Photo: Ken Hill
The 2015 Mtn. Dew ATV Motocross National Championship gives fans and riders a sneak preview into the season with an unprecedented date at the Daytona International Raceway on Tuesday on a genuine Supercross track.
The 15 lap race, held on the grassy area of the famous raceway where Supercross held Round 10 of its season on Saturday, officially kicks off the 2015 season as points count towards the Championship run. But perhaps more importantly, it does signify the increased popularity of the sport, provides national exposure and for the competitors nothing they've ever done before.
The official 2015 ATV Motocross season starts March 21 at Echeconnee MX in Lizella, GA. Entering its 29th season, the nine round Championship series stretches through July and hits all the iconic Motocross tracks in the Midwest and east coast. Organizers bill this year as the most anticipated season yet and for good reason.
MotoSport rider John Natalie is back but this year he can give all the technical reigns to his new team with Baldwin Motorsports Honda. Last year, Natalie hung tough with eventual champion Chad Wienen for a bit but struggled down the stretch with suspension problems, motor issues and other bits of bad luck that took him out of contention. He finished the year in fourth.
Natalie, who won the Holeshot Championship Award last year, said at the conclusion of the 2014 season he had the speed and talent just not the consistency. He started the 2014 campaign on the podium the first three rounds before trouble started brewing. Now with a team backing him he can focus on racing. Natalie, the 2011 Champion, replaces Josh Upperman on the team who is now with Root River Racing.
Wienen's 2014 Championship run gave him three straight, just the second rider to do so, and he also joined an elite group of now four riders in the history of the ATV MX Championship to win three times. He can become just the second rider to win four if he pulls off another Championship run this year. Gary Denton is the all-time king with eight titles from 1986 to 1994.
Joel Hetrick, the 2014 runner-up, is on a new ride, switching from Can-Am to Honda, and started the Corrosion/Hetrick Racing team. Thomas Brown, third last year just two points from Hetrick, has also started his own team after leaving Wienen Motorsports.
Josh Creamer, the 2010 Champion and always a podium threat, recently announced his decision to retire from the sport.
The inaugural Daytona ATV Supercross gets underway at 11:30 a.m. (EST) with the first Heat race and the Main event at 3 p.m. (EST) Tuesday at Daytona International Speedway.
2014 Mtn. Dew ATV MX Championship Standings - Final
- Chad Wienen (430)
- Joel Hetrick (339)
- Thomas Brown (337)
- John Natalie (314) - MotoSport rider
- Josh Upperman (298)
- Josh Creamer (285)
- Jeffrey Rastrelli (244)
- Tyler Hamrick (183)
- Sean Taylor (176)
- Ronnie Higgerson (174)