ATV Motocross

Site Lap: In The Ballance!

Friday, April 26, 2013 | 10:45 AM

The 3rd round of the Mtn. Dew AMA ATV Motocross National Championship at Ballance Moto-X Park just outside Bowling Green, Kentucky is warming up today and this weekendƒ’s event promises to hold a few surprises as the drama builds towards the worldƒ’s most prestigious ATV motocross championship series.

Only one point separates the championship at this point and honestly nearly anyone can still be considered championship contender. The depth of talent in all classes is nothing short of amazing. The AMA Pro ATV Motocross class is certainly no exception. Defending champ #1 Chad Wienen holds only a one point lead over the young but maturing #88 Joel Hetrick. If you think about it at this point, Joel has shown to be the fastest winning three of the first four motos of 2013. Consistency though has the champ still in control and may be his most lethal weapon right now. Wienen still has speed but it is not only speed but method to his approach that may be what it takes to win this yearƒ’s championship.

As big a threat that Hetrick is to win the championship there are others looming in the background that could be the biggest spoilers for all our championship contenders. A few spoilers could come by way of the young blood in the class. One has to remember that there are few true veterans in the pro class right now and some new faces may begin to be recognized soon.

ƒ‚ #84 Thomas Brown is showing the same consistency of his now teammate Chad Wienen. Brown is a rider that could break out at any given time. Anyone who follows the sport knows he has put the heart, soul and effort into his program and things may be about to peak in his program too.

Former champ #9 Josh Creamer who is only 11 points out of the championship point lead is another that can easily be considered a contender. JC9 also has the speed but he knows as well as anyone that the championship is a long fight and many things can happen along the way. Josh is determined right now and is like a hungry wolf lurking in the forest ready to pounce and devour any prey that stands in his way.

#20 Josh Upperman currently sits 5th in points and has shown some great strength this season. His starts are impeccable as always but Josh needs to seal the deal on a few moto wins to get his confidence where it needs to be. Talking with Josh even this week he is still talking winning and with the heart he has you know things could start happening here as well.

I have to take a moment and say ƒ“wowƒ” . It did not dawn on me until the last round at Muddy Creek that #7 Joe Byrd hit a pinnacle this past offseason. Joe turned the ƒ“BIG 4-0ƒ” ! Thatƒ’s right; Joe Byrd is 40 years old and is on the verge of one of his best seasons in a few years. Joe has actually gone back to the basics with his program and it really looks like he is having fun. He and his mechanic Bill Micke are showing some major signs of improvement on the track and actually around the pits. Even though Joe has been loved and hated, one has to respect him not only for being able to roll like he does, but what he does for our sport worldwide through his Joe Byrd Riding Schools. Joe is certainly a living legend in the sport and at this time is some of the last ties to the old school days of ATV MX. How many others lining up in the pro ranks raced the series when it was the GNC? My hat is off to you Joe Byrd and thanks for everything you bring to our sport.

As far as pro racing goes this weekend I say watch out for #13 John Natalie. Natalie is still fine tuning a program that has made some major leaps and bounds in a short amount of time. John could be a big threat at Ballance as he did win here last year in the historical night race. You can follow John this season in a really nice video series called Natalieƒ’s Way produced by his sponsor Motosport. You can check the latest episode by clicking here. ƒ‚ John says he is excited to see what this yearƒ’s race brings in Kentucky and he is going there to win.

ƒ‚ Before we leave this week, I wanted to give a pat on the back to up and coming youth racer #12 Westley Wolfe. This past weekend Westley raced in Union South, Carolina at round 4 of the Amsoil Grand National Cross Country. The VP Fuels Big Buck GNCC was the 17thƒ‚ running of this now historical event and yet again it left us with some great memories. I guess the biggest news of the Saturday racing for me was when Westley Wolfe made history taking his first ever morning overall race win. Wolfe and the rest of the Schoolboy 13-15 class has been showing some major promise and speed this season flirting with the possibilities of a win already this season. It was the Big Buck where the history was written though and Westley was joined by fellow Schoolboy 13-15 class rider Cody Collier on the morning overall podium with a 2nd. U2 Class winner Michael Swift was 3rdƒ‚ overall.

Westley Wolfe will be back in action this weekend as he will head to Ballance Moto-X Park outside of Bowling Green Kentucky for round 3 of the Mtn. Dew AMA ATV Motocross Nationals. As mentioned before he is trying to capture a national championship in both GNCC and ATV MX which is something that so far has not been accomplished by anyone to our knowledge. The thing is that Wolfe is not the only one working on this honor. Jordan Digby from the Youth ranks is doing the same. Jordan tried last season but had his hopes cut short with season ending injury. At least a third rider is working on the same feat in the afternoon GNCC races as well. It is William ƒ“Duckƒ” Lloyd riding for the JB/Cheerwine race team. As we mentioned before, Duck is contesting the Junior A 22+ class in GNCC and a couple different classes in the ATVMX. Duck actually leads points in the Junior A classes of both series.

You know with as many riders there are contesting for the championships you can sometimes get lost and caught up in the action and sometimes someone doesnƒ’t show up for a while and you wonder, ƒ“where is such and such?ƒ” ƒ‚ I wondered the same thing about Pro Am racer Zach Harris. So I sent him a message and got this reply:

Hey Rodney, thanks for the shout out! It has been great to see so many of my fellow pro-am racers and good friends stepping up into the Pro class and making some waves. My program is better than ever, and thanks to Ryan Rogerson Fitness, I was ready to go! Unfortunately, I have been sitting on the couch the past five weeks due to an injury from the first ride of the year. I had a small get off and ended up with a fractured L3 vertebrae, ruptured disk, and nerve damage. I have been doing therapy every day and hope to be back on the bike this weekend!ƒ‚ ƒ‚ 

I plan to make it to as many nationals as I can here after the school semester is over, one more semester till my Bachelor degree. I hope to put the 313 Can-Am on the pro-am podium. I will be taking off work this summer to focus on racing and training. Good friend Ronnie Higgerson is hoping to stay with me this summer and we plan on hitting it hard. I hope to see all of you soon at the nationals and wish all my buddies the best of luck!

I canƒ’t thank those enough who have been behind me for many years. Ian Harris from SSi Decals and the entire Walsh crew have taken me in like family at times and we are all lucky to have such amazing people in our sport. In 2014, I plan to make a full return to nationals in the pro and pro-am class.ƒ‚ 

Special thanks to all those behind me for this year, I couldnƒ’t do it without you! BRP / Can-Am, Can-Am X-Team, SSi Decals, Walsh Race craft, BCS Performance, FMF Racing, AXO, Pro Armor, Wienen Motorsports, Monroe Powersports, Wehrli Custom Fabrication, FOX Racing Shox, Nowlan Farms, Fourwerx Carbon, Rogerson Fitness, EKS Goggles, Atlas Brace, SF Racing, CR21, Works Connection, 123Customs, Hinson Racing, Deejay Zom, Precision Racing, K&N Filters, The Real McCoys, Thede Photography, The Bakers, Pickardƒ’s, and Boeke Families, Dad, Marcia, Lindsey, and Zack.

Thanks for the update and get well and back out to the races soon!

That will do it for now. Till next time, God Bless Your Heart and All Your Vital Organs!