John Natalie endured another setback in his recovery from a crash on May 2 at Muddy Creek and plans to sit out for Round 7 of the 2015 Mtn. Dew ATV Motocross National Championship on Saturday at Spring Creek in Minnesota.
Natalie started riding the week prior to Round 6 two weeks ago and was expected to line up behind the gates at Sunset Ridge but ended up back in the hospital with fluid in his lungs, an on-going problem that has curbed his recovery. The crash resulted in a bruised heart, a collapsed lung and some broken ribs. Earlier this month he developed a cellulitis infection that required IV treatment. Last week a chest tube was inserted to remove more fluid from his lung and doctors said they were surprised he could breathe with all the build-up.
Then on Monday it was discovered that fluid was building up again in his lung and he'll be reevaluated next week. If it's still a problem he'll need surgery.
"They told me to go ahead and exercise and try to push my lung as hard as I can physically to try to help it get back into good working order," he said via his facebook page.
Today, Natalie said he won't be racing this weekend but plans to be back for Round 8 on July 11 at Unadilla.
"I'm starting to feel pretty good the last couple days," he said. "I'm thinking they are going to give me the okay on Monday. There is still a little fluid in my lung but they say that should be absorbed back into the body."
He added: "I'm really itching to get back."
The series continues and though Natalie is missed it's been an exciting year nonetheless. Three-time defending Champion Chad Wienen won for the third time this season two weeks ago at Sunset Ridge, but Thomas Brown stood atop the box at the Ironman at the end of May, his first win of the season and keeps him in contention of the Championship. This year, four different winners have taken wins, including Natalie at the season opener for the inaugural Daytona ATV Supercross.
Brown and Joel Hetrick both chase Wienen who leads the series but running away with it he's not. Hetrick has two overall wins this year and briefly led the field thanks to seven Moto wins but two 14th place finishes keep him trailing in second-place. Wienen has never finished outside the Top 3.
Wienen leads Hetrick by 10 and Brown is 14 back from Hetrick. Josh Upperman who went (4-3) for third overall and his first podium of the season at Round 6 is a distance fourth, 52 points behind Brown.
Moto 1 gates drop for Round 7 at 3 p.m. (CST) on Saturday at Spring Creek MX Park in Millville, MN. See the weekend's schedule and directions to the track.
2015 ATV MX Championship Standings
- Chad Wienen (244)
- Joel Hetrick (234)
- Thomas Brown (220)
- Josh Upperman (168)
- Nick Gennusa (156)
- Ronnie Higgerson (149)
- Jeffrey Rastrelli (138)
- Vital Cazenave (117)
- Joe Byrd (107)
- Tyler Hamrick (106)