John Natalie continued his impressive streak upon the podium but in Round 3 of the Mtn. Dew ATV Motocross National Championship series it was another Pennsylvania native who took the top honors on Saturday at High Point Raceway in Mount Morris, PA.
Natalie, a MotoSport rider, took the overall win at High Point in 2012, the last time the ATV MX series visited the track but after two hard fought Motos, plus another holeshot win, it was Joel Hetrick who took the overall besting Chad Wienen in a tie-breaker. Natalie, who hails from Warriors Mark, PA, swept third-place in both Motos giving him third overall.
"We're still in the hunt for the championship," Natalie said. "We've kept ourselves where we need to be so we still have a shot at it."
Natalie and his team made some tweaks to his bike in the six weeks since Round 2 resulting in some faster lap times on Natalie's home practice track. He narrowly missed the holeshot in Moto 1 as Wienen took his first one of the season and the two former champions battled for the lead. Hetrick who rounded the first turn in fourth-place crept his way up and passed Natalie for second on Lap 5. By this time, Wienen had already mounted a sizeable lead for first and took the victory.
In Moto 2, it was Natalie, Wienen and Hetrick rounding the first turn. Hetrick passed Wienen on Lap two and took the lead from Natalie on Lap 3. Natalie and Wienen fought for second with Wienen ultimately the victor. Hetrick's dominate win in Moto 2 gave him the overall win over Wienen. Natalie and Wienen are the only riders to finish on the podium every round thus far this year.
John Natalie celebrates on the podium - Photo: Ken Hill
"We had some suspension issues, I'm in shape and the motor is running great, the tires are working great," Natalie said. "I just need to get some suspension testing and the bike dialed in. I'm trying to get somebody else to help out and help with the suspension."
Natalie said when he hits the kicker bumps his rear tires bounce around and he can't steer until the back end is planted. His bike rebounds like a basketball when it should stick and that's when he loses ground to other riders. He is planning suspension testing later this week to get his bike dialed in for Round 4.
"I can run that pace for a while but if the bike is harder to ride and beating you up you can't go as fast for as long because you get tired," he said.
Natalie dropped seven points further behind Wienen in the championship standings but still maintains a hold on second with a slim margin of five points over Hetrick. Natalie remains in first for the Holeshot Championship with six points, four more than second-place Josh Upperman.
Round 4 of the Mtn. Dew ATV MX series is May 31 at Sunset Ridge MX in Walnut, IL.
2014 ATV MX Round 3 Results
- Joel Hetrick (2-1)
- Chad Wienen (1-2)
- John Natalie (3-3)
- Josh Creamer (4-4)
- Thomas Brown (6-5)
- Ronnie Higgerson (10-6)
- Casey Martin (9-8)
- Sean Taylor (8-11)
- Tyler Hamrick (13-7)
- Josh Upperman (5-16)
2014 Mtn. Dew ATV MX Championship Standings
- Chad Wienen (141)
- John Natalie (128)
- Joel Hetrick (123)
- Josh Creamer (95)
- Thomas Brown (91)
- Josh Upperman (90)
- Jeffrey Rastrelli (79)
- Ronnie Higgerson (69)
- Casey Martin (68)
- Tyler Hamrick (57)