By: ATV Motorcross
An abundant amount of rainfall occurred at High Point Raceway creating a slick and muddy track for the fifth round of the ProX ATV Motocross National Championship (ATVMX) presented by CST Tires, an AMA National Championship. The track crew worked diligently to create the best race course possible and at the conclusion of the two 20-minute motos it was Maxxis/Elka Suspension/Liquid Wrench’s Joel Hetrick who took home the overall win with 2-1 moto finishes.
Hetrick kicked off the day turning the fastest lap time in the timed qualifying sessions, earning him the ATVriders.com Top Qualifier Award. Hetrick looked to use that momentum heading into the motos in order to take the win in front of his hometown crowd.
Once the gate dropped for the first moto it was an all-out battle among the world’s fastest ATV racers to get into the first turn. It was Wienen Motorsports/Yamaha/Maxxis/SSi Decals/Walsh Racecraft/FLY Racing’s Chad Wienen taking the early lead and earning himself a point in the SSi Decals Holeshot competition. This proved to be a vital part of Wienen’s first moto success. While Wienen held the lead position, Hetrick was on his rear wheels in second.
It didn’t take long for Wienen and Hetrick to pull a large gap over the rest of the field, leaving a battle for third. Maxxis/Root River Racing/JB Racing’s Thomas Brown led both Maxxis/FLY Racing/Baldwin Motorsports’ John Natalie and Savage Motorsports/Maxxis/Walsh Racecraft/Elka Suspension/BCS Performance’s Ronnie Higgerson.
Hetrick put forth his best effort to pass Wienen, but it was not enough as Wienen was the first to see the checkered flag with Hetrick right behind him. Brown ended up crossing the line in third after a hard-fought race.
“With the muddy weather here today, it feels great to be able to rip a holeshot in the first moto,” said Wienen. “The second moto just kind of flip-flopped. I knew there wasn’t going to be any sort of real racing going on with the conditions. I’m just happy with the day’s results and to leave here with the points lead.”
While track conditions were undesirable for the first moto, by the time it was 4 p.m. the second moto faced even more rain with a heavy downpour leading up to the gate drop. Once the gate dropped Root River Racing/Hoosier Tires/Rage ATV’s Josh Upperman found himself in a favorable position, but Hetrick made a last-minute charge to earn the SSi Decals Holeshot Award.
After battling up the muddy straight, Wienen was mid-pack but was able to work his way into second by the time he reached the holeshot line. As the race wore on Hetrick and Wienen stayed in first and second. Meanwhile, Higgerson was running his best race and holding the third-place position.
Once the white flag came out Hetrick was in first with a commanding lead, but encountered a hiccup in his race when his quad started smoking. With the smoke being behind him, Hetrick was unable to see just how bad it was, but knew he had to carefully maneuver the last half of the track. Hetrick’s quad continued to hold together as he crossed the finish line claiming the moto win, which also resulted in the overall win. This result marked Hetrick’s third ATV Stampede win and third-straight victory this season.
“I saw it smoking, but I didn’t realize how bad it was,” said Hetrick. “I tried to baby it and rode a little slower. I knew I could finish if I barely gave it any gas, and that’s what I did. It was definitely scary, but I’m just happy it all held together to make it three in a row today in front of my hometown crowd.”
Wienen ended up going 1-2 for second overall. Perhaps the biggest achievement of the day was Higgerson who finished third in the second moto for third overall, marking his first ever ATVMX pro podium.
“It takes a lot more work to ride in conditions like this,” said Higgerson “Luckily everything worked really well today to get two solid motos. It’s my first podium in my entire pro career, but it definitely won’t be the last.”
Brown ended up finishing seventh in the second moto, putting him just off the podium with fourth overall. Natalie claimed fifth overall with 4-6 moto finishes. After putting forth an impressive ride in the second moto, Upperman crossed the line in fourth, ranking him sixth overall.
Maxxis/Liquid Wrench/Elka Suspension/Honda’s David Haagsma finished seventh overall with Koster Racing/Blommel Motorsports/Walsh Racecraft-backed Brett Musick following in eighth. After riding through a foot injury SSR/FTR/Maxxis/Corrosion Specialties’ Nick Moser had one of his best rides in ninth overall. AGX Designs/Walsh Racecraft/Maxxis’s Nick Gennusa rounded out the top ten overall, going 6-14.
RacerTV provided over six hours of live streaming, including both pro motos. To view the races as an archived video please click here.
The ATVMX circuit continues in two weeks, June 4, for the Inaugural Monster Mountain National to be held at the popular Monster Mountain in Tallassee, Ala.