Phoenix Racing Honda’s Joel Hetrick Takes Second Overall at Sunset Ridge Grayson Eller Sweeps 450A Motos, Extends Points Lead
Phoenix Racing Honda Team rider Grayson Eller swept the 450 A motos to score his second victory of the season during a muddy and slick AMA ATV Motocross National Championship race at Sunset Ridge MX in Walnut, IL. Pro rider Joel Hetrick finished second, ahead of teammate Haedyn Mickelson scored a season best top five in moto one. Noah Mickelson was second in Pro-Am.
Muddy conditions prevailed with heavy downpours throughout the weekend. Eller was ready, though and with his 20-inch Maxxis tires, he used the muddy conditions to his advantage in the first moto to make a late pass for the win. In the second moto he scored his first holeshot of the season and led every lap. Eller also finished fourth in Open Pro Sport.
“I gave my dad the best gift he could have for Father’s Day: a holeshot and an overall win,” said Eller. “I got a good start in the first moto and was running second. The leader hit a big puddle and started to bog so that gave me the win. In the second moto on Sunday, the track turned out really well. I pulled my first holeshot of the year and I protected my line really well.”
Hetrick won the top qualifier award during qualifying, which was held in dry conditions. Then the heavens opened and Hetrick held strong in the mud to ride through the field and finish first in the first moto. In the second moto, while pushing for third a mechanical issue slowed his charge and he held on to finish 10th. Hetrick remains second in points with the runner-up finish.
“This was the muddiest race we’ve had in years,” explained Hetrick. “It’s a tough break but we still have a lot of racing left. Anything can happen in the rain, and I just had some bad luck. I just need to keep winning motos. I’ve won eight motos and I’m the fastest guy on the track. We’ll keep pushing.”
Haedyn Mickelson scored his best finish of the season in Pro moto one, scoring fifth. The team pushed hard to ready his quad for the second moto. Mickelson left the start line to address a safety issue and was disqualified from the second moto. He still finished 12th overall.
“I was really happy with the first moto finish,” said Haedyn Mickelson. “The machine was running great and Doug Roll got the Elka suspension working perfectly in the mud. That’s what made it such a bummer to miss the second moto. But that’s how things work sometimes. We know we’re making progress and things are definitely moving in the right direction. We’re looking forward to Unadilla.”
In Pro-Am, Noah Mickelson also fought his way through the mud to go 3-2 in the motos for a second place overall. He remains second in points, just 18 points out of the lead.
“I was feeling healthy and strong,” said Noah Mickelson. “Unadilla is next. I got my first Pro-Am win there last year, so I’m really looking forward to it. The Maxxis tires were awesome. I pulled the holeshot in the second moto by quite a margin so I was pumped with that.”
Next up for the Phoenix Racing Honda racing team is Unadilla in New Berlin, NY, a favorite among fans and racers alike. The event is scheduled for June 29-30.