ATV Motocross

Site Lap: The Showdown is Over For Now

Site Lap: The Showdown is Over For Now

Wednesday, June 22, 2016 | 2:40 PM
Wednesday, June 22, 2016 | 2:40 PM

The ATV Showdown at Sunset Ridge MX has come and gone and left us with a feeling of an old west shootout. Several people winged and wounded and several surprises that left us with a feeling of wanting more. It was not only an amazing weekend of racing but perfect weather conditions, nighttime activities that will leave us laughing and with great memories for years. Some of those memories include the spectacular track conditions, the Walk for cancer awareness, the live band and fireworks and even wrestling. Yes, I said wrestling. It may have not been “Big Time” wrestling but the fun had by all in attendance been a big time. I am still hoarse from yelling and cheering on Saturday night and would like to say thanks to the entire Pistole family for the warm receptions and great memories.  

88 Live to Ride Foundation had a great table set up with games and donations for the breast cancer awareness ATVMX race. 
88 Live to Ride Foundation had a great table set up with games and donations for the breast cancer awareness ATVMX race.  Photo: Ken Hill

The kickoff to the second half of the 2016 ProX ATV Motocross National Championship series may have left as many questions as it answered. The most important question answered though was that this year was going to be that challenge we expected and most championships across the board are far from settled. The obvious is the AMA Pro ATV battle between four time defending champion Chad Wienen and challenger Joel Hetrick. It was the fifth straight overall win for Hetrick and though points are not gained the pressure may be mounting on the champ as the closing rounds approach.

The big picture as far as the pro championship is that there are 22 points that separate Wienen and Hetrick. Another fact is that Chad is one of the most calculated riders on the racetrack. He seems to know when to push and when not to. The when not to may be the reason he has pulled an amazing podium streak of 47 straight podiums since 2012 after returning from injury from a practice crash in 2011 where he actually won the last race he participated. So actually he has 48 straight podiums if you look at it like that. During the time since his return Chad has accumulated 28 overall wins with a career total of 36 overall wins since 2007 and has obviously earned a place as one of the sports greatest of all time.

Chad Wienen airs it out over the uphill at his hometown race.
Chad Wienen airs it out over the uphill at his hometown race. Photo: Ken Hill

The past statistics will not be what wins a championship for either rider. They both must be looking forward and never back at this point. What was is over and what is to come is all new for both riders. Chad’s seasoned role as champion has him in the driver’s seat but the Joel’s momentum and maturing ways are positioning him make a true run for the title. It is still a long way to get there and Chad still has a firm grasp on the coveted prize. Do not for one moment think he will let go easily.

The rest of the racing was equally as exciting on the grand scale with some scary moments in the Pro Am class. A first turn crash in moto one on Sunday by class contender Cole Sepesi took him out of the picture for the day and quite possibly a few rounds. Reports following the race say that he is good and it was a very serious accident and that a prompt and accurate response from the medical team at Sunset Ridge MX helped to ensure that. A get well soon to Cole and any of those injured this past weekend and season. It is a long season and as it often does is taking its toll on the ATV Racin’ Nation.

The racing in the Pro Am class was again off the hook and a great spectacle to watch. Westley Wolfe and Brett Musick battled it out relentlessly in both motos before Wolfe was able to capture his first win in the Pro Am class of ATVMX. He says he feels his conditioning is strong from racing GNCC so he positioned himself and waited till the end when “I knew he was getting tired and I made the pass.” Congratulations to Westley on his first Pro Am win and knowing he is capable of wins and second place in points may help gain momentum to be in the fight for the title till the bitter end.

Some high flying took place in Illinois over the weekend.
Some high flying took place in Illinois over the weekend. Photo: Ken Hill

The WMX presented had some great battles once again as well. My apologies to Andrea Berger from Reedsville, WI. She actually finished third overall but somehow Aubre King mistakenly joined the podium in that position and I didn’t catch it till it was way too late. I am not sure what the confusion was for certain but Andrea should have been on the podium with Michelle Jenkins and Megan Shepherd. Andrea finished fourth in her one and only other appearance at Ironman ATVMX and finished fifth in moto one and third in moto two to pull this off. So again, congratulations and apologies to Andrea on a spectacular finish. Something tells me though she may back at Millville and could get her redemption.

I do want to give a big shoot out to Keirsten Keane whom has shown remarkable advancements in her racing career in 2016. Keane always an fierce opponent has seemed to turn the corner to become a true competitor in the is class this season. She has grabbed some pretty good starts and turned them into positive results. Its not much of a surprise really as she has shown continued development on the bigger quads since her youth racing days and as she matures we may see even more advancement in speed and strength. Keane nearly took a podium finish this past weekend but an unfortunate get together when lines came together put her off the machine and back to eighth to finish sixth overall. This may signal the arrival of new competition the rest of the season.

