Motoworks / Can-Am DS 450 racer and Pennsylvania native John Natalie won the ATV Pro class overall at round six of the 2012 AMA ATV Motocross National Championship Series at High Point Raceway in Mt. Morris, Pa. Despite feeling sick, Natalie, the defending AMA ATV MX Champion, notched 1-2 moto finishes on his way to his second consecutive series victory. Motoworks / Can-Am teammate Joel Hetrick finished fifth overall to retain his third place spot in the Pro class rankings.
“I can’t say enough about the effort put in by defending national champion John Natalie. He put his Motoworks / Can-Am DS 450 out front in both motos and pushed through fatigue and sickness to post another big victory for both himself and our team,” said Jimmie O’Dell, Race Manager, Can-Am. “John could have easily coasted out there, but he proved he’s determined to repeat as the AMA ATV MX Champion and that nothing’s going to stand in his way. Joel Hetrick had a good weekend, too, earning the fastest qualifier award, yet again, leading both motos, and earning another top-five finish despite a few issues in each moto.”
In the first moto, Natalie grabbed the holeshot and jumped out to early lead, as his teammate Hetrick was right behind him. By lap three, Hetrick had passed Natalie for the lead. He held that spot for two full laps before dropping to seventh at one point due to a broken throttle housing after a hard landing on a downhill triple jump. Hetrick’s misfortune allowed Natalie to regain the moto-one lead and the defending champion held it to the end to notch his third straight moto victory and put himself in contention for the race overall. Hetrick pitted to have the throttle assembly repaired and he came back strong to pick off three racers for an impressive fourth-place finish in the first Pro moto.
The second Pro class moto Natalie and Hetrick were both in the top five after the first lap. After the race leader went off the track, Hetrick moved into second behind Natalie. One lap later, Hetrick posted the fastest lap of the race and took over the lead as Natalie dropped to third. However, during lap six, Hetrick fell to third due to a mechanical issue and that allowed Natalie to regain second place. Natalie chose to ride smart and remain in second place, knowing he had the overall wrapped up. His 1-2 moto scores were good for race overall and his second consecutive Pro class victory. He’s now just 13 points out of first place with four rounds remaining on the season.
“I haven’t been feeling too hot the past few days and I’m not going to lie, there were times out there when I felt like giving up,” said Natalie. “The biggest thing that kept me going was hearing the fans cheering as we went by. That was amazing and couldn’t have made it through without them.”
Hetrick battled the rest of the race to remain in the top five. His machine suffered from a damaged ignition coil connector wire, which resulted in a loss of power. However, his two moto finishes were good for fifth place overall on the weekend and maintained his current third-place position in the Pro class point standings.
Can-Am X-Team racer Cole Henry earned third place overall in the Pro-Am Unlimited class, while his younger brother Chase took the overall win in the Production A. Other Amateur Can-Am racers who posted class wins during the weekend were Travis Spader (Open A, 4-Stroke A, Junior 25+), Merrill Crose (Vet 30+) and C.J. Dollarhide (Open B).
The 2012 AMA ATV MX series resumes with round seven June 29 to July 1 at Sunday Creek in Millfield, Ohio. For more information on Can-Am racing, the entire 2012 schedule, the ’12 contingency program and DS 450 amateur racer support program, please visit www.can-amxteam.com.
Images courtesy of Bombardier Recreational Products