SEWARD, Pa. (July 9, 2020) – The points battle leading into round five of the 2020 ATV Motocross National Championship (ATVMX) Series, an AMA National Championship, was already close with the current champion, Phoenix Racing Honda/Maxxis/Elka’s Joel Hetrick, holding the edge of a sword that has been known to cut both ways this year. This round of racing was held in conjunction with the Jeremiah Jones ATV Championship at Pleasure Valley Raceway in Seward, Pennsylvania run by Jeff Cernic.
The historic battled continued to keep the fans excited as Wienen Motorsports/Yamaha/Maxxis’ Chad Wienen continued to keep pushing forward in another attempt to regain the series points lead. The rivalry that is now several seasons old would set out to battle on the Fourth of July weekend, with everyone being able to enjoy an epic showdown filled with patriotic celebrations. To earn this win would also mean an incredible amount to any racers as the legend Jeremiah Jones was in attendance
With the gate loaded for moto one the anxiety began to rise for Hetrick, this being a hometown track, a win here would serve double duty. The track itself played well into Hetrick’s skill set as hard packed tracks tend to allow Hetrick to open up, and he would clinch the Fastest Qualifier Award. The track has seen some revisions over the years, so it was a new track for the racers to tame as it featured a few sections that would really test endurance, speed and the ability to make it all work. Hard pack, loose loam, you name it and this track offered it with plenty of rough ground that meant even more attention as several sections offered multiple passing options.
The gate would fall as Hetrick powered his way to the front quickly claiming the holeshot and applying the speed needed to open the moto with confidence as he led the racers through the first few sections. While Hetrick’s speed is insane, the official lap times showed that Wienen was just a second or two slower through the first few laps. It was becoming very clear that the Wienen we were seeing really wanted to take the fight to Hetrick as he continually ran up on him to challenge for the lead. With the option lines available, several hard charges nearly put the two bar-to-bar as the crowds cheered them on. It took a few laps for things to get sorted out behind the leaders and it was rookie Ford Brothers Racing/Baldwin/Maxxis’ Bryce Ford holding his own in the third position as he was looking to have a very solid moto. Ford has been very reserved so far this season acknowledging that there is so much to learn, and that he is doing everything he can to ride smart as he absorbs the on track schooling. The lessons are hard however the young Texan looked primed to do real damage as he charged ahead.
The race wore on as there was no clear answer to who was going to out race the other as Hetrick continued to keep Wienen in check as the pair shadowed each other relentlessly. Halfway through lap eight tragedy would strike as the number one ride of Hetrick came to a smoky halt as a mechanical failure would decide the outcome of this moto. With Wienen now at the reigns, a very dejected Hetrick could only watch in disbelief as the race fell to his competitor. There was no huge celebration as Wienen cleared the finish line as he knew he did not beat Hetrick and that is exactly what he needs to do. Racing is racing and while not satisfied with the win, Wienen would gladly take the points from the moto win as Hetrick was towed back to his pits
The battle for second was heating up immensely as Ford continued to hold his own after a battle ensued with TBrown84 Training/CST Tires’ Thomas Brown. Brown would manage to take away Ford’s second place position after Brown did not get the greatest jump off the gate. A solid effort from Brown during moto one with an ecstatic Ford claiming P3 in this explosive first moto.
With the fans buzzing about Hetrick’s misfortune and his team absorbing the impact of what one bad moto can mean again this season, the pro pits were filled with work as everyone made adjustments based on how things felt on a very brutal track. Wienen seemed content stating that they had found a few things and addressed their set up in the free time leading to not only this round but also the previous where we would see Wienen standing tall before his hometown crowd with a huge win. There was one more moto to go and having a fired up Hetrick to deal with is a huge obstacle when it comes to finding a win as the gate was loaded for the final time.
The engines screamed as the gate fell and the racers worked the uphill start all looking for an advantage. Wienen would be out front as well as Hetrick and Ford, who was now looking to start leaving his own mark on this event. The battle between Hetrick and Wienen would not be as intense this moto and on lap four Hetrick would pass Wienen for the lead as the pair pulled away from the rest of the field. Brown would nearly have a moto exactly like the first with a start that forced him to spend loads of energy as he worked his way to third. For Ford, he would score one lap in third then fall to fourth as the moto came to an end. Hetrick would clear the finish line again, with no celebration as he knew despite his moto two efforts, this day fell to Wienen. After going 1-2 on the day, Wienen would earn his third overall win of the season. Brown would celebrate after an exhaustive day with a well-earned second and would be joined by Ford who would get his first trip to the pro podium in his young career with a third overall
The day wasn’t in everyone’s favor as several riders seem to still be missing a piece of the puzzle even after solid efforts. GennUSA Racing/CST Tires/Corrosion Specialties’ Nick Gennusa and Nine6Nine/Barker’s Exhaust/Walsh Race Craft’s Alan Myers would go P4 and P5 respectively marking a solid day however they know they have more to offer and it will be of no surprise to see either of them on the podium.
Phoenix Racing Honda’s Jeffrey Rastrelli looked strong in practice, but would suffer a harrowing crash in the second moto. Rastrelli stated that he is recovering from a shoulder injury, but will be back to racing at the next round.
The points now reside in Wienen’s hands as the series prepares for the legendary Redbud MX venue. This race has been one of Wienen’s favorites for many years and he has a long standing history of knocking down wins here. The past few seasons Hetrick has unpolished Wienen’s shine as the pair has swapped wins so expect another intense race.
Pleasure Valley Results and Points Standings
Round 5 of 10
July 4, 2020
2020 AMA Pro Class Event Results:
Chad Wienen (1-2)
Thomas Brown (2-3)
Bryce Ford (3-4)
Nick Gennusa (7-5)
Alan Myers (6-6)
Joel Hetrick (17-1)
Brandon Hoag (5-8)
Westley Wolfe (8-7)
Jeffrey Rastrelli (4-16)
Troy Hill (10-10)
Overall National Championship Standings:
Chad Wienen (205)
Joel Hetrick (198)
Thomas Brown (163)
Brandon Hoag (150)
Bryce Ford (145)
Alan Myers (133)
Westley Wolfe (125)
Nick Gennusa (117)
Jeffrey Rastrelli (98)
Troy Hill (94)