Site Lap: Summertime ATVMX Nationals

Site Lap: Summertime ATVMX Nationals

by:
TimeWednesday, June 7, 2017 | 3:00 PM

The 2017 Wiseco ATV Motocross National Championship by CST Tires, an AMA national championship, rolled into Muddy Creek Raceway for the ATV Spring Nationals this past weekend. No one knew what to really expect weather wise as the forecast had changed a few times leading into the weekend but everyone was hoping for good perfection and we got it. The racing was once again at a level you would expect a national championship fight to be and all classes featured exciting moments throughout the battles. 

Joel Hetrick went 1-1 to earn his second-straight overall win!
Joel Hetrick went 1-1 to earn his second-straight overall win! Ken Hill

As great as things were this weekend from a weather and racing standpoint, the ATV Racin’ Nation was rocked to its foundation with tragic news on Sunday morning. Long time ATVMX family member Rob Visnic, father of the number 55 Jake Visnic, passed away unexpectedly overnight and the news spread fast as folks began their day. It was a hard pill to swallow as everyone who knew Rob knew a great individual as well as a passionate and loving family man who put his family above everything in his life. 

Like most folks in our community I didn't know Rob on what you would call a “personal level” as we never communicated outside of racing. However, during the times at the track through conversations and watching him I was able to get to know his heart. I sat and spoke with him last year a couple of times and the last was at Red Bud if memory serves me correct. I don’t remember any real details of the conversation but I recall laughing and smiling the whole time. It was the last time I can actually remember seeing him until the Ironman ATVMX a few weeks ago. I didn’t get to say much but “good to see you!” while I assumed I would catch up with him at another round soon. Unfortunately I won’t be able to do that now. I pray the family finds comfort and peace in this trying time and hope you reading this will do the same. 

Half way through the season, and the riders are battling it out for their championships. 
Half way through the season, and the riders are battling it out for their championships.  Ken Hill

To say that Rob’s passing has touched our community may be an understatement. I spoke with and have read on social media about how hard it is to accept. He was only 47 years old and sadly there is no real rhyme or reason why things like this happen. It is a reminder though that we should always treat folks with kindness and cherish each moment of each day because we may never get another chance.

When I heard the news on Sunday morning upon my arrival one of the first things I did was go to his Facebook page to see if maybe he had posted something about an illness looking for some reason as to why this would happen. When I did I didn't get any answers but I was touched by what I saw. I saw the same man on there as I see in life, a man that was dedicated to his family and lived life for them. I looked through his pictures and all I saw where pictures of the kids or based around the kids. I saw one photo he was in himself and it was a funny picture with he and Jake at Christmas with a Santa stocking cap that was black and read “Bah Humbug!” It was fitting to his personality to have fun and make people laugh because he was certainly no Grinch. I really don’t think I ever really saw him without a smile.

The weather and racing were pretty much perfect this past weekend. 
The weather and racing were pretty much perfect this past weekend.  Ken Hill

If you are wondering about arrangements they are posted on Facebook and have been shared many times. Family and friends will be received at Tooth man Funeral Home in St. Clairsville on Friday from 3 p.m. until time of service at 7 p.m. with Wayne Clark officiating. Private burial will be held in Powhatan Cemetery, Powhatan Point, Ohio. Rob’s complete obituary can be found at www.ToothmanFuneralHome.com. 

As far as this past weekends race goes, the ATV Racin’ Nation paid a great tribute with the amazing battles and excitement that each and every class on the track brought. I might say it could have be collectively the best battles so far this season. There was amazingly tight racing and every bit of it was clean and exciting to watch. Just the way Rob would have wanted it. 

As I close this week it is hard to know what to really say ultimately. Rob Visnic made a big impact on our racing community and his passing has affected a lot of close friends. The only thing we can do as friends and racing family is be there for the family in any way we can. There are two heart broken kids and a loving wife that will need prayers and encouragement to get through the coming days, weeks, months and even years. Follow your heart and go where it leads you and do what it tells you and pray. It’s the only advice I can give you. 

