Toyota AMA Arenacross Series Notebook: Reno

AURORA, Ill., (Nov. 14, 2007) – The west’s never been as wild as when arenacross racers come in and take over the town, and that’s just the case this weekend when the stars of the Toyota AMA Arenacross Series blazes into the “Biggest Little City in the World,” Reno, Nev., for two nights of racing action in front of what should be a couple of the largest crowds the series will see all year. This is especially true on Saturday night where last year the Livestock Event Center sold out!

In 2006 at Reno Danny Smith (Honda) put up a powerful 1-2  AMA Arenacross class finish in the two nights of racing at the Livestock Event Center, increasing his overall lead after three rounds of the 2006-’07 Toyota AMA Arenacross Series to 28 points over defending series champion Chad Johnson. This year Chad Johnson, the 2005-’06 Toyota AMA Arenacross Series champion, enjoys a 23-point lead (60-43) over Danny Smith heading into Reno. Smith’s got even more of a rut to dig out of in that last week he didn’t even qualify for the main, ala Robbie Reynard at Des Moines in ’06!

The race surface at Reno’s Livestock Event Center is the largest the racers will see all season. Kind of a AX/SX hybrid track, lap times will be up, additional obstacles will be added by premier AX track builder Rigg Hipps and his crew and fans will enjoy a lot of areas where riders can set up and pass. This unique track layout might favor some of the racers with recent AMA Supercross experience, such as both Danny and Kelly Smith, Robbie Reynard, Brock Sellards and Josh Demuth. The competition surface is 150’ by 300’, giving track builders 45,000 square feet to work with at the Livestock Event Center.

This might be a breakthrough race for Utah’s Gray Davenport (Kawasaki). Last year at Reno, Davenport took the AMA Arenacross Lites class win on Saturday – making him the only multi-time Lites winner to that point in the season. Davenport was joined on the podium by Dennis Jonon (2nd) and his teammate this year, Utahan Beni Williams (3rd).

Also, word in the pits is that Factory Connection/Honda’s Aussie transplant, Dan Reardon, is planning on booting up and racing Reno. Reardon’s said to be the next big thing out of Australia, a country that’s produced such greats as Chad Reed, Michael Byrne and Evone Gooligong. It should be interesting to see how Reardon fairs in the motocross-in-a-phone booth style of racing happening in the Toyota AMA Arenacross Series.

Motocross legend David Bailey has a cousin, Ryan Smith, that you can keep an eye on this year on the Toyota AMA Arenacross Series tour. Legendary motocross instructor Gary “The Professor” Bailey’s brother’s kid, Smith is from Lake Sugar Tree, Va., and is set to do the entire Toyota AMA Arenacross Series. A qualified amateur racer, Smith placed 7th in the 250 B class at Loretta’s this summer, the Toyota AMA Arenacross Series seems like it’s a real good fit for him, according to announcer Tim Cotter.

Anybody notice the Albany AMA Arenacross class podium was all Suzukis last week? We bet Suzuki’s Cole Gress did! With first-time winner Tyler Bright in 1st, Reynard in 2nd and Bright’s teammate/team owner Jim Neese in 3rd, the yellow RMZ250s took home all the Albany hardware.

All the bikes almost didn’t get a chance to run at Albany. According to those putting the track together, the rain was on for three days prior to the event and the dirt they brought in was so bad, so unfitting to sculpt into a proper Toyota AMA Arenacross Series track. Track builder Rigg Hipps and his crew were forced to haul it all out and bring in new dirt. An expensive procedure, the track crew pulled out all the stops and ended up saving the race.

The Unadilla MX National faithful were out in force at Albany. Led by the New York State Off Road Vehicle Association (NYSORVA), the group was out to race awareness of off road vehicle use on state land.

Invasion of the Scouts? Albany’s Times Union Center was inundated with Boy Scouts – some 500 of them from 15 different local packs. “It made for the largest track party in some time,” said Cotter, who organized the event.

While the Scouts had taken over the Times Union Center, Kelly Smith and Brock Sellards from the Monster/Babbitt’s/Kawasaki team made their way over to the Albany Medical Center to sign posters and hang out with the kids and their families who are staying nearby at the Ronald McDonald House.

Last year’s Friday & Saturday night podiums at Reno:

Friday Lites Class                                Friday Arenacross Class

1 – Ryan Voit, Kawasaki                        1 – Danny Smith, Honda
2 – Tye Hanes, Kawasaki                       2 – Brock Sellards, Honda
3 – Kody Molitor, Honda                         3 – Kevin Johnson, Yamaha


Saturday Lites Class                            Saturday Arenacross Class

1 – Gray Davenport, Kawasaki                1 – Kevin Johnson, Yamaha
2 – Dennis Jonon, KTM                          2 – Danny Smith, Honda
3 – Beni Williams, Suzuki                       3 – Brock Sellards, Honda


2007-’08 Series Point Standings

1. Chad Johnson 63 pts
2. Brock Sellards 48 pts
3. Kelly Smith 47 pts
4. Jim Neese 46 pts
5. Robbie Reynard 43 pts


Tickets for the Nov. 16-17 Toyota AMA Arenacross at the Reno Livestock Events Center are available through, at the Reno Livestock Events Center box office, Silver Legacy Casino, any Ticketmaster location, including or charge by phone at (775) 787-TIXS. Fees and handling may apply. Show times are Friday and Saturday, 7:30 p.m., Sunday (amateurs) at 12:00. Doors open Friday and Saturday at 6:30 p.m., Sunday at 11 a.m. Friday and Saturday advance tickets are $20 for adults, $7 for kids ages 2-12. Sunday’s tickets are $12 for adults, $6 for kids. All seats are $2 more day of show. Note: Tickets for the 2008 Reno Toyota AMA Arenacross round will go on sale 11/18 at 6 p.m.