ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. (Aug. 14, 2006) — It all comes down to the final double championship race, as dirt-slinging ATVs invade Old Bridge Raceway Park for this weekend’s PowerSports ATV Tour Grand Championship. The events, scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 19-20, will pit the best of the best in ATV racing against each other and the technical and challenging Old Bridge circuit. As the dust clears, whomever comes out on top will have the honor of being the inaugural WPSA PowerSports ATV Tour Riders’ Champion, as just one point separates first and second in both Pro classes.
Saturday’s race will be telecast on ESPN2 on Sunday, Aug. 27 at 1 a.m. EDT, while Saturday’s race will air on Saturday, Sept. 10 at 1 p.m. EDT.
In the high-flying SuperQuad 450 chase, it’s a battle between experience and rookie brilliance, as longtime ATV motocross rider Doug Gust (No. 55 Team Suzuki, Yoshimura/Suzuki) took the lead from 19-year-old Dustin Wimmer (No. 191 East Coast ATV, Axis, Sparks, Maxxis/Honda) at the most recent race in Indiana. Gust’s 306 points were earned from his two wins, including a victory in the most recent race, and four additional podiums. Wimmer, however, has shown the poise of a veteran this season by never finishing out of the top five. He has a victory, and four podiums this season.
Gust’s teammate Jeremiah Jones (No. 2 Team Suzuki, Yoshimura/Suzuki) sits third in points. However, the Bowling Green, Kentucky native will not be competing this weekend due to a back injury suffered several weeks ago in a non-WPSA-affiliated race.
Local flavor will also abound this weekend as Patrick Brown and Rocco Arno, Jr. prepare to represent the Garden State. Arno (No. 101 NAC’S Racing, Curtis Sparks, ITP, Custom Axis/Yamaha) is in his rookie year of Pro competition, while Brown (No. 199 Factory Yamaha, Golden West Cycles, Ohlins, ITP/Yamaha) sits fourth in SuperQuad Pro 450 points.
John Natalie, Jr. is scheduled to return to competition this weekend, after recovering from a severely broken left thumb. The rider of the No. 13 Elka, HMF, Swift/Honda dominated the early stages of the Tour, winning the first two events and finished third and second, respectively, in Rounds 3 and 4.
In the rough-and-tumble QuadTerrain Challenge Pro Sock ranks, it’s a three-way battle for the title, as Daryl Rath (No. 67 Rath Racing, Maxxis/Arctic Cat) remains atop the standings with two victories and two additional podium finishes. However, close behind is William Yokley and his privateer No. 23 Suzuki. Though he missed the first race of the season, Yokley’s three wins and three podiums have placed him just one marker behind Rath in points. Similarly, factory Can-Am rider Scott Kilby (No. 227 Maxxis, OMF/Can-Am) also missed the first race, but sits third, just 18 points back.
The Manufacturers’ Championships have also taken on a fevered pitch. Suzuki leads Honda by eight points in the SuperQuad Pro 450 Series, while Can-Am sits first in the QuadTerrain standings, just two points ahead of Suzuki.
Also featured during the race weekend is an invitation-only Utility Terrain Challenge exhibition race. The events, which will run both Saturday and Sunday of the race weekend, will showcase four-wheel, two-seat utility vehicles on the big-air MX course.
Riders will be vying for one of the richest purses in ATV racing here. The Tour will award $22,500 in purse monies each day here, as it does for each race this season. The purse, which will be awarded in the Tour’s Pro Classes, pays to 20th place in the QuadMX Series and to 15th place in QuadTerrain Challenge. The purse structure awards $4,000 to win in QuadMX and $2,000 to win in QuadTerrain Challenge, with $15,000 and $7,500 available in each Series, respectively.
Additionally, Quad Magazine is sponsoring a “Holeshot Award” in SuperQuad Pro 450, awarding $1,000 to the rider who wins the holeshot at the beginning of the final. Over in QuadTerrain, ATVRiders.com is sponsoring the “Rock’n’Roll Award” which will give a $500 bonus to the rider leaving the course’s rock crawl first during the final.
The ATV Tour’s two racing series: the “QuadMX Series” and the “QuadTerrain Challenge Series” compete at each event this season. QuadMX consists of professional and pro-am sport MX racing on pro-style, big-air MX racing circuits. The QuadTerrain Challenge comprises professional and pro-am sport utility racing on purpose-built all-terrain racing circuits. ATVs allowed to compete will include stock, near-stock utility-type, and modified.
The Old Bridge Township Raceway Park track layout, like all circuits on the Tour, is designed to optimize television coverage and fan viewing for both racing disciplines. The QuadMX course is central to the design and is tailored exclusively for ATV racing. The QuadTerrain course is constructed immediately adjacent to the MX track and incorporates a small portion of the technical section of the MX course, but excludes all big air MX sections. The balance of the QuadTerrain course consists of specialized terrain and obstacles. All obstacle sectors are raced at speed. Races feature obstacles that demonstrate the machine’s and a rider’s capabilities under race conditions. However certain sections will require careful maneuvering, or a deft high-speed touch.The QuadTerrain courses are a half mile or less in length.