Motoworks / Can-Am pro DS 450 racer John Natalie won the 2011 AMA ATV Motocross Championship by finishing third overall in the series finale held at Loretta Lynn Dude Ranch.
Natalie tallied 2-4 moto scores and literally earned the third spot on the Pro class podium with an impressive moto-two performance that saw him finish in fourth place after battling back from dead last after a crash in turn two.
“John has been committed to winning the Pro class championship aboard the DS 450 for four years now and he really deserves to be champion, especially after the inspiring performance he put in today,” said Jimmie O’Dell, Race Manager, Can-Am. “He rode with the heart and conviction of a true champion, battling back from his horrendous crash at the start of moto two. It was an unbelievable effort today. But all season long he has fought fiercely for this title, overcoming the broken arm and riding through pain the past three races to preserve and earn the sport’s ultimate prize and win the championship title for team Motoworks / Can-Am. We are extremely proud of John and the entire Motoworks team. Mission accomplished.”
Natalie rode his DS 450 to a fourth-place start to begin the first Pro class moto and then moved into third place a few laps later.
After Can-Am X-Team Pro racer Chase Snapp stopped to repair a derailed chain, Natalie moved into second place and set his sights on the leader.
He posted the fastest lap of the race on lap 11 as he charged ahead and pulled close to the leader. In the end, however, he settled for second and gained two valuable points in his chase for the Pro class title.
Moto two started much the same as Natalie was amongst the top three after the first turn. However, in turn two, Natalie was thrown from his DS 450 and then hit and actually run over by another racer. Uninjured, Natalie quickly sprung to his feet, restarted his machine and started chasing the pack from last place.
Going into the moto, he knew a ninth-place finish in the second moto would tie him for the points lead and give him the title via the tiebreaker. However, Natalie instead charged hard aboard the DS 450 and fought for a spot on the final Pro class podium.
He had moved up seven spots by lap three. Two laps later Natalie had moved comfortably into fifth place. Still he didn’t stop. On the final lap, he passed Snapp to move into fourth place. Natalie’s 2-4 finish earned him not only the third spot on the Loretta’s podium but also the 2011 AMA ATV Motocross Pro Championship.
“It’s been a long road and we finally made it and took the championship,” said Natalie. “It felt great to come out here and take the championship in the last round of the season. I have to thank everyone at Can-Am and Motoworks and everyone who has been there for us this season and stuck behind us; it brings tears to my eyes. This has been such an incredible season, and with all the ups and downs our team has had with both Chad and I getting injured, for our team to take the championship couldnt be any sweeter right now.”
Can-Am X-Team member Chase Snapp earned seventh place overall in the Pro class aboard his DS 450. The rookie pro looked anything but as he led for three laps of the first moto before an errant rock derailed the chain and forced him to stop to fix it. He finished 10th in moto one.
Another good start put Snapp in the top three in the second Pro moto. He ended the moto in fifth place and his 10-5 finishes were good enough for seventh on the day and helped him secure sixth overall in the Pro class for the season.
“I felt like if I hadnt thrown my chain that I would have won that moto,” said Snapp. “I’m happy with how everything has gone this season and I’m hoping to come back and do even better next year. I have to thank Can-Am and Motoworks for all of their help this year. I couldn’t have done it without them.”
Motoworks / Can-Am DS 450 Pro racer Chad Wienen, who remained out of action due to his recovery from back surgery, ended the year in seventh place in the Pro class points standings. His four overall victories in 2011 led the Pro class.
Wienen, who is expecting a full recovery from his injury, was on hand to sign autographs and assist AMA ATV MX announcer Rodney Tomblin in the announcing booth during both Pro class motos.
For more information on Can-Am racing, the entire 2011 schedule, the 2011 contingency program and Can-Am DS 450 ATV amateur racer support program, please visit www.can-amxteam.com.