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Monday Conversation II: Tyler Bowers

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Picking up where the team left off at the Des Moines Arenacross prequel two months ago, Babbitt’s/Monster Energy/Ti Lube Kawasaki swept Friday and Saturday night’s main events at the Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Michigan, courtesy of riders Chad Johnson (Friday) and Tyler Bowers (Saturday). While it was a big night for Babbitt’s, especially being based 30 miles away in Muskegon, it was their rookie Bowers who came away with the points lead. Following Johnson through the pack on Friday night after a poor start, Bowers would finish fourth, but on Saturday the 18-year-old led the majority of the main and won by a significant margin. We caught up with the Kentuckian just after the trophy presentation.

  • Tyler Bowers
Racer X: Tyler, welcome to the 2010 AMA Arenacross points lead.
Tyler Bowers: Thanks very much. Unfortunately, Chad [Johnson] didn’t get the best of starts, from having to line up in row two tonight. You can only do so much from there, and I was able to capitalize on that. I made a couple of mistakes early on but then was able to recover from them and go on for the win. I had a rough night on Friday—actually, so did Josh [Demuth]—but we were able to finish 1–2 tonight, so that was great. We just need to get Chad back up on the podium like we did at Des Moines. But yeah, I’m very happy right now, and I think that this weekend was a forecast for the year. I have the points lead, along with probably a bigger target on my back than I did before - I just need to focus on riding smart.

You talked about Friday night being rough. What was going on?
Well, I had taken off some time after Des Moines. Actually, it was at Des Moines when I felt that my training and riding levels had peaked – my lap times were getting four seconds faster at our practice track right after that race. So I then took a bit of a break and had some time off. I was off the bike for about a month, and yesterday I felt that I was just a little bit rusty. I felt like I forgot how to pass when I raced my first qualifier, but I was still able to get in but had a second-row start. Later in the main, I followed Chad and was able to make some pretty good passes, but I don’t think that I was really up to par. Even tonight, I didn’t feel totally up to par as I can be. But that’s okay; it’s a long season, and I’m in it for the long haul. Coming into Grand Rapids, I really didn’t know how I would do—as I said, it has been a little while since I had been on the bike. My goal was really just to make it through the weekend and do as well as I could. I didn’t put any pressure on myself.

Being that you hadn’t raced in a while, were you nervous on Friday night?
No, not at all, I was much more nervous going into Des Moines.

Everyone says that you cannot win the championship in the opening round.
No, not at all, that’s very true. We have twenty-two races left. Right now I am the points leader, but that could all change next weekend. Hopefully, I’ll keep it on two wheels, ride well, and keep this momentum going all year.

  • The podium.
It must be especially cool to take the points lead here in Grand Rapids, Team Babbitt’s home event.
I love Eddie [Babbitt, the team owner], and I am very happy to be on the team. Eddie and Denny [Bartz, the team manager] are great. They try so hard to win. I’m really happy to be on a team that wants to win as badly as I do. Anything at all that I need - even if I casually mention something to a fan, which they overhear – they try to help with it. If they could change the wind outside to help me win, they would try to do it. These guys try extremely hard, so I sure would like to win this championship for them.

Any final thoughts at this time, Tyler?
I’d just like to thank Team Babbitt’s Kawasaki, Monster Energy, Ti-Lube, DeCal Works, Spy, Shoei, Moose Racing, Eddie, Denny, and my mechanic Chad Goodwin, along with my teammates Josh Demuth and Chad Johnson – they are really fun to be with. The guys on the team are a very positive group, and it makes it much easier to race when you have this type of support. Everyone on the team wants to win, and that’s what makes it so exciting. We can all go out and race bar-to-bar, then come off the track and still remain friends. I love it!

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