championship is the nation’s premier amateur and professional ATV motocross series, hosted at top motocross facilities nationwide. The 9-round series features the Nation’s best racers, teams and sponsors, and is America’s largest and longest-running ATV national motocross program. Since 1985, the series continues to expand and produce top talent from the amateur ranks, while premiering the professional class. For more information, please visit www.atvmotocross.com.
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