ATV Motocross

Site Lap: One Down, Eight to Go!

Site Lap: One Down, Eight to Go!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014 | 11:50 AM
Tuesday, April 1, 2014 | 11:50 AM

Welcome to the “delayed edition” of Site Lap. All apologies but I do have a (few) good excuse(s).  I will quickly list them: 1- I was in a technological hole that had very little if any cell service. (But there was technology…so that won’t work) 2- How about the start of the season and this what seems to be a new era in the Mtn. Dew ATV Motocross National Champion has overwhelmed me? (That’s almost true.)  3- Or maybe I procrastinated so long last week from trying to catch up on so many things from being on the road for three weeks  that on Friday night after setting up for an awesome FMF Steel Creek GNCC I realized….”Uh oh! I didn’t do this week’s contribution?”… Yeah…my money is on #3.

Speaking of the GNCC though it is very noteworthy to mention that 5-Time Defending GNCC ATV Champ Chris Borich finally set the new record for all time wins in GNCC Racing. The number is now 69 and that is even more than the great Barry Hawk who had a combined total of 68 ATV and Motorcycle wins. You may remember that our AMA Pro ATV Champion Chad Wienen spent a good portion of the off season training with Borich and both to me appear to be in peak mental and physical condition.

Chad Wienen got off to a great start for the 2014 ATVMX Season
Chad Wienen got off to a great start for the 2014 ATVMX Season Photo: Ken Hill

Chad Wienen, one has to be impressed with his season opening overall win over a full and healthy gate of competition. I feel that to anyone that watched that battle we are all hoping to see a season chalked full of those kinds of battles. The five rider shootout to the finish was an amazing battle to watch and I know I cannot wait to see what Muddy Creek brings this weekend.

Speaking of Muddy Creek, you may recall the changes that were in progress last year when we were there. After speaking with Victory Sports’ Sam Gammon, it looks like we are in for a huge treat. After the Amsoil Spring National left last season the track underwent a complete transformation for its inaugural running of the Pro Motocross National and from what I understand there are only two jumps that you may recognize. It will feel like a whole new venue I am sure once this weekend passes. Kind of ties in with this whole “New Era” thing I keep talking about.

As far as the season opening Mtn. Dew Georgia National at Aonia Pass a little more than a week ago goes, we were treated to some of the best racing a season opener could ask for. There was a healthy turnout of riders and the competition seemed strong in all the classes. I also recognized a number of new faces on the podium and many even stated it was their first national win. It was so neat to see and very touching when one young man was brought to tears by sharing the joy with his father on the podium during photos. Those are the moments to cherish always in your life. I am sure there are many hoping to achieve that feeling and many as well that can recall how special it was when they were in the same situation. It certainly is a great payoff for the family when that happens and I hope to see much more of this in the future.

Joel Hetrick showed everyone at the first round that he would be a championship contender this year
Joel Hetrick showed everyone at the first round that he would be a championship contender this year Photo: Ken Hill

Classes to watch this season are easy to pick out. All you have to do is pick a race schedule and circle top to bottom. Every race had something to offer it seemed in Georgia. One can only hope that the racing this season is going to be as exciting as it was in Georgia.

The return of Cam Covil was nothing short of the hype. Covil laid down two impressive motos and secured the win over defending Pro Champ Brett Musick and new comer Alex Woskob. This race has set the stage for tomorrows super stars once more. Once this season gets rolling it will be interesting to see what levels these young men will be reaching. They keep setting the bar higher and all the players including Ronnie Higgerson, Tyler Hamrick, Nick Gennusa, Nick Moser, Sean Taylor and more will surely rise to the occasion at some point this season.

If you wonder who Alex Woskob is and where he comes from you are not alone. Woskob is completely new to the ATVMX scene. Actually only racing an ATV for the first time about two months ago, he was able to secure a podium in his first outing ever in the Pro Am class. How do you say? Well Alex worked with John Natalie through the Natalie Experience Program and has more than excelled. Alex used to race on highly competitive level on motorcycle in motocross and said when he first jumped on a quad the first time he felt more at home. I don’t know what the future holds for this young man but it appears it could be a good one. I have to say this may be the most successful move from two wheels to four wheels I have ever seen.

Wienen's teammate Brown on the 84 Yamaha had a consistent first round going 5-5 at Georgia
Wienen's teammate Brown on the 84 Yamaha had a consistent first round going 5-5 at Georgia Photo: Ken Hill

On the Amateur front there were so many great battles. Michelle Manshack and Katie Mette appear to be gearing up for a big season. Manshack took the win and said it was the first time she had been on the podium in about ten years. Way to go girl and Katie say hello to your new competition. And if you wonder what about Chloe Beurtster, she is reportedly sitting the season out and that was all I heard. I am not sure if is to let last season’s injuries heal more or other interests, but whichever the case we all wish her well.

