Photo: Ken Hill
John Natalie didn't get very far on Saturday at Muddy Creek for Round 3 of the 2015 Mtn. Dew ATV Motocross National Championship series.
A crash that ended his day shortly after the opening lap for Moto 1 could very well have ended his season. Natalie said the crash didn't look too bad but several nights in the hospital tell a different story. Natalie suffered broken ribs, a collapsed lung, a bruised lung and a bruised heart. He's home now and recuperating.
He managed only four points on the day which seriously impacted his place in the Championship standings. He fell from third-place, just three points behind Joel Hetrick in second, to fifth-place, 49 points back from Hetrick and 53 points from the leader Chad Wienen. Natalie does not know yet whether he'll be at the gates for Round 4.
"One of my biggest traits is I never give up. I owe it MotoSport.com, the rest of my sponsors and all my fans to try my best to return as soon as possible," he said. "We will see what God has to say on how quick my body will heal up. I want to be on the line racing but even if I can't I will still be there supporting the rest of my team and sponsors."
As for Round 3, Hetrick finally unseated the three-time Champion Wienen who won the last two rounds. Hetrick dominated the field the whole day winning both Motos for the overall and closed in on Wienen for the series lead. In Moto 1, it was Natalie taking the holeshot as he's been doing all year but once the crash pulled him out of the race it was all Hetrick.
Thomas Brown trailed Hetrick for nearly the entire race until Wienen after enduring a mid-pack start finally worked his way up front and passed Brown for second on the final lap.
With Natalie out for Moto 2, Hetrick grabbed the holeshot but this time around battled nearly the entire race with Wienen. Hetrick lost the lead on Lap 4 and got it back for good on Lap 10. The sweep pushed Hetrick just four points back from Wienen in the standings.
Wienen took second overall after his (2-2) day and Brown completed the podium with a third-overall after taking third in both Motos. Brown who entered the day four points back from Natalie in fourth-place moves into third-place in the standings and Jeffrey Rastrelli who went (4-4) for fourth overall on the day moves into fourth-place, 12 points ahead of Natalie.
ATV MX Round 4 is May 16 at High Point Raceway in Mount Morris, PA.
2015 ATV MX Round 3 Results
- Joel Hetrick (1-1)
- Chad Wienen (2-2)
- Thomas Brown (3-3)
- Jeffrey Rastrelli (4-4)
- Josh Upperman (6-5)
- Ronnie Higgerson (5-6)
- Tyler Hamrick (7-8)
- Nicholas Gennusa (9-7)
- Cody Janssen (11-9)
- Vital Cazenave (10-12)
2015 ATV MX Championship Standings
- Chad Wienen (156)
- Joel Hetrick (152)
- Thomas Brown (135)
- Jeffrey Rastrelli (115)
- John Natalie (103) - MotoSport rider
- Josh Upperman (97)
- Ronnie Higgerson (97)
- Nick Gennusa (95)
- Vital Cazenave (73)
- Tyler Hamrick (71)