By: ATV Motocross
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 15, 2017) – The 2017 Wiseco ATV Motocross National Championship (ATVMX) presented by CST Tires, an AMA National Championship, kicked off Tuesday, March 14 at the iconic Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla.
After opting out of the first timed qualifying session, Wienen Motorsports/SSi Decals/Walsh Racecraft/Yamaha/Maxxis/7240’s Chad Wienen came out swinging in the second qualifying session to claim the first ATVriders.com Fastest Qualifier Award of the season.
When the heat races got underway for the Third Annual FLY Racing ATV Supercross, Root River Racing’s Josh Upperman and Maxxis/Elka/Liquid Wrench/Honda’s Joel Hetrick emerged with the wins.
The $100 Bell Helmets Holeshot Award was up for grabs as the main gate dropped. Hetrick used the momentum from his heat race win to fire off the start and grab the early lead. Upperman and GennUSA Racing’s Nick Gennusa were in tow, while Wienen sat in a top-five position.
Hetrick and Wienen maintained a four-second gap between each other for the first half of the race until Hetrick bobbled coming out of the second turn. “I made a mistake, but it didn’t cost me too much this year,” said Hetrick. “Of course I’m a little upset at what happened. I went wide and caught the Honda banner and it tossed me off. I’m lucky that I got up and got going as quick as I did.”
Once in the lead, Wienen ran his own race while the battles continued behind him. After getting back up, Hetrick was running in fourth, and he was able to diligently work his way around Upperman and put the pressure on Nick Gennusa.
While much of the focus was on Hetrick recovering from his mistake, Root River Racing/CST Tires’ Thomas Brown was quickly rising through the ranks. After an unfavorable start, Brown rode in fourth. With only a handful of laps remaining, Gennusa held off Brown, but with only three turns to go Brown would make the pass and steal the last podium position away from Gennusa.
Wienen defended his 2016 ATVSX win, with Hetrick crossing the finish line behind him in second and Brown rounding out the main-event podium in third. Gennusa placed just off the podium in fourth, and Upperman rounded out the top-five finishers in the opening round. Walsh Racecraft/Honda’s Parker Wewerka had an impressive showing for his pro debut in sixth.
“Lines on the track were crossing everywhere, so you had ride very precisely,” said Wienen. “My goal was to go out there and not make any mistakes. I know Joel rides hard, so when I saw him down, I knew I had to be cool, calm and collected to win the race.”
“Over the years my mistakes here at Daytona have cost me big time,” said Hetrick. “I’m just glad to be up on the podium because that was my main goal coming into the race.”
Racer TV captured live streaming of each qualifying round and main event, both amateur and pro. To watch the archived footage head over to RacerTV.com. A highlight show featuring the event will be aired on MAVTV later this spring.
The 2017 Wiseco ATV Motocross National Championship resumes with a return to the traditional motocross format on Saturday, April 1 at the popular Underground MX in Kemp, Texas.