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:
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
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.