Kawasaki/Racer X Race Report

November 2, 2007 9:48pm

The 2007- '08 Toyota AMA Arenacross series got off to an explosive start in Des Moines, Iowa. A modest crowd turned out (even though Ozzy and Rob Zombie was playing next door) to see an incredible opening ceremonies and a snarling pack of around 100 Arenacross Lites and Arenacross competitors. When the smoke finally cleared it was Michael McDade and Josh Demuth taking a couple of exciting main event wins. Some of the big question marks and notes of the event was the fact that there is now only one arenacross series and then the shake up with the classes as only 250F (and maybe three 125cc) machines would be raced. And the results at the end of the night offer positive indications that arenacross is going to have a steller winter.

Danny Smith leads Josh Demuth in the waning moments of the AX main event.

The action in the heat races was intense as Rockstar Suzuki/No Fear/Reynard Mods/Spy rider Cory Green and Monster Energy/Babbitt’s Kawasaki/ Moose Racing’s Kelly Smith rode off with the wins. Meanwhile, some of the biggest news in the heat races was the hectic night that Josh Demuth was having. After suffering an ill-running motor, Josh and his crew had to resort to some drastic measures by purchasing a brand new Honda CRF250F machine right off the showroom floor of a local dealership. It was a last minute scramble that barely got Josh to the starting line for his heat race. Perhaps the tension was too much because Josh failed to qualify for the main event and had to ride into the night show via the Last Chance Qualifier. This would only be the beginning of the drama for Josh…

After a well choreographed and entertaining FMX exhibition, it was time for some loud heavy metal through the speakers with the main event contestants lining up on the gate. Up first was the Arenacross Lites boys, who put on a decent show, but nobody could stop Michael McDade. After getting a great start, McDade simply put up the sails and rode away, easily winning over Cory Green. This set the stage for the 25-lap Arenacross class main event.

Serious Racewear's Mike McDade dominated the AX Lites division.

You want to talk about a stacked class; on one starting gate you could see four former arenacross champions, outdoor national winners, and Lites supercross title contenders all gritting their teeth and looking for victory. As the gate slammed down they all barreled down the short start stretch and directly into the whoop section. Battling three wide and rubbing elbows though the whoops was defending champion and TUF Racing/Cernic's Honda’s Danny Smith, series veteran Jim Neese, and Brock Sellards. As the pack sorted itself out the three front runners pulled away a bit. Mired around mid pack was Josh Demuth, closely followed by 2005 champion, Chad Johnson. Around the halfway mark, Demuth dropped the hammer and began a charge that had the crowd standing on their feet.

Josh Demuth took the lead from Smith in the last corner.

Sellards and Neese faded as Johnson and Kelly Smith made their way to the front. With about five laps to go, Smith had a comfortable lead, but Demuth was a house of fire. He wasn’t taking the main rut in the whoops, instead choosing to skim them where they were tall which proved to be a more consistent, and faster, line choice. With two laps to go Demuth had them on their feet, but as Smith took the white flag he still had about three bike lengths on Demuth. Again, and this time more than ever, Demuth absolutely crushed the whoops and drew to Smith’s rear wheel, but he could still not find a way around.

It all came down to the last corner and Smith gave up just the slightest amount of room on the inside. Demuth smelled blood and bit the leader hard, knocking him to the ground and taking the checkered flag.

There was some hot post-race words and controversy as Demuth stated that his move was “a little payback from the U.S. Open last year,” while team TUF Racing/Cernic's Honda’s claimed that Demuth did not properly tech his new machine. In the end, the win stuck and everybody is pumped up for tomorrow night.

Stay tuned to www.racerxill.com for more from Des Moines.