John Natalie needed six more points than Thomas Brown to finish in third-place for the 2014 Mtn. Dew ATV Motocross Championship season but a crash in Moto 1 for Round 9 at Loretta Lynn's on Saturday ended any hopes to step on the podium.
Natalie went tire-to-tire with the already crowned champion Chad Wienen in that first Moto when the now three-time defending champion took the holeshot and Natalie attempted to pass on the first lap but bumped into Wienen.
"I tried to go to the inside of him and hit a breaking bump (kicker). I popped into Wienen and it sent my bike tumbling. It wasn't a bad wreck but enough to shut the bike off."
Natalie was down by half a lap before he got restarted and battled back to the 11th position but, as has happened all year, mechanical issues - this time a broken tie rod - ended his Moto early and he took 15th. Despite not needing to race, Weinen went on to win the Moto and the overall - his seventh of the season.
Natalie took fourth in Moto 2 for eighth overall. He came close to passing the third- and second-place riders but just ran out of time. He ended in fourth-place for the season.
It was a disappointing year because of all the mechanical issues, Natalie said. He started the season on the podium for three straight rounds but encountered suspension problems that bounced him all over the track. Then motor problems set him back and a broken shock. He grabbed second overall, just the fourth time this season on the podium, in Round 8 when Wienen wrapped up the Championship.
"We had the speed and talent just not the consistency," he said. "I want to come back and win the championship."
Next year, Natalie said he and his team need to get the bikes built much more ahead of time and conduct extensive pre-race homework. He'd also like to get a schedule going so they know exactly what they're doing every race.
Natalie did win the Holeshot Championship Award for the season which he said is a positive and shows he's doing his job on the track and his reaction time is holding up.
"It's key to winning the championship," he said of taking the holeshot.
Overall, Josh Creamer won Moto 2 for his first Moto win of the season. Combined with his fourth-place showing in Moto 1, Creamer took second-overall in Round 9. Thomas Brown went 2-3 for third overall which wasn't enough to pass Joel Hetrick for second-place on the year. Hetrick went 3-8 for fourth-overall in Round 9. Hetrick took second on the Championship podium by just two points over Brown. Natalie ended 23 points back of Brown. Wienen ended the season with 430 points, 91 more than Hetrick.
2014 ATV MX Round 9 Results
- Chad Wienen (1-2)
- Josh Creamer (4-1)
- Thomas Brown (2-3)
- Joel Hetrick (3-8)
- Josh Upperman (5-5)
- Sean Taylor (9-6)
- Vital Cazenave (8-7)
- John Natalie (15-4) - MotoSport rider
- Jeffrey Rastrelli (6-12)
- Joe Byrd (7-13)
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)
Written By: AndrewT