ATV Motocross

Site Lap: Champions Crowned

Site Lap: Champions Crowned

Wednesday, October 12, 2016 | 3:40 PM
Wednesday, October 12, 2016 | 3:40 PM

The “Night of Champions” banquet and celebration of the 2016 ProX ATV Motocross National Championship this past weekend brought all the stars of the national championship out for another grand affair. The setting and backdrop of the Kalahari Bay Resort was once again perfect as there was something for the entire family. The indoor waterpark, arcade, spa, restaurants and shops offered more than enough to do for everyone. And the great thing about if you couldn’t attend the ceremonies you could watch live on It is also archived so you can go back and check it out for yourself. 

The night had lots of laughs and plenty of good times. There were stories told and secrets revealed. There were some big changes revealed and to say surprising moments may be an understatement. The tentative schedule for 2017 was released with the return to all the popular tracks once again this year. If nothing else I know the dates are fairly secure so you can begin planning that part of the schedule and get yourself ready to face the new challenges of our “new era” of ATVMX. 

Chad Wienen chatted with Rodney Tomblin at the banquet about his fifth-straight championship!
Chad Wienen chatted with Rodney Tomblin at the banquet about his fifth-straight championship! Photo: Ken Hill

There have been a number of changes with teams for next year. Everyone it seems will see at least some subtle changes if not major. There are a number of things still in the works I found out this weekend for many teams and some announcements are due soon. I would expect that the Maxxis/Elka/Liquid Wrench team might have some news soon. I am told it some of the news will be pretty exciting and as the riders go, don’t look for anyone to go anywhere. The team amassed here last season was just the beginning something good. 

The Root River Team will look a bit different next year as we will know more next week according to Rich Gillette. He told me there some things he was working on and would let everyone know soon. One thing I have been told is that Josh Upperman will return as the lead AMA Pro ATV rider. Josh is excited for another year on the team and will actually be making a few changes in his end of the program. Josh from what I understand is going to try and bring some old magic back to his end of the program and will be running a Baldwin Motorsports engine next season. Josh said he really liked the Rage ATV motors he has been running but wanted to try something a little different for next year. Anyone that knows Josh’s history knows he grew up basically riding the Baldwin motors so it may be a good mental boost to his program. 

The Ford Brothers Racing team seemed to have expanded as well. Several folks mentioned they were going to be working with the folks. Nick Gennusa whom we mentioned last week was making a switch to Honda is busy getting new ones while unloading his fully built Yamaha’s at a great price, and he only has one left. Gennusa, who will still be pitted under his tent at the races, will be part of the Ford Brothers Racing program. Ronnie Higgerson will return with Ford Brothers support this year. His Savage Motorsports team last season yielded some great results and Ronnie is poised for his best season yet. Higgerson is without a doubt a great rider with lots of potential. If he can keep things rolling this season is the only question and anyone who has talked with Ronnie knows his wave of confidence is growing. 

Chad Wienen and Joel Hetrick both took home the honors of Fastest Qualifier this year. 
Chad Wienen and Joel Hetrick both took home the honors of Fastest Qualifier this year.  Photo: Ken Hill

Tennessee’s Lucas Lamons will also return to the AMA Pro ATV class and will have something he has never really had much of in the past. Support! The level he is receiving has still yet to be announced but at this point in his career any will be better than none. The team he will be associated with and full details should be available next week and anyone who knows this rider and his history will be satisfied that fate finally may be lending a hand to this rider. Lucas is a well-known Tennessee rider that has always seemed to have the speed but the breaks always fell against him. Lucas is a true great addition to any program as he is the type of pro that has the time for anyone anytime. He is a true ambassador to our sport visiting sick and underprivileged in his community taking the time to talk to anyone anytime and always with an east Tennessee smile. 

Now Five-Time Champ Chad Wienen made his way to the celebration looking refreshed and relaxed after spending some time in the Bahamas and his Florida home over the course of the last few weeks. He said, “Got some goods in the works. Too early to release but very excited for 2017. The Wienen Motorsports Yamaha Team will be back in full force!” Chad seemed more relaxed and casual than he has seemed in a long time at the banquet and at the after party celebrations following.

As far as the silly season goes in our sport I thought it was over but it looks like I may have been wrong. It looks like there is still plenty up in the air but things are starting to settle some. Next week we will have more and am very excited to see the future brings. The “new era” just got better! 

That’s it for me for now. Let’s check in with Gloop’s Loop and with Ken “I’m about in full whitetail mode” Hill. Till next time, God Bless Your Heart and All Your Vital Organs.

In The Loop With Gloop:

We hope you have a speedy recovery Josh Upperman! That was one hard hit at Soaring Eagle...


We'd like to give a Happy Birthday shoutout to Big Jeff Rastrelli!!


Keeping up with Ken Hill:

I must say, the banquet seemed to go off without a hitch and I enjoyed it! Not that I wouldn’t enjoy it, but being inside a building all evening just isn’t me. However, the Kalahari Resort made for another great season ending location and it appeared everyone I saw was having a good time. The biggest issue I have at these things is trying to figure out who people are without riding gear on and from the comments by others I am not alone in that! Swanky clothes all shined up and looking far removed from a muddy motocross race! Style award would have to go to all the ladies… and Chad Wienen. Wienen sported an outfit that really matched him and he again took his role of champion seriously and has been a remarkable ambassador for the series. 

Set your DVR's or watch the Loretta Lynn's ATVMX Show this Saturday, Oct. 15 at 5:30 p.m. on MAVTV!
Set your DVR's or watch the Loretta Lynn's ATVMX Show this Saturday, Oct. 15 at 5:30 p.m. on MAVTV! Photo: Ken Hill

The biggest thing I wanted to see was when Chad and Joel Hetrick had a chance to be next to each other as they accepted a split award and of course the top 10 portion of the ceremony. Joel not only has turned into championship material on the track but off as well, and the way he handled the stress this year as well as his demeanor as he addressed the crowd from the stage just solidified what I have said for years about him maturing and finding his role in all of this. Joel stood next to the man who took him to school this season after an incredibly tough points battle and literally shined as he stood on stage. Chad was just as professional and sincere as he acknowledged that the 2017 season is going to be good and that he will do what is needed to prepare for what Hetrick is sure to bring to the line. I am sure there are some feelings that were suppressed, that’s only natural, but these two racers have shown us all how to get it done in a way that everyone can look up to and support. The eyes of the industry are locked on these guys so what they do, how they do it and the manner in which they do things is important. So, I hope the series and those in this sport can capitalize on it.

Check out the Steven Wotring Memorial Race going on this weekend at Sleepy Hollow Motocross Park! Check out their Facebook Event Page HERE!
Check out the Steven Wotring Memorial Race going on this weekend at Sleepy Hollow Motocross Park! Check out their Facebook Event Page HERE! Photo: Ken Hill

The surprise of having the entire banquet covered and streamed live via RacerTV was awesome and shows me those at the top are doing everything possible to give us all a platform with which to share our lives at the track and showcase who we all are. I get to see a glimpse of the behind the scenes stuff and the incredible stress that goes into these productions so it was with great joy to see Dan Reinhart of RacerTV receive the Media Excellence award! I proudly call Dan a friend and know he is instrumental in making the live broadcasts click in very trying conditions so this award was well earned and I want to wish him a hearty congratulations once again and look forward to where RacerTV can go. 

That is all from me this week and will go further into the banquet in next weeks Site Lap. I hope everyone had a good time and safe travels home, God Bless you all!