LORETTA LYNN’S ATVMX NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE REPORT

Chad Wienen Takes Season Finale Overall Win

Story and Photos by Ken Hill

HURRICANE MILLS, Tenn.  – With the AMA Pro ATV battle wrapped up at the previous round, the final round of the 2023 ATV Motocross National Championship Series, an AMA National Championship, (ATVMX) would be for glory and the record books. Loretta Lynn’s Ranch has set the stage as host of the final round and usually has a trick up its sleeve to turn the racing on its top and this year would be no different. Mother Nature came in swinging, testing not only the racers but the track crew as well. As the last rigs rolled out of the ranch the ATV crowds began flocking in as the 42 year of national competition for the bikes proceeded this round and offered its own set of on track challenges during the weeklong event.

Chad Wienen and Joel Hetrick would battle for first in Tennessee.
Chad Wienen and Joel Hetrick would battle for first in Tennessee. PhotoKen Hill

All eyes were on the weather as the first AMA Pro practice took to the track which wrapped up just in time as ominous black skies overtook the region. Phoenix Racing Yamaha’s Joel Hetrick wasted no time in the first qualifying session as he secured the fastest lap times and it appeared that he had things well in hand as the rain drops started to fall. A deluge of rain pounded the area forcing the second qualifier to be cancelled as strong lightening and torrential rain was now showing its hand in the day’sbest laid plans as changes in the conditions were creating havoc for the track crew and unknowns in the pits. Changing tires and gearing, prepping for mud and water and trying to make sure every detail was attended to while avoiding the rain that flipped the script.

The pits were indeed a flurry of activity only to be outshined by the track crew who started working before the final rain drops fell. Major concerns about the conditions started creeping through the various gatherings and at a few points things were looking bleak. With 42 years of experience dealing with the Loretta Lynn’s soil, everyone became a witness to a track being brought back to life. Water was drained, drenched soil removed and the clammer of bulldozers that were manned by the very best in the industry. The conditions were improving minute-by-minute although the clock showed that only one moto would hit the track before the AMA Pro class would be sent out for the first moto.

Wienen would go 2-1 for the overall win at Loretta Lynn's.
Wienen would go 2-1 for the overall win at Loretta Lynn’s. Photo – Ken Hill

The track looked brutal and would prove to be one of the most challenging of the season as the gate became readied. The start was seconds away as these conditions have proven in the past that this could be anyone’s race they just needed a good start. The river bottom filled with the sound of power as a wall of roost flew high as everyone watched to see who was going to grab the SSi Decals holeshot. Like so many times before, it was Hetrick powering to the front and leading the class into the unknown! Hetrick has a history with mud races, however he had given much thought to things and appeared to be riding cautious enough so as to not get himself in trouble and set the pace that kept his position out front safe. The racers were taking a beating on the track as the shortened track and abbreviated race wore on. Finally, the checkered flag came out as Hetrick put the moto in his win column and could sigh a breath of relief as one demon was laid to rest.

Wienen Motorsports/Maxxis/SSi Decals/Fly Racing/Yamaha’s Chad Wienen was looking for a solid weekend as he worked all season at recovering from an injury and although remaining incredibly consistent, faced one of his most challenging seasons of his career. He would roll through behind the winner for a solid second and just ahead of a very hard charging Musick Racing/Déjà vu/Kenda Tire’s Brandon Hoag who claimed the third spot.

The mud was washed away, and more wrenching was underway as moto two was on deck. Mother Nature had released her watery grip and the sun was doing its job in helping things along. For the first time in many years, we were not watching the final moto to see who would leave Loretta’s with the Championship but instead, who wanted the season on a solid set of finishes. The bottomland was once again echoing the screams of a pro start as Wienen rocketed to the front claiming the second SSi Decals holeshot! Behind him was his competitor Hetrick who shadowed him looking for any weak spots as the first few laps were completed. The conditions were going to make passing insanely difficult as the pair continued their war with neither looking to have advantage over the other.

Hetrick, who captured the National Championship at round 9, would finish second at the season finale.
Hetrick, who captured the National Championship at round 9, would finish second at the season finale. Photo – Ken Hill

Hetrick’s explosive speed was of no use as getting out of the main line was risky. With two laps to go, it appeared the pace was wearing down on Wienen as Hetrick closed the gap at will, he just had nowhere to go to carry the speed and create a pass. The cost of the brutality was starting to also show on Hetrick as steam started chasing him as he began to overheat! Out of room, out of time and left no other option, Hetrick would watch Wienen secure his first overall win of the season as he trailed in second. Happy and content with his performance, Wienen finally had the set of motos he had been searching for all season and would roll out of the event and the year with a win. Hetrick had a solid day, and the mud didn’t force any errors however his domination was tarnished just a bit as he heads into the off season with a record that he can be very proud of.

