The 2017 Wiseco ATV Motocross National Championship Series presented by CST Tires, an AMA sanctioned series, kicked off in true big Texas style with nothing less than the hype racing that was expected. And even though the rains fell Sunday morning the real “Texas Flood” came in on Saturday in the form of highly competitive racing from nearly every class on the schedule. If this one race is a gauge of what to expect then this season may be even better than it previously hyped to be.
There were several things to note from my standpoint of watching most all the races this weekend. It goes without saying that the AMA Pro ATV Motocross stars had some amazing battles. Joel Hetrick’s first moto mishap, which scored him with on a fifth, had everyone on the edge of their seats wondering how “explosive” Kid Dyanmite would be. The result was pure calculation on Hetrick’s part. He salvaged what he could and left it for moto two, which was some of the best action packed battling we have seen in this class in a long time. In the end Joel lost six more points to Chad as Chad took win number two on the season.
The whole pro class seemed to battle in the AMA Pro ATV class Saturday. Aside from Silas Lamons hard get off I think most escaped unscathed. I spoke with Chad briefly after the race and he was for obvious reasons very happy but also said he was so impressed and excited at the talent in the rest of the class. He stated to me with a smile, “Wow what a race! Not only Joel and I but the rest of the class had some battles!” The rookie class this season is not only impressive but somewhat surprising as well.
The A classes were nothing short of what we expected. The battles in this division were nail biters. Noah Mickelson looked great in both the A and Pro Sport. Racing against his brother Haedyn was a real exciting expectation. They raced different division each winning their race. As the second motos were canceled both got first place points but it was Noah’s division that was the quicker. It will be exciting to see these two brothers square off in this class. And to think there are a number of other riders that will be in the mix. It will be a class to watch.
Brogan Guyer impressed once again in the B classes. Brogan looked amazing in Daytona and picked up where he left on in Texas. He took wins in both the Production B and 450B class and looked possibly better than he ever has. At least in a long time. He has been riddled with injury in his progression from youth to amateur but it looks like things may be on track now for the young Hoosier.
A lot of questions heading into the season about the youth classes were kind of answered this weekend but possibly left with more. These classes will be once again a great building of young riders and character. The Youth All Star class will feature some of the world’s top talent. A pleasant surprise in this class was Max Linquist. Max is a rider that has had great potential but little luck. This rider proved to himself and the racing world that he is going to be a threat. He rode to wins in both the Schoolboy Sr and the Youth All-Star class backing up both rides solidly.
The statement “world” above is literal and not figurative. This year Denmark’s top ATV racing talent and young up and comer Marcus Thomsen finished second in this class. Marcus came last season to race a few rounds and this season his father pulled out all the stops and made the commitment to chase “America’s Longest-Standing and Word’s Most Prestigious ATV Championship.” Marcus is a big kid and is considered he fastest in Denmark. He finished second behind Linquist to start the season in both the Youth All-Star and the Schoolboy Sr. classes.
Perhaps the unknown variables in these classes as the season are Trevor Thatcher and Lance Walker. It is unfortunate that Lance broke his forearm and will miss at least one round as Trevor Thatcher just missed the mark with a couple of critical mistakes. It was unfortunate for the young Ohio rider but maybe a valuable lesson he can take through his career and life. It was said and admitted he didn’t train as much as he should have and even with extenuating circumstances of injury he could have done a little more to be prepared.
Trevor sent me this message when I asked him what his thoughts on Texas were:
I went into TX with high confidence, even though I'm just recovering from a fractured foot and had zero ride time on my new race bikes. I knew these bikes were going to be set on a conservative tune since I hadn't been able to train and my dad didn't want me to get hurt. I still couldn't wait for practice to start.
It didn't take but a couple of laps for me to realize how bad that fractured foot had hurt my training program. I am beyond disappointed in myself with my performance in all 3 classes I raced. Stalling my bike two times and my tether coming out once was pretty embarrassing and I don't plan on making those types of mistakes ever again.
