John Natalie needed a win on Saturday at Unadilla for Round 7 of the 2014 Mtn. Dew ATV Motocross National Championship series to keep pace with points leader Chad Wienen but now he's fighting just to land on the podium at the end of the year with two rounds remaining.
Natalie grabbed the holeshot in Moto 1 adding to his lead in the Holeshot Championship award, but on lap four a broken shock forced him to end the race early and he settled for 12th place. Wienen ultimately won that Moto and Moto 2 for his second sweep of the season, his third straight at Unadilla, and he now holds a commanding 64-point lead over second-place Joel Hetrick.
Natalie took sixth-place in Moto 2 for eighth overall, his lowest finish of the season. He dropped out of third place in the Championship standings and is 11 points behind the surging Thomas Brown who took second overall. Brown was 37 points behind Natalie after Round 3, he took the overall in Round 4 and has been on the podium ever since.
John Natalie at Unadilla - Photos: Ken Hill
Natalie started the season strong running neck and neck with Wienen who is looking for his third straight crown. Natalie has faced suspension issues, which he fixed, then motor problems and now a broken shock in the round that he needed most to win.
Wienen can win the championship in two weeks, with still one round remaining, if he finishes with more than 50 points over whoever is in second place. Natalie is still alive for the championship, mathematically, but it would essentially take four straight Moto wins to end the season and Wienen to more or less drop out of the final two rounds. Much more realistic is taking second-place which Natalie held on to for the first four rounds of the season. He's 21 points behind Hetrick - in Round 5 both riders were tied in points.
Round 8 of the ATV MX series continues July 26 at RedBud in Buchanan, MI. Check out the full schedule and click here for directions.
2014 ATV MX Round 7 Results
- Chad Wienen (1-1)
- Thomas Brown (3-2)
- Jeffrey Rastrelli (2-5)
- Josh Creamer (6-3)
- Josh Upperman (5-4)
- Joel Hetrick (4-7)
- Ronnie Higgerson (8-8)
- John Natalie (12-6) - MotoSport rider
- Cody Janssen (9-9)
- Preston Young (7-12)
2014 Mtn. Dew ATV MX Championship Standings
- Chad Wienen (333)
- Joel Hetrick (269)
- Thomas Brown (259)
- John Natalie (248) - MotoSport rider
- Josh Upperman (232)
- Josh Creamer (212)
- Jeffrey Rastrelli (189)
- Ronnie Higgerson (148)
- Tyler Hamrick (141)
- Sean Taylor (125)