Noah Mickleson (#100) and Logan Stanfield (#55) were a pair to watch during their B class races. 
Noah Mickleson (#100) and Logan Stanfield (#55) were a pair to watch during their B class races.  Photo: Ken Hill

One rider I feel deserves some recognition this week is Logan Stanfield. Logan is the #55 we have watched grow through the ranks with Noah Mickleson, Cody Ford, Grayson Eller, Allen Meyers and the bunch. Recently though we have recognized some major strides in his performance. It was noted in Texas and now it is apparent this kid has arrived to the B class. He took two overall wins this weekend. One in the Open B class and one in the Production B class. It was his first win in the Open class this season and the third win in the Production class this season. He has been working with Travis Moore and the 969 Motorsports Training Program which has yielded him great success but this past weekend he may have settled right in to where he hoped to be. If his riding this weekend in the rough conditions are any indication though he may have raised the bar in the classes and if so, this show has gotten even better even though may not seem possible.

The last thing I would like to mention this week is strong and hungry rides by Sky Volkamer. Sky made some big strides I feel this past weekend as well and even though he just missed the podium for the win, he has a lot to look forward to. He is another rider who has been putting in the hard work and it is noticed. The results may not scream his efforts yet but I say keep an eye on him in the 450A and the College (16-24) classes. He now leads the points in the 450 A class and if his performance level continues to elevate may soon become a contender in the highly competitive College class.

That’s it for me for now. Let’s check into Gloop’s Loop and with Ken “chillin’ like a villain” Hill. Till next time, God Bless Your Heart and All Your Vital Organs.

In The Loop with Gloop:

Thomas Brown is still recovering from his crash at Monster Mountain, but he looks to be 100% by Millville!


Cole Sepesi went down hard in Pro-Am on Sunday at Sunset Ridge. Everyone make sure to send him your prayers. Heal up fast Cole!


Keeping up with Ken Hill: 

Holy sunshine! How great was it to have a weekend void of rain! I for one was very happy and even though it was warm, it was doable and not too hot and it sure made for a very enjoyable weekend! The breeze kept things moving and if I could order weather for every race weekend it would virtually mimic what was on tap at Sunset Ridge! And that track! We all know usually the weather plays into how well a track ends up being and I would have to say the crew did a good job, as the track was probably the best it has ever been overall. 

The battles were on at Sunset Ridge!
The battles were on at Sunset Ridge! Photo: Ken Hill

The racing all weekend was great with some good battles in just about every class. This track offers so much diversity in its layout and soil that it will test those that are not in peak shape and conditioning and it will put your set up to a very demanding through one wild lap after another. I know the teams have some history here and can usually get things on point but for the amateurs this can be a huge undertaking as dialing in the suspension for whooped out sand, loamy turns and a few big hits along the way. I watched several times as a rider would seemingly be ripping through a section and catch a kicker or slight depression that sent them all over the place. Sunset has been rougher for sure but it is never an easy track! I did like the shorter track they gave us in a way although I lost a section that I usually love to shoot. Photographing this event gets harder as the day wears on due to the big berms that get created by the racing and in some of the youth classes you can not see the rider in a turn that was fully visible earlier in the day!  

Nick Gennusa earned his first third place finish after moto 2 in the AMA Pro ATV class over the weekend. 
Nick Gennusa earned his first third place finish after moto 2 in the AMA Pro ATV class over the weekend.  Photo: Ken Hill

The pro race was solid with Hetrick and Wienen swapping moto wins to keep the points virtually dead even as we head to Spring Creek. There has been a ton of chatter online regarding points and how they are calculated but that isn’t my area of discussion other than to say every pro knows the system before the gate drops at round one so if anyone needs to promote change then you need to start long before round seven. Points aside, moto one was all Wienen and moto two was all Hetrick as once again they each took a win and both fairly convincingly. It was cool to hear from the podium how they both made mistakes proving how tricky this track was to run at their speeds. Nick Gennusa was flying in moto two capturing his best finish thus far in his pro career and that took some doing on this track! It is always cool to see someone who works relentlessly finally make some progress, as Nick seemed to be up against a wall the past few rounds. David Haagsma put together a good ride here at Sunset and found the podium with a solid third which was really cool seeing just a few rounds back he commented on his need to train harder to run at the speeds he was up against and that is exactly what he did. John Natalie arrived on the podium for his holeshot award and when he removed his helmet he showed the signs of battle as blood flowed from a nice gash, which was the result of smashing his face off his handlebars. Knowing John, he probably bent the bars and stem! Brett Musick claimed a holeshot as well and is becoming a threat right from the start so keep an eye on him as he works on keeping that momentum for better and better finishes. 

That is all from me this week as I try and keep this one short and get back to work before leaving again. One more back to back weekends after this one and some of us catch a break sort of! Be safe in your travels and we will see everyone soon at Spring Creek! 


Tune in Saturday, June 25 for an all-new ATVMX feature show at 3:30 p.m. ET on MAVTV from Muddy Creek in Blountville, TN, round 3 of the 2016 ProX ATV Motocross National Championship presented by CST Tires, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing (ATVMX). 

Nick Gennusa earned his first third place finish after moto 2 in the AMA Pro ATV class over the weekend. 
Nick Gennusa earned his first third place finish after moto 2 in the AMA Pro ATV class over the weekend.  Photo: Ken Hill