Now, let’s check in with Ken “my wife didn’t recognize me when I got home from the long GNCC and ATVMX season openers” Hill and see what going on in his world.

Thanks Rodney!

If you did not have the opportunity to be at Aonia Pass and watch the opening round first hand, then you my friends missed one of the best motos that have ever been run! It was the most intense battle I have ever had the chance to watch between five of the worlds greatest ATV racers. Now if Jesse Barnes hadn't wrecked causing a jump to be all but shut down, the intensity may have been toned down a bit but not by much. The top five handled the flaggers and emergency personnel like true professionals, and after making their way through that section turned on a firestorm of mechanical intensity that had no rival on any track in any form.

Now Barnes is going to be ok, in fact he may race at round two, I just wanted to get that out there and we wish him the best after his harrowing get off.

Natalie stepped up in moto 2 getting the holeshot and guarding his first place position
Natalie stepped up in moto 2 getting the holeshot and guarding his first place position Photo: Ken Hill

Now when John Natalie ripped the holeshot in the second moto, I knew Wienen was going to get after him immediately but Natalie shut the door and was riding as guarded as I have ever seen him. They were all so close that attempting a pass was sketchy and one could go from 2nd to 5th in a flash! The moto played out strong and in the end, Chad Wienen used his head instead of guts and strolled away from round one with the win.   

Round two should be every bit as exciting and most likely even a faster pace. This is where it is going to keep everyone on their toes as a mistake will be costly and hard to over come as the leaders have already shown that they brought their A game to the 2014 season. This is what the fans want, they want action, they want to see bar to bar battles and I think they will get exactly that and then some!

Don't forget to help spread the word by sharing and liking the series Facebook page as well as Instagram and Twitter accounts. The world isn't looking for us so it is up to everyone to help get the word out!

After one round, Wienen gets to keep his red number plate
After one round, Wienen gets to keep his red number plate Photo: Ken Hill

And one more thing, Griff Cotter was on hand working the MX opener. It was his first ever ATV MX event and the first chance to see you all do your thing. Griff is a player behind the RacerTV scene and here is what he had to say.....

""It opened my eyes to a side of Motorsports I haven't had much experience with. Those guys are fast and any time you get to witness the fastest athletes on the planet doing what they do best is a privilege. I not only had that privilege but was blessed with the opportunity to be a part of the Racer Productions & Victory Sports team that coordinated the event. Now that my first round is in the books, I can't wait to get back out there for what I hope to be a bigger, badder, and faster at round two at Muddy Creek."

The racing at the opening round was solid, with everyone getting to put all that hard training to good use. The atmosphere was great, it seemed like so many just needed to get back to the racing family that even the threat of that dreaded rain word couldn’t bust the spirits or diminish the smiles.

 The top five in the Pro class gave everyone trackside one of the most intense battles ever in a moto and those lined along the track were cheering and really getting in to it. That is great to see and round two should be a round two as it were! The Pro’s have it together and it is indeed anyone’s game this early in the season. It is going to be a great season of racing for the fans and riders as we head off the gate in 2014.

Rastrelli had an impressive first round with a sixth place overall finish
Rastrelli had an impressive first round with a sixth place overall finish Photo: Ken Hill

Stepping just outside the top five, Jeffrey Rastrelli put in an exhaustive off-season and his hard work showed here at the opening round. When the gate dropped, Rastrelli put his JB Racing/Cheerwine Can Am right in the mix with the leaders and hung on to there pace throughout both motos. Seeing the top five listed the best in the world, finishing just behind them for the weekend in sixth is quite an accomplishment a the young Florida rider secured his best ever Pro class finish. seemed to have picked up some speed in the off-season, but what impressed me the most was your endurance here at the opening round. That had to have helped a ton even with the shorter moto format? 

Jeffrey Rastrelli: "My endurance has definitely increased compared to the past years eating right and training hard is the key"

Your corner speed was stout! You charged one particular corner so hard that I actually got nervous! What do you feel is your biggest strength coming into the season?

"I felt my corner speed was a little off even though it's better than previous years. I think my biggest strength coming into this year is my endurance. Once I get the corner speed dialed in then I feel like nothing else can be in the way.

Keep an eye on the #728 of Rastrelli during the 2014 ATVMX Season
Keep an eye on the #728 of Rastrelli during the 2014 ATVMX Season Photo: Ken Hill

I would suggest keeping any eye on Rastrelli in the coming rounds as he fine tunes his riding and makes his way into the top five! Who would you like to thank Jeffrey?

I'd like to thank JB Racing, Cheerwine, CanAm,Makson, ITP Tires & Wheels,SSI Decals, FLY Racing, FMF, DWT,PEP shocks, Powermadd, Renthal, ODI grips. Darrin Thomas and my mom and dad!

See ya'll at round two!

Thanks Ken! And Griffin is quite the young man. He is a huge asset to the team!

That’s it for now. Till next time, God Bless Your Heart and All Your Vital Organs.