Since I've been home from TX, I've been training my butt off as much as my foot will let me. I am hoping I'll be in good enough shape that my dad will feel I'm ready for him to flip the switch and set my bikes on the hot tune. I also would like to thank all the people and companies who support me, especially my Dad, Dee Manshack, Harold Goodman, Lonnie Eby and Dave Gladieux, if not for them I would not have even made the first round.
To say that these are the only players and classes to mention is an understatement. So all I can say is follow along closely this season, as the competition will be fierce. It is hard to contain myself and limit myself during this contribution. The stories will continue and the drama will build. The possibilities are limitless and the future championship battles may go down as the best ever. I am just glad to be a part of this wonderful little world we call the ATV Racin’ Nation.
That’s it for me for now. Let’s check in with Gloop's Loop and with Ken “miles in the rearview” Hill. Till next time, God Bless Your Heart and All Your Vital Organs.
In The Loop with Gloop:
Keeping up with Ken Hill:
Now that my friends was one of the best moto’s in the history of ATV motocross! I am talking about moto two at Underground MX, where our two top riders locked into an insanely fast duel that went on for near the entire race. It was exciting; it was some of the most intense competition I have ever seen as the pair challenged each other through every turn and over every jump! The spectators and fellow racers were glued to the track as the action intensified not only with Chad Wienen and Joel Hetrick, but also with Thomas Brown and Jeffrey Rastrelli who locked horns and matched the intensity that was playing out just in front of them! It was epic and kept everyone on the edge of their seat so to speak. Wienen’s bobble gave Hetrick the chance he needed and just like that it was over! Joel poured on the speed and Chad looked to have been satisfied for second after a brief effort to catch Hetrick and the end was sort of anti climatic but the efforts were anything but as the show was exactly what I wanted and expect from the pro’s. That battle will long be remembered and I am pretty sure Racer TV captured it all so I cannot wait for the footage to be released for the world to see. At times, I just watched the action as it played out n the far side of the track wondering who would emerge with the lead as they ducked out of sight; the action was just to good not to stay glued to it!
Now this round is a pretty far drive for me but it was manageable due to coming in from Georgia and even though it’s quite a stretch, it is one of my favorite rounds of the year. The atmosphere is usually great at the track and in the town and who doesn’t dig staying in Gun Barrel City! It just fits for me, and it offers me a chance to stop in and visit with my momma who lives in Texas so I look forward to this run. When I got trackside Thursday, the weather was spectacular but the track was a mess! It was pretty but deceiving as heavy rain had it soaked and deep and I wasn’t the only one concerned. I have however learned never to underestimate the guys who get these tracks in shape and by Friday morning we had practice underway and things looked near perfect! Huge kudos to those men and women who make things roll on, they deserve a big Texas style “Job well done!” I know everyone was trying to remain optimistic about Sunday but the locals I chatted with said get to high ground and they were correct unfortunately as the track got hammered and the racing cancelled. “Its Texas in the spring” is what I was told, “expect anything” and again, the locals were spot on but how about that weather up until that point, near perfection! Overall, I thought this was one of the best Underground races in years as the place looked sharp. I am not a fan of shooting the jumps there but the track itself seemed to have a decent flow to it for virtually all classes and skill levels, again, credit to those who get these things done. I expected it to get rough and it did but to me and my custom boot leather shocks, it did not seem as rough as years past but your mileage may vary.
With the addition of Pro Am thrown in on Saturday evening, the day seemed to be prolonged but not in a bad way. I know every effort was made to make sure everyone’s needs or concerns were attended to and it went off without a hitch. Parker Wewerka not only topped the rookie class in the pro event, he came out and dominated the pro-am moto. He should be a fun rider to watch in both classes this season for sure.
That’s all from me this week, trying to keep it short, as I know Rodney will have a ton to say. It’s off to North Carolina for a GNCC this coming weekend then Alabama for another round of ATVMX and I am stoked to finally get to shoot this track as last year looked awesome! As always, be safe in your travels and God bless you all!