The 2013 Mtn. Dew AMA ATV National Motocross Championship has made the turn and it is now full steam ahead essentially to the final rounds of the season. It appears as though championships are beginning to shape up but still with already so many obstacles for all teams presented by the weather, tension could be building to a fever pitch and all races are going to matter from this point on.
Once again the ATV Racin' Nation was greeted with rather inclimate conditions. So much again that racing was as much a survival atmosphere as anything. It was truly unfortunate for our return to a classic round of racing at Birch Creek Motorsports and the memorial round for Bob "Smitty" Smith. Many have said that Smitty our late referee has been in part responsible for all the rain this season. They say he has been laughing at us from the other side. Well if so, he is even still cool enough to rain on his own parade. That was a good one Smitty!
As stressfull as things were heading into the weekend and through Saturday, it seems things were a little better for Sunday. The racing went off as points were earned and another national goes in the history books.
While Chad Wienen picked up his 5th win of the season, his teammate Thomas Brown resumed his spot on the podium with a third overall once again. This moves Brown into 2nd in points and only 38 behind Wienen. As much as one was hoping for a battle down to the wire, we could be disapointed in this class. However the flip-side is that there is a big jumble in power in the rest of the top 10. Former champ Josh Creamer moved into a solid third after last round and this could have been aided by the misfortunes of both former champ John Natalie and the young Joel Hetrick. Natalie scored a solid top 5 while Hetrick with a solid 7th in moto two and was able to salvage an 11th overall. Both Natalie and Hetrick are still on the mend and both are less than 80 points out of the championship. A long way but there is still enough of a season that anything can happen.
Josh Upperman scored his first podium of 2013. Upperman has been more than podium capable this season but as the luck of many this season, things have just not come together. Upperman is known for strong starts and was able to put a 4-2 on the box for 2nd on the weekend. Upperman has had some struggles this season but as much as that, his absence from the podium has been due in a large part to the same problem everyone else is having and that is the talent field is so deep right now that literally anyone can win and do very well on any given day.
The depth of talent is pretty much the same scenario shaping up in the Pro Am class. I for one expected competition in this division but did not expect the diversity of the competition that has come forth. Rookie to the class Brett Musick leads the points which may not be a truly huge surprise, but the surprise comes in the fact that he has yet to win an overall. Even 2nd place in points in this class has not won a race. Duck Lloyd has dominated the Junior 25+ class this season and put together strong consistent rides in the Pro Am to settle into 2nd in points and only 16 points behind Musick.
The Pro Am class did finally see a past winner return to the center of the podium. Extreme Dirt Track star Brad Riley posted his second win of the season over the field. Riley began racing motocross nationals last season in hopes of broadening his horizons and found a second home. Riley was injured about mid way through last season but came back in 2013 to take the win at the second round of the Pro Am at Ballance MX Park. (Round 1 was canceled due to rain so the race was dropped from the championship for the Pro Am class) Riley struggled after that win and then didn't make the Wildcat Creek MX. However, upon his return he let everyone know he was back and ready for business.
It is hard to say how this will work out but it will surely be exciting right down to the last moto of the season for Dirt Days at Loretta Lynn's. I would expect that we still have plenty of surprises, drama, excitement and amazement by the final checkers of 2013 and the tension that builds now will only be a distant memory.
With nearly a month of racing off there is surely to be plenty of surprises when the championship resumes at Steel City Raceway. Where will they come from? Who will bring them? And what will they bring? All questions to be answered over the course of the next couple of months and we all will have the answers by mid August when it the dreams and bench racing gears up for 2014.
That's it for now. Till next time, God Bless Your Heart and All Your Vital Organs.