Toyota AMA AX Notebook

February 9, 2007 11:39am

Exciting rounds of racing set for Saginaw (Mich.) & Wheeling (W.Va.)

AURORA, Ill., (Feb. 8, 2007) – One thing about the Toyota AMA Arenacross Series you hear mentioned quite often is that it’s “real tough to pass.” A so-called microwave version of Amp’d Mobile Supercross, former Toyota AMA Arenacross Series greats such as Buddy Antunez, Denny Stephenson and Josh Demuth always found a way to make it to the front – even if they didn’t pull a great start.

That being said, Robbie Reynard’s (Reynard Modifications/Honda) charge from last to 2nd place on Saturday night in Springfield, Ill., was one for the record books. Not only did Reynard make up the most spots to reach the podium out of any racer all season, he also kept his title hopes alive for the overall 2006-’07 Toyota AMA Arenacross Series championship.

“I’ll tell you what, whoever thinks it’s too difficult to pass in Toyota AMA Arenacross ought to get a hold of the tape of Robbie Reynard from Saturday night,” said race announcer Tim Cotter. “That was one of the greatest arenacross comebacks of all time. I’d have never dreamed Robbie could have done that. You can pass in arenacross – and Robbie gets it.”

Toyota AMA Arenacross Series points update: With two rounds remaining on the season TUF Racing/Cernic’s/Honda’s Danny Smith holds a 22-point lead over Reynard. With 100 points left to take (four races), Reynard will have to bring his A-game and hope for a miscue by Smith – which is what happened to Reynard on Friday night in Springfield. Top 10 standings with two weekends to go are as follows:

1. Danny Smith (3) 310

2. Robbie Reynard (6) 288

3. Keith Johnson (2) 268

4. Kevin Johnson (2) 263

5. Brock Sellards (4) 247

6. Chad Johnson (2) 237

7. Teddy Maier (1) 221

8. Matt Barnes       202

9. Jim Neese (1)    198

10. Justin Buckelew 195

Noteworthy: Add to that list Justin Sipes, who won in on Saturday in Pikeville, Ky., and that bring the total number of racers who’ve won an AMA Arenacross main event to an amazing NINE this year!

Attendance is booming! The Springfield Prairie Capital Convention Center was packed to the rafters on Saturday night, almost a sellout. This weekend sizable crowds in Saginaw (Mich.) and Wheeling (W.Va.) are once again expected.

Good thing for indoor MX facilities: But there’s still plenty of riding to be had and Team Racing will be heading down to McCulloch’s Pro-MX in Walled Lake, Mich., to get some practice in before the pro practice starts on Friday at the Dow Event Center in Saginaw. Indoor motocross – a sound investment where it snows!

New addition to Junior Jackson Racing: Michigan’s Nick Adams will be a new addition to the Junior Jackson Racing/Suzuki team to fill in for the injured former Toyota AMA Arenacross Series champion Chad Johnson. Also, Nevada’s Nate Tierney will fill in for the injured (arm) Jimmy Albertson, who’s expected to return for the finals in Nashville (Tenn.) “Both riders are experienced and were excited to come on board,” said Jackson. “I used to work with Nate when I was with Yamaha and we’re familiar with Nick from when he used to race amateurs with Chad.” Both racers will contest the AMA Arenacross class, while Albertson will take over for Tierney and contest both the AMA Arenacross Lites and Arenacross class on a Suzuki RMZ250 in Nashville.

New local pros step up: Wheeling local pro Tim Bishop is stepping up big time to help promote the Wheeling round at Wesbanco Arena. Bishop, 21, who just turned pro last summer at the Binghamton (N.Y.) National will be the featured rider at Wheeling’s press day and will also provide the talent – and talk – on a Friday morning shoot scheduled at the arena. Backed by Cernic’s, FCR Suspension, Smith Optics and Monster Energy. In Saginaw  Bishop will be all over the local media in Wheeling! At Saginaw Corey Slavik, 18, will be the featured local rider at the Down Events Center. Slavik, the 1998 Loretta’s 65cc champ, races locally in Michigan at Baja Acres and has won six Michigan State MX Championships since age seven. He’ll be featured in Thursday’s edition of the Saginaw News.

Saturday’s Springfield Lites race was about the best contest seen all season. Reynard’s racing partner, Corey Green, took off and led the race early with Carolina Xtreme’s Jim Neese in hot pursuit. The two would battle like a couple rival stock car drivers, trading boot leather and tire rubber for much of the race. With three corners to go, the inevitable happened and the two went down, with Green’s foot getting stuck in Neese’s back wheel. Brad Mojewski would then saunter past the two for the win. That REALLY got the fans pumped for the main event.

Speaking of Smith & Reynard, the two normally quiet and reserved pros got into some friendly-based trash talk on Friday during opening ceremonies. Egged on a bit by Cotter, Smith, probably one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet in motocross, said something to the effect of “I can take on the old guy (Reynard).” To which the reserved Reynard replied: “This old guy still has something for him.” Funny thing is Reynard’s only two years older than Smith (1977 to 1979).

Brock’s Bike Repair: TUF Racing/Cernic’s/Honda rider Brock Sellards had a motor melt down on him Friday. To which someone reportedly quip in the pits: “Brock likes to work on his own bikes and believes in re-using head gaskets.”

For more information regarding the racing coming to Saginaw, Mich., and Wheeling, W.Va., this weekend, the current series’ point standings and results, or the latest news on the series are all available at

Tickets are available online at,, For more information on the Toyota AMA National Arenacross Series log on to