ATV Motocross

Tuesday Feature: Chad Wienen!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008 | 12:00 AM

Chad Wienen is loving life. The Team Rockstar/MSR/Suzuki/Yoshimura/Pro Taper Suzuki rider closed out the 2008 season with two huge wins. The first coming at the ATV Dirt Days at the Loretta Lynn Ranch, when he dominated the Second Annual ATV Open at Steel City this past weekend. It was a great way to end an otherwise frustrating, injury-filled season. That said, Wienen persevered and raced his way back into top form, finishing out the year as a powerhouse in the ITP Tires/Moose Racing AMA/ATVA National Championship Pro ATV Competition. The ATV Open was a big day for the sport of ATV Motocross, as the riders raced in front of the biggest crowd most of them had ever seen. We caught up with Chad and spoke with him about how close his lap times were to the biggest names in two-wheeled motocross, and what he has in store for 2009.

 

Let’s go back to the ATV Open. What was your mindset as you entered that race?

 

I knew there were going to be a lot of people there because of the dirtbikes. I also knew that because that the track was going to be one of the most demanding ones we have seen all year. I think that for me to ride to my full potential I need to be challenged, and we were challenged at that race. The whole atmosphere of a Pro National is what we want and where we need to be. We all wanted to put on a show for everyone and prove that we deserve to be there.

 

Was that the biggest crowd in front of which you have ever raced?

 

I did a race in Montreal that might have had more people, but I’ve never seen that many people packing the fence lines. It just seemed like you could see and hear them the entire way around the track.

 

How about that scene at the podium? There were hundreds of people going crazy up there just to get a look at you guys!

 

Yeah, we really got a good reaction out of the fans. I wanted them to be excited, so I was trying to get them fired up as much as I could.

 

”¬¶well, you almost started a riot when you threw your chest protector into the crowd!

 

[laughs] Yeah, that was pretty cool!

 

Your fast lap time was around five seconds slower than James Stewart. That would put you in the top five or podium in the pro dirt bike class! That really blew a lot of people away. The dirt bike message boards have been lit up talking about it and it really turned a lot of heads. Have you ever been on the track with any top dirtbike guys?

 

Well, after Red Bud a couple guys came down to Sunset Ridge, Illinois, and Blake Wharton showed up. We hooked up on the track together and raced around for quite a while. It was pretty cool.

 

Wharton has been at the front of the Lites class for the past couple nationals. Were you able to keep up with him?

 

Yeah, oh yeah. We were going back and forth. The track was pretty dirt biked out, which wasn’t good for me. I think I really surprised him.

 

Speaking along those lines, I think the ATVs and the dirt bikes meshed well together. How much did the bikes change the track for the quads?

 

Not much at all. The track was awesome. It was wide and fast and we could barely tell the difference. It worked out really well.

 

So what happens from here? What do you have going on in the off-season?

 

Well, I pretty much try to stay on my program, but I lay back a little. We’re negotiating my contracts for 2009 and working on that, and I’m getting ready to start building on the piece of property I just bought so I’m excited to get rolling with that.

 

I’ll also head to Texas and Florida over the winter and stay as active as I can and have fun!

 

Can we expect to see anything new from you in 2009 as far as sponsors?

 

It is still too early to tell. What I’m really working on is trying to establish myself like the dirt bike guys. I’m going after different outside sponsors, like shoe companies and clothing deals and that kind of thing.

 

Do you feel think races such as the ATV Open have helped you in that regard?

 

Absolutely. The dirt bike guys have gotten really big lately. Being with them and having a chance to turn some heads in the same audience helps us out a lot. We’re just trying to do what we can to have those same companies and influences invest in our group as well.

 

People were talking about you guys, for sure. I’d say mission accomplished! Thanks for the time today, Chad. Congratulations!

 

Thanks a lot. We’ll see you at the banquet!