Heading in the 2011 AMA Arenacross series finale in Des Moines, Iowa, the Babbitt’s Monster Energy TiLUBE Kawasaki presented by Maxxis Tires Team has already accomplished what they had set out to do – winning the 2011 Championship. Yet there was still a final night of racing, a chance to get another win, and the opportunity for Chad Johnson to take second overall in the series.
Before the nights racing took place, new Champ Tyler Bowers was presented with a Championship winning check, Championship Trophy, and the Number One plate by Babbitt’s Team Owner Eddie Babbitt, long with Arenacross promoter Feld Motorsports.
Bowers and Johnson would both qualify for the Main Event; Chad taking second in Heat One, and Tyler winning Heat Two. Gray Davenport was struggling somewhat in Des Moines, but would qualify through the Last Chance Qualifier.
When the main event took off Tyler Bowers would start decently in the main (top five), Johnson in the top ten, and Davenport (with a second row gate position) unfortunately starting near the tail end of the pack. By mid- point Bowers would move into second place, as Chad Johnson began pressuring championship rival Jeff Gibson for third spot. Then as the laps were almost finished Bowers moved into first; with Johnson passing rival Jeff Gibson soon after for third place. Unfortunately Gray would continue to struggle, and finish the night in ninth. “Des Moines was great; the track was slick, and had a very one-off layout. It also had two sections of whoops that I was very happy about. Taking two good starts in my heat race, and the main made it easier to move into the lead and take care of business” said Tyler Bowers. Chad Johnson would add “Yeah I had a rough start, but came back to finish third – I felt strong the entire race. Overall it was a good season; not exactly the way that I wanted it to go, but I ended up healthy and with a strong finish!” A disappointed Gray Davenport would later say “I bent my shift lever in my heat race which forced me to the LCQ; after that I had a back-row start position for the main where I just struggled in the whoops section. Des Moines had two whoop sections so that made it even worse for me – of course the taller guys liked it. Overall it was a great season though; Tyler won the championship and I really enjoyed being on Team Babbitt’s! I really want to thank Eddie Babbitt, and a special thanks to Denny Bartz who gave me this chance!”
One of the happiest guys at Des Moines was Team Manager Denny Bartz who said “I’m very happy with tonight’s race; it was great to have two guys on the podium. Chad put in a great effort to get second in the championship, but just came up a little short. Right now Tyler is riding to a whole other level and is very confident, so I’m looking forward to finishing up at the three final supercross events.”
Final thoughts on Des Moines, and the 2011 AMA Arenacross Championship was provided by Team Owner Eddie Babbitt who said “I’m really happy with the race, and winning the final round. Then to take first and third in the championship wasn’t too shabby either! Now I am excited about Tyler doing the final three Supercross rounds where I believe that he’ll do great – then it’s on to next year!” I want to thank all of our sponsors for another unbelievable season, without all of your help we could not do what we do at this caliber.
Of course Tyler Bowers had already wrapped up the title, so when the final points were tabulated Chad Johnson was only six points short of taking second overall in the points; while he had won the war, Gibson had won the battle. Gray Davenport would finish the series in seventh; that same position as his 2011 number.