Chad Wienen Wins AMA ATV Motocross Season Opener
March 25, 2013
With less than perfect conditions thanks to Mother Nature, 23 pro riders lined up at the muddy Aonia Pass MX track in Washington, Ga., for the opening round of the 2013 AMA Mtn. Dew ATV Motocross National Championship on March 23.
Defending champion Chad Wienen rode smart to grab the first victory of 2013, due in part to his knowledge gained from earning the No. 1 plate in 2012. Wienen scored a 3-2 finish to secure the overall win aboard his Wienen Motorsports SSi Walsh Yamaha presented by Maxxis Tires & Team Vollmer machine.
Corrosion/Hetrick Racing's Joel Hetrick ran the fastest lap of the morning and earned the ATVRiders.com Fastest Qualifier Award, setting himself up with first gate pick for moto one. Hetrick's fastest lap was nearly one second faster than the rest of the field, proving he would be a force to be reckoned with in 2013.
“I was really looking forward to the weekend and I knew with the weather I had to get good starts. By grabbing the fastest qualifier award I was able to get a good gate pick to get me out front,” Hetrick said.
Josh Upperman snagged the moto one SSi Decals Holeshot Award aboard his Baldwin Motorsports PEP Upperman Racing machine. Wienen Motorsports SSi Walsh Yamaha presented by Maxxis Tires & Team Vollmer's Thomas Brown made a quick pass into the lead but Hetrick came charging through the pack early on. Hetrick took over the first-place position and never looked back, laying down consistent lap times throughout the entire moto.
Brown followed in the second-place spot, attempting to put the charge on Hetrick but was unable to get close enough to make a pass.
Brown's teammate, Wienen, made his way into third and rode a smooth and comfortable pace, unable to close the gap on the leaders. Upperman settled into fourth and remained there for the rest of the race with a comfortable gap between him and the rest of the pack.
JB Racing Cheerwine Can-Am's Jeffrey Rastrelli finished a career-best fifth place in moto one. After getting tangled up in a first-turn pile up, Rastrelli put his new Can-Am ride to the test and was able to make his way up to the fifth-place spot.
“I'm really proud of my moto one finish, I've only had three days of riding on my new machine and am really liking the way it handles. I was able to make passes through the field when I needed to in order to secure a fifth place finish,” Rastrelli said.
Veterans John Natalie and Josh Creamer were also involved in the first-turn pile up, leaving both championship contenders at the back of the field.
The highly anticipated return of 2010 champ Josh Creamer had fans on edge as he worked his way through the field making most of his passes through the roller section. Creamer was able to salvage a sixth-place finish after being forced to play catch up throughout the race.
Creamer came out swinging in moto two, grabbing the SSi Decals Holeshot Award before taking the early lead and never looking back.
“I knew I had to get a better start than moto one and my BCS Can-Am came out on fire. I was able to get great traction with my ITP tires, we have done a lot of tire testing in the off season and really have this machine hooked up really well,” said moto two winner Creamer.
Upperman, Hetrick and Wienen had a heated battle for the second-place position during the first half of the race. Wienen came out in fourth and pressured Hetrick until lap four when he made the move through the rollers upon a mistake by Hetrick. Hetrick kept on Wienen for a few laps but was unable to make Wienen crack under pressure.
Then setting his sights on Upperman, Wienen charged the field and made the pass right before heading into the rollers at the 10-minute mark and charged forward for a second-place finish.
Upperman and Hetrick continued their battle throughout the entire race, keeping the fans on edge. Upperman held his lines and Hetrick was unable to make a pass. On the last lap of the moto, Upperman spun out with a few turns to go and Hetrick ran into the back of the number 20 machine, leaving him stranded in the track, unable to restart his machine.
Upperman went on to secure a fourth-place finish in moto two and Hetrick was left mid-pack finishing in 11th place.
“I wasn't too happy about my moto two finish but I was able to save moto two and come out with decent points. I rode hard in moto two and luck just wasn't on my side,” Hetrick said.
Brown came out of the first turn in fifth, right behind the battle for second and made a few mistakes early on. But he was able to put his head down and make his way back up to the front of the pack, making the pass into fourth on the last lap.
Rastrelli looked as if he was going to come out of moto two with a similar finish to moto one, but things didn't quite go as planned for the Florida native. Rastrelli grabbed a mid-pack start and was able to maintain a seventh-place position until two laps to go he went up over a berm and couldn't get his machine out of the mud.
Cody Suggs of Suggs Racing finished 10th place overall after two solid 10th-place finishes. Suggs' 10th-place overall made him the highest-placing rookie of the day.
The AMA ATV Motocross National Championship Series continues April 13-14 in Blountville, Tenn., at Muddy Creek Raceway.
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