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Huge Crowds Witness Toyota AMA National Arenacross Series In Iowa

Yamaha’s “Rad” Chad Johnson again wows ‘em, this past weekend sweeping the inaugural Toyota AMA National Arenacross Series at Des Moines’ new Wells Fargo Arena

DES MOINES, Iowa, (Nov. 7, 2005) – The Toyota AMA National Arenacross Series’ played host to two massive crowds this past Friday and Saturday nights at Des Moines’ new Wells Fargo Arena. And again leading the pack in the newly named AMA “Arenacross” class (formerly 250cc class) was Yamaha-backed “Rad” Chad Johnson.

The Rhinelander, Wis., racer – who’s no doubt getting some looks from the top teams in need of a AMA Supercross Lites (formerly 125cc class) Eastern Region rider this year – again swept both nights in the premier AMA Arenacross class, taking first place on Friday in front of 6,047 fans, then winning on Saturday in spectacular come-from-behind fashion in front of an estimated 8,000-plus fans.

“Biggest crowds we’ve had in some time,” said Clear Channel’s master of ceremonies, Tim Cotter. “Rigg Hipps and his crew did an outstanding job preparing the track and fans were treated to some great racing action – just like we had at the opener in Albany (N.Y.).”

Winning the AMA Arenacross Lites class on Friday was Unbound Energy/Kawasaki-backed Shawn Clark. Clark’s victory was his third consecutive win of the season in the support class, but that streak was stopped on Saturday by local ripper Cody Gilmore (Kawasaki) – much to the delight of the pro-Iowa racer fans in attendance. Another Iowan, Brady Peck (Honda), finished in fifth place in the Arenacross Lites class on Friday.

Putting up some better numbers this week was Jeff Northrop from the Thor/Honda/Tuf Racing team. Northrop went 2-2 in the AMA Arenacross class and moved up to second overall in the points, 28-points back of Chad Johnson. Northrop’s teammate, Brock Sellards, is in third place overall in the AMA Arenacross class points standings with 68 points.

With the track holding up nicely, Cotter said that, outside the whoops, there were two places that racers were looking to pass. The newly named “Toyota Hairpin” provided for the evenings’ most exciting passing, with riders really getting after it in bar-to-bar action in the tight section just before the catapult jump. There was another section right after the catapult landing, where riders had a choice of two lines (high/low). But it would be the Toyota Hairpin which collected a couple riders –including Zach Ames (Suzuki) and Matt Barnes (Honda) in the AMA Arenacross class on Saturday night, forcing Barnes to the ground hard and the race to be red flagged. Fortunately Barnes was able to walk off the track under his own power, but the single-file restart allowed then 7th place Chad Johnson to catch and pass leader Kevin Johnson (Yamaha) and check out for the win.

“The Toyota AMA Arenacross Series takes this next weekend off before returning to action Nov. 18-20 at Charlotte’s Bobcat Arena.

The results from Des Moines:

Friday  Saturday

Arenacross Lites

1.) Shawn Clark, Kawasaki  1.) Cody Gilmore, Kawasaki
2.) Matt Barnes, Yamaha  2.) Shawn Clark, Kawasaki
3.) Jim Neese, Suzuki  3.) Travis Hodges, Honda
4.) Jim Chester, Suzuki  4.) Kevin Markwardt, Suzuki
5.) Brady Peck, Honda  5.) Jim Chester, Suzuki

Arenacross

Friday  Saturday

1.) Chad Johnson, Yamaha  1.) Chad Johnson, Yamaha
2.) Jeff Northrop, Honda  2.) Jeff Northrop, Honda
3.) Jim Neese, Suzuki  3.) Greg Schnell, Suzuki
4.) Shawn Clark, Kawasaki  4.) Kevin Johnson, Yamaha
5.) Matt Barnes, Honda  5.) Jim Neese, Suzuki

Tickets are available online at www.arenacross.com, www.ticketmaster.com, www.tickets.com (Guthrie and Green Bay only), and www.centreevents.com (Rockford only).
For more information on the Toyota AMA National Arenacross Series log on to www.arenacross.com.

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