AXTON, Va. (August 26, 2020) – After an extended break between rounds along with a venue change to add to the mixture, the 2020 ATV Motocross National Championship Series, an AMA National Championship, continues to showcase some of the greatest battles the series has seen. With the season pushed further into the fall months and the cancellation of the Loretta Lynn’s round, Lake Sugar Tree in Axton Virginia would host the seventh round of racing.
Joel Hetrick took home the overall win after going 1-1 on the day. Photo: Ken Hill
For many, this style of track was going to be a real challenge as the high speeds many are used to wasn’t going to be as much of a factor as technique on soil that remained hard packed and slick. There were option lanes to allow passing however, the rains leading up to the event had changed the surface enough that traction to apply power for a pass was going to be difficult.
With the points race still a knock down drag out affair between current points leader Wienen Motorsports/Yamaha/Maxxis’ Chad Wienen and current defending champion, Phoenix Racing Honda/Maxxis/Elka’s Joel Hetrick, a new venue was going to add another unknown factor to this chaotic and stress filled season. Hetrick was positive after the first timed qualifier and stated he liked the track and felt strong.
The story was much the same with Wienen as he too seemed to like the track and rode to the line knowing he had to hit all his marks regardless of what Hetrick had in store for him. Several rounds ago Wienen had exclaimed he had found some speed and it’s been on display ever since as the multi-time champion has been charging hard and once again holds the red plate signifying the points lead. In any event, the gate was loaded and things were about to sort themselves out.
One unique feature here at Lake Sugar Tree is a downhill start which added some “new” for the fans lined along the fences. A good start was going to be imperative here as it is in so many races however with limited passing and the wild card of this new track being attacked at race speed, tensions and nerves were running high. The gate dropped and indeed it was the familiar Honda of Hetrick powering his way to the holeshot as everyone worked the big sweeping right hander and immediately into a set of uphill jumps. Traction was paramount as riders swapped positions nonstop in the first few turns and the lead pack quickly found themselves fighting for position. Corrosion Specialties/Londerville Steel/Maxxis’ Brandon Hoag, Phoenix Racing Honda’s Noah Mickleson and Wienen all capitalized on a solid start as Nine6Nine/Barker’s Exhaust Walsh Race Crafts’ Alan Myers, GennUSA Racing/CST Tires/Corrosion Specialties’ Nick Gennusa and TBrown84 Training/CST Tires’ Thomas Brown all were fighting it out as the valley came alive with the sound of pro riders hard on the throttle.
With Hetrick out front, Wienen was having to handle a very hard charging Hoag as he searched for a line that would allow him the pass. The racing was intense behind them as Myers, Gennusa and Brown continued to size each other up. For Wienen, there was no time to waste as he knew every second Hetrick spent unchallenged was precious time he couldn’t make up. Wienen would work around Hoag and start to try and cut down on Hetrick’s lead. Hoag would unfortunately be unable to finish the race day after crashing out in moto one. Hetrick Racing/FTR Graphics/Nine2/Fly Racing’s Westley Wolfe was making hay when the sun was shining, finishing fourth in moto one.
The moto would come to a close with Hetrick, Wienen and Brown taking the top three finishing positions. If there was work that needed to be done in moto two the crews were on it as the riders all discussed the highs and lows of the moto, Lake Sugar Tree was going to test them.
The moto two start was off and running as once again Hetrick pulled the holeshot followed by Brown and Wienen. Wienen wanted this win for his own reasons as well as every point it could afford him. Hetrick needed the win as he could not afford to leave a single point on the table if he plans on defending his title. The points and wins may be an afterthought for the riders once the gate drops, but for the fans and teams every mistake and every gain is seen and felt and expressed through cheers and the occasional crowd groan.
The race for the win was being played out especially in two different sections. One section, Hetrick clearly dominated and could pull a gap however in the very next section, Wienen commanded the upper hand and would reel him in. The two played this cat and mouse game to no avail as the slight mistake Hetrick needed to make and the highest chance Wienen could be close enough to capitalize on it never really appeared.
Brown was sitting back in third as the moto wore on and things started stretching out. The moto would end without incident or much excitement as Hetrick took the checkered flag happy to have secured the win and earn back a few extra points. Wienen is a veteran of so many of these battles he knows the game isn’t over until it’s over and he has just a few more races to make something happen so it doesn’t come down to a single moto championship race. With another new venue in Texas on the horizon, we all face another set of unknowns adding to the bizarre season we’ve all had to face. Thomas Brown has announced that this will be his final season and looks forward to retirement and life after racing. Brown finished 3rd here at Lake Sugar Tree and has only a few rounds left to fulfill his quest to go 1-1.
Westley Wolfe had his best overall finish of the season with a fourth in the AMA Pro class. Photo: Ken Hill
Wolfe would have an impressive ride going 4-6 for fourth overall as he continues to be a gladiator in the series running pro in two national championships. A great addition to both types of racing and a good ambassador for the industry, Wolfe will be charging hard for a podium finish as we look towards the close of the 2020 season.
Nine6Nine/Corrosion Specialties/Maxxis/Barker’s Exhaust’s Logan Stanfield has been putting in the work in between rounds and came out swinging in Virginia. Up to this point, his efforts in the pro class have been average as his finishes have him unable to break into the top ten. Stanfield and his teams efforts really shined here as he claimed 7-5 for fifth overall finally breaking out and gaining some much needed confidence.
The series heads to Three Palms in Conroe Texas over the September 18-20th weekend. With nearly a month break, the riders should be looking to seek redemption in the lone star state as others will be pushing for championships. The final two rounds could become legendary as we face another highly heated contention for the pro class championship.
Lake Sugar Tree ATVMX National
Round 7 of 10
August 22, 2020
2020 AMA Pro Class Event Results:
- Joel Hetrick (1-1)
- Chad Wienen (2-2)
- Thomas Brown (3-3)
- Westley Wolfe (4-6)
- Logan Stanfield (7-5)
- Jeffrey Rastrelli (6-7)
- Nick Gennusa (5-9)
- Alan Myers (8-8)
- Bryce Ford (14-4)
- Wes Lewis (10-11)
Overall National Championship Standings:
- Chad Wienen (299)
- Joel Hetrick (292)
- Thomas Brown (243)
- Bryce Ford (204)
- Alan Myers (190)
- Westley Wolfe (185)
- Brandon Hoag (184)
- Nick Gennusa (176)
- Wes Lewis (138)
- Jeffrey Rastrelli (127) Logan Stanfield (127)
For more information on the 2020 ATV Motocross National Championship, visit the series official website at www.atvmotocross.com or call (304) 284-0101. Join the conversation on the series social media channels, along with receiving the most up-to-date news and exclusive content.