That’s it for now. Let’s check into Gloop's Loop and with Ken “how well my garden grows” Hill. Till next time, God Bless Your Heart and All Your Vital Organs.

In The Loop with Gloop:

Brandon Hoag working hard before Sunset Ridge.
Brandon Hoag working hard before Sunset Ridge.
Josh Upperman has been prepping for Sunset Ridge!
Josh Upperman has been prepping for Sunset Ridge!

Keeping up with Ken Hill: 

That is a wrap on Muddy Creek and it did not disappoint! This is one of my favorite tracks to photograph, as usually the weather is on point and the action always good. It was a tad warm for those of us not used to it, but you will get no complaints for me, no gloves, no cold rainy chills, no muddy boots, I will take it! The crew at this venue always seems to go beyond what is expected, and from what I saw they did a decent job. The track did get dusty a few times, but they stayed on it and it got rough as it should be, this isn’t flat track! I enjoyed being there once again and you all behind the bars gave me some great racing to shoot in virtually every class.

The riders took flight at Muddy Creek over the weekend as there were great battles in almost every class.
The riders took flight at Muddy Creek over the weekend as there were great battles in almost every class. Ken Hill

The pro race went about like I expected it, I figured Joel Hetrick would come out hot and that is exactly what he did. Hetrick attacked every section of that track from start to finish, and rode nearly flawless each moto finishing out the day by clinching the overall win. This race went down almost exactly like I figured High Point would have gone. If you get Hetrick on a fast track he is almost unbeatable and it plays right into his style of riding. Behind Hetrick was a very aggressive Jeffrey Rastrelli who seems to do very well on this type of track. He was all go no bull right from the start and earned himself a podium finish as he secured 2nd on the weekend. Chad Wienen seemed to be just a touch off his usual pace and I had heard he was running a brand new set up but he did well and landed on the podium with 3rd although Hetrick win cut into his points lead enough that he will need to use all of his talents on the pegs to get back in the center of the box. No matter the finishing order, the pro’s let loose here at Muddy Creek and it was an excellent race!

Before the day started I had a chance to chat a bit with folks as the sun was making its way to the top of the ridge. You might have seen a few of us leaning against a truck soaking up the heat like a bunch of lizards on a warm rock. The conversations were varied and offered some insights into what many will be asking for in 2018. I encourage everyone to be prepared with suggestions be it a team owner, manager or racer to get involved now so you have time to properly prepare your ideas when the time comes. I enjoyed the input and conversations throughout the morning and I did not meet one person who wasn’t on the same page in the end with regards of bettering the series, which is a great thing. Now all we have to do is sit down and figure out the best line to take to get there!

Chad Wienen (#1) and Josh Upperman (#20) battled it out during moto 2 at Muddy Creek Raceway. 
Chad Wienen (#1) and Josh Upperman (#20) battled it out during moto 2 at Muddy Creek Raceway.  Ken Hill

We also had tragedy strike this past weekend as we lost Rob Visnic to what is being reported as a heart attack. There are no words to describe how we all feel when we loose one of our own. If you did not know Rob you probably at least knew of him and that he was part of our racing family. This year has been filled with loss and it is devastating to the families involved as well as to all of us who spend a good portion of our lives together at the races. God bless the Visnic family and we all pray for you.  

That is about all from me this week as I prepare to head to New York for a GNCC. I am expecting another brawl when we hit Sunset Ridge, which has been a favorite of many as the sandy soil gets rough and the racing intensifies. The battle for the win here should be one to watch! God bless you all and be safe in your travels and please, take a few minutes and let those around you know how much you love them because life is short and no one is guaranteed a tomorrow. 

ATVMX on MAVTV

Don't forget to check out the Broadcast section on the website so you don't miss any of the 2017 ATV Motocross action on MAVTV. Click HERE to see the schedule, and come back each month for an updated schedule with specific times.