Site Lap: That Time of The Year

Site Lap: That Time of The Year

by:
TimeWednesday, November 29, 2017 | 6:45 PM

It’s another great week in the ATV Racin’ Nation and Site Lap is back this week with a few tidbits to appease your appetite in this seemingly long and grueling offseason. The news is sparse but there are a few rumblings taking place in our little racing world. To the average fan of our sport this time is a killer but makes it really exciting anticipating what the new season national championship racing will be like.

Congratulations to Joel Hetrick!
Congratulations to Joel Hetrick! Ken Hill

As far as news there is not a whole lot to report. The annual riders meetings for this years banquet got a little exciting as always. There were some good ideas and some ideas that need work and some that simply won’t work. The great thing is there was a lot of discussion and that always seems to be positive. Now the powers that be must go through all the notes and decide the new or changing directions things may be taking.

The one good thing I took from the AMA Pro ATV riders meeting was the ideas that there needs to be more of a grassroots effort in our sport if we intend to see it grow. There was discussions of making it a regionalized championships and making the Loretta Lynn’s “the National Championship” like the two wheels. Anyone that knows the sport realizes this is a great idea but will take time to develop a system that actually may work. Where does this leave the pros you may ask. The answer is, “with a whole lot of options.” I like the idea but it will need to be well planned and of course supported.

I also like that the Daytona ATV Supercross will be a points race for all the classes that are running. I don’t know the full details on this one yet but I feel it will give folks a lot more incentive to part of the chance to put our sport in front of so many eyes. You may not recognize it yet but the successes that this race shows will reflect the overall growth in our sport in the future. It may take longer than we hope or want it to but there are folks noticing quad racing and its potential.

Chad Wienen and Josh Upperman swapped jersey's at the ATVMX Banquet over the weekend.
Chad Wienen and Josh Upperman swapped jersey's at the ATVMX Banquet over the weekend. Ken Hill

Speaking of racing, this past weekend kicked off the FMF Indoors Series promoted by Victory Sports. Of course there was lots of two wheel action but the four wheels were a big part of the show as well. Tennessee’s Lucas and Silas Lamons were in attendance along with several others that included Noah and Haedyn Mickelson and Grayson Eller. The word on this on is that Noah was on fire. That is no surprise really as he took the win on both Friday and Saturday nights. Haedyn took second and Eller scored a fifth and sixth.

Five time and former champ Chad Wienen has been enjoying his time this offseason. He has been hunting and enjoying life back in Illinois. If you follow his social media you may have seen that he and his whole family spent Thanksgiving doing exactly what families do best during this time of year. And even though he seems in complete relax mode at the moment, Chad is still busy preparing for next season and reclaiming the title from Joel Hetrick. Honestly though Chad seems to be as relaxed as I have seen him in the past six seasons. You can tell he is ready for the challenge that lies ahead to get back on top.

Chad told me yesterday when I contacted him to see how things were going, “All is good in the hood.  I had a great thanksgiving with the family.  We have been getting some nice weather lately so been getting some good seat time and testing in.  The program for 2018 is getting fired up and it’s full steam ahead.  It has been good to be at home and at the same time I am looking forward to getting down to Florida after Christmas.” Which to me sounded like great news. He seems hungrier than he has in some time and this loss of the title this season may have just set the stage for a great season of the quest to regain the number one plate.

Noah Mickelson took home the honors of Amateur Rider of the Year.
Noah Mickelson took home the honors of Amateur Rider of the Year. Ken Hill

Chad also told me he has a riding school scheduled for late December just after Christmas on the 29th and 30th. I have to think that’s a great way to spend the winter break if I was a rider. He said the school would be at Central Florida MX which is just north of Orlando. There are only ten spots available and you can get more information by emailing [email protected].

As far as what you may expect from the school, Chad says, “I will be teaching how to become a safer, faster rider by working on technique in the turns and also in the air.  Also how to get good starts.  And basically getting an edge into the 2018 season.  We will be working on training methods and how to practice efficiently.”  He also said he really likes working with so many people. He said “Working with riders during schools gives me a chance to help riders achieve the personal goals they have set for themselves.  I love this sport and want it to be strong in the future.  Nothing better than to see improvement in riders that put in the extra effort.”  

That’s it for now. Let’s check in with Gloop’s Loop and with Ken “The Road Hunter” Hill. Till next time, God Bless Your Heart and All Your Vital Organs.”

Keeping up with Ken Hill:

As I write this weeks contribution to Site Lap, I want to wish every a belated Happy Thanksgiving! I take my annual pilgrimage to my deer stand and stay there virtually for 3 weeks hoping to harvest a huge buck so the laptop got closed and the rifle loaded right after the banquet. Now its only week two and here I am, laptop open and not sitting in my stand so that could mean a few things. One, I bagged my big buck or two, I haven’t seen a big buck. You guessed it, I haven’t seen anything worth taking and the weather has been a tad on the warm side forcing the deer to move mainly at night so I figured eve though I am technically on vacation, that I would still try and do my part!

The youth ATVMX racers are always a blast to have up on stage.
The youth ATVMX racers are always a blast to have up on stage. Ken Hill

Looking back at the banquet, it appeared everyone had a great time. It is always awesome to listen to the stories as those who graced the stage keyed in on what made their season successful. Amateur and Pro’s all seemed to be on the same page as the night went on and for me the highlight was watching as Joel Hetrick was officially crowned series champion. It has been a long time coming, he paid his dues and earned his number one ranking amongst the best in the world. It was also good to see Chad Wienen humbly and professionally hand the torch to Joel. Chad is a class act, a true champion and it sure did not sound like he was anywhere near ready to step away from the fight for next seasons championship.  

The low point for me, besides the memorial portion where those who have fallen were remembered, was watching Josh Upperman take his final step as he announced his retirement from Pro ATVMX racing. Josh has been a rock in the pro ranks for years and you never knew what was going to happen when the gate dropped. He leaves his mark on our history and walks away healthy and ready for the next chapter in his life. I, as well as everyone I know, wished him the very best in all of his endeavors and a hearty thank you for giving all of us so many great moto’s over the years. 

Kiersten Keane took the overall championship in WMX and Schoolgirl!
Kiersten Keane took the overall championship in WMX and Schoolgirl! Ken Hill

Now we turn our attention to the 2018 season and the new schedule as we all prepare for it and it literally will be here before we know it. Social media is showing signs of riders already back in the gym or hitting dirt as the weather is allowing many in the north east to be riding instead of shoveling snow. I have a feeling it is going to be a wild season not only in the pro class, but in many of the classes that really shined last season. With riders moving up and others digging in, the battles should be epic! 

Thats all from em this week, I am going to haul some firewood then head back to the woods where I have made buddies with just about every squirrel that calls this place home. As always, be safe in all you do and God bless you all!