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By Vicky Eaton

ATVA MX - Women Pro Am

At the opening of the ATVA MX Nationals season in Pell City, Alabama at Mill Creek MX park a lot of racers were ready to race after a long winter break from last racing season. This year racers are required to purchase or rent transponders for scoring. This is good thing because it also shows your lap times on each lap in each race.

Women's Pro Am had a very big turn out--the biggest turn out in the Women’s class. Jamie Jones was aboard a white Suzuki with the number “2” on the plates. Jones is not the only one who has changed her race number. Heather Byrd is now number “7,” and Michelle Natalie is now number “13."

Back this year is a very talented woman racer, Alex Kirchner, number 236. Also, Leslie Ragon number 11 and Adrienne Cooper, aboard a Honda have signed on with the Joe Byrd team. Last year she was aboard Yamaha winning the Women’s Sport class. We also have Tammy White number 94, and Megan Manshack number 58.

Saturday Pro Am Women: The gate drops and Heather Byrd takes the holeshot and everybody is cheering her on. These girls have everybody around the track standing up just to watch these top girls race. Megan Manshack is in second, Angela Butler is in the three spot, with Alex Kirchner right next to her, followed by Michelle Natalie and Jamie Jones. Up the hill and around to the elevator, Megan Manshack has fallen to the 3rd position. Angela Butler has now taken the second spot and is heading for that number one spot. Megan Manshack has wrecked, or her bike stalled, leaving her with a DNF for the first Women’s Pro Am race.

Adrienne Cooper is looking good. Cooper has came from the middle of the pack to take the third position with Alex Kirchner in fourth. Meanwhile Michelle Natalie has a problem somewhere on the track. On the third lap she has fallen to the last place position. She will have to work really hard to catch up. The Battle is now on for the first place position, and Angela Butler passes Heather Byrd gaining some track on her. Angela must have been eating her wheaties because she is "smoking" around the track.

Heather Byrd has fallen back to the second spot, while Adrienne Cooper almost went off the track but holds on to third position with Alex Kirchner hot on her heels. Leslie Ragon is looking very good out there this year on her yellow Suzuki 450. She has moved from the Women’s Sport to the Women’s Pro Am this year, and Jamie Jones is looking very good on her white Suzuki 450. It is really good to see Jamie Jones back on the track. She gets a standing cheer all the way around the track as she rides. Everybody supports her being back on the track this year.

Michelle Natalie is working her way back up the ladder and has passed Tammy White and is heading up on Jamie Jones, while Angela Butler leads the last few laps around the track to make her first win for this ATVA MX National season of 2007 at Mill Creek. Butler was followed by Mrs. Heather Byrd in the second spot, and Adrienne Cooper held back Alex Kirchner to take the third position. Alex Kirchner finished fourth, Leslie Ragon is fifth, Jamie Jones takes sixth, Michelle Natalie seventh, Tammy White is eighth, and Megan Manshack DNF. These are the finish results for the first Women’s Pro Am race. The second race starts at 1:30pm.

Heather Byrd lead the pack
Heather Byrd lead the pack

Moto 2
Women’s Pro Am Heather Byrd gets the holeshot again with Angela Butler right behind followed by Adrienne Cooper. Heather falls back to second while Angela wastes no time in gaining more track ahead of Heather and the other girls. Adrienne Cooper holds a strong third place with Michelle Natalie taking fourth. Cooper is having a much better race this time around. Jamie Jones is still getting her cheers from everybody around the track. The whole time these girls are out here racing, the fans are cheering for Angela and Heather as they battle around the track.

Tammy White flips her quad as she heads over the finish line jump. It's a pretty bad crash for Tammy White number 94. As they come around for the final lap Adrienne Cooper, who was holding a strong third place ahead of Michelle Natalie, flips her quad in the rhythm section. Adrienne has hit hard and passed out. A spectator helped her until the medics arrived. They have held the following race until they can move Adrienne off the track. Joe Byrd ran over to see if she was alright followed by Adrienne’s father. Cooper gets up and tries to start her bike, but can not. Too bad for Adrienne Cooper, "That is her first ever DNF since she has races," she told me. At least she is alright and so is her bike.

So the overall total for the Women Pro Am is as Follows:

1st Place - Angela Butler
2nd Place - Heather Byrd
3rd Place - Alex Kirchner
4th Place - Michelle Natalie
5th Place - Leslie Ragon
6th Place - Jamie Jones
7th Place Adrienne Cooper with a DNF
8th Place Tammy White with a DNF
9th Place Megan Manshack with a DNS/DNF


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