Joining the champions on the podium after going 5-3 was GennUSA Racing/SSi Decals/CST Tires/Corrosion Specialties’ Nick Gennusa found the podium claiming the final spot after a great second moto and a smart first moto. Gennusa was ecstatic with another podium visit and reassured everyone he has already begun planning for next season.

Hoag would once again show he has what it takes to run upfront however his shining moments are coming late in the season. With a 3-6 weekend, Hoag remained inside the top five with a solid fourth.

Nick Gennusa would finish his year with a third overall finishing position.
Nick Gennusa would finish his year with a third overall finishing position. Photo – Ken Hill

Going 8-4 was Ford Brothers Racing/FXR/SSi Decals/CST Tire’s Bryce Ford who would like to have a do over in moto one. Ford has everything he needs to excel and gains experience with every lap which paid off heavily for him this year. B. Ford joins Team USA now to compete overseas and begin training for the 2024 race season where he should be a powerhouse.

The “off” season is very long and so many things can happen as these warrior’s roam about looking for their next fight. We may not know what tomorrow brings however we do know that the fight is not over! It seems like forever until the opening round as most agree this season seemed to flash by as we close out the season. Challenges met, expectations reached and for a few, the helmets will be hung up as careers are decided. While we can’t see into the future or what it holds, the anticipation to see what and whom makes the future theirs!

For more information on the ATV Motocross National Championship, visit the series official website at www.atvmotocross.com or call (304) 284-0101. Join the conversation on the series social media channels, along with receiving the most up-to-date news and exclusive content.

Chad Wienen (center), Joel Hetrick (left) and Nick Gennusa (right) rounded out the top three Loretta Lynn's ATVMX National finishers.
Chad Wienen (center), Joel Hetrick (left) and Nick Gennusa (right) rounded out the top three Loretta Lynn’s ATVMX National finishers. Photo – Ken Hill

Loretta Lynn’s Results and Points Standings

Hurricane Mills, Tennessee
Round 10 of 10
Saturday, August 12, 2023

AMA Pro Class Event Results:

  1. Chad Wienen (2-1) YAMAHA
  2. Joel Hetrick (1-2) YAMAHA
  3. Nicholas Gennusa (5-3) YAMAHA
  4. Brandon Hoag (3-6) YAMAHA
  5. Bryce Ford (8-4) YAMAHA
  6. Westley Wolfe (6-5) YAMAHA
  7. Jeffrey Rastrelli (4-9) YAMAHA
  8. Max Lindquist (7-8) YAMAHA
  9. Kevin Saar (11-7) YAMAHA
  10. Logan Stanfield (9-11) YAMAHA

Overall National Championship Standings:

  1. Joel Hetrick (442) YAMAHA
  2. Bryce Ford (371) YAMAHA
  3. Chad Wienen (368) YAMAHA
  4. Jeffrey Rastrelli (330) YAMAHA
  5. Nick Gennusa (315) YAMAHA 
  6. Brandon Hoag (289) YAMAHA
  7. Max Lindquist (253) YAMAHA
  8. Westley Wolfe (241) YAMAHA
  9. Kevin Saar (211) YAMAHA
  10. Logan Stanfield (204) YAMAHA

About the ATV Motocross National Championship:

The ATV Motocross National Championship, an AMA National Championship, is the nation’s premier amateur and professional ATV motocross series, hosted at top motocross facilities nationwide. The 10-round AMA Pro and 9-round amateur 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.

About the American Motorcyclist Association:

Founded in 1924, the AMA is a not-for-profit member-based association whose mission is to promote the motorcycle lifestyle and protect the future of motorcycling. As the world’s largest motorcycling rights and event sanctioning organization, the AMA advocates for riders’ interests at all levels of government and sanctions thousands of competition and recreational events every year. The AMA also provides money-saving discounts on products and services for its members. Through the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in Pickerington, Ohio, the AMA honors the heroes and heritage of motorcycling. For more information, visit www.americanmotorcyclist.com. Not a member? Join the AMA today: www.americanmotorcyclist.com/membership/join.O

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