Zach Ames Takes AX Friday Night Opener

January 5, 2013 11:55am

AX Press Release

Zach Ames Emerges Triumphant at Historic
Season-Opening Night in Worcester

Michael McDade Captures Arenacross Lites Victory

WORCESTER, Mass. (January 4, 2013) – The opening night of the 2013 season was a historic one for AMSOIL Arenacross, Featuring Ricky Carmichael’s Road to Supercross inside the DCU Center in Worcester, Mass. The innovative and exciting new racing format was unveiled to the New England crowd on Friday, as precious championship points were on the line throughout the evening in the premier Arenacross Class, highlighted by a pair of Main Events. In the end, reigning back-to-back champion Tyler Bowers, of Danville, Ky., and Michael McDade, of Edinburg, Pa., grabbed the checkered flags in each respective Main Event, but it was Zach Ames, of Prospect, Ohio, who stood atop the podium as the first overall winner of the new era of AMSOIL Arenacross. Additionally, McDade capped off an impressive and memorable evening for himself by capturing the Arenacross Lites Class victory.

As the gate dropped on the first 12-lap Main Event, Bowers quickly asserted himself at the front of the field aboard his Babbitt’s Monster Energy/AMSOIL Kawasaki presented by Maxxis machine. Behind him, Advocare Suzuki’s Daniel Blair, of Lodi, Calif., and Ames, Bowers’ teammate, began their battle for second. As the pair jockeyed for position early, Bowers took advantage by pulling away to a substantial lead. Just a few laps into the Main Event, Ames made his way past Blair and set a consistent pace to keep his rival at bay. Out front, Bowers made quick work of the field, kicking off his title defense with a convincing win in Main Event 1, with Ames and Blair hanging on for podium results.

After Bowers celebrated his first step towards defending his title, the field was subjected to an inversion for Main Event 2, where zero, eight, or the entire 16-rider field’s gate selection would be reversed based on how they finished in the first Main Event. On Friday night, the inaugural inversion changed the position of the first eight riders, placing Bowers, Ames and Blair with less than ideal gate picks.

In the second Main Event, Ames overcame his gate position and took control of the field off the start, looking to give his new Babbitt’s Kawasaki team a clean sweep of the evening. However, after capturing the Arenacross Lites Class win earlier in the evening, McDade was on his game in search of his first premier class victory aboard his Mosites Motorsports Kawasaki and stayed close to Ames’ rear fender. While the lead duo set the early pace, Bowers was forced to overcome a 15th-place start after stalling his bike on the opening lap, but immediately capitalized on his aggressive riding style to move forward quickly.

Ames and McDade were never separated by much more than a bike length throughout the entire Main Event, setting the stage for a dramatic finish. After patiently waiting for his opportunity to make a move, McDade utilized a last-lap pass on Ames to steal the victory and reap the benefits of the historic triumph. Massachusetts local Robbie Marshall, of Stow, rounded out the podium in third, while Bowers battled his way to a fifth-place result. By virtue of Ames’ consistency across each Main Event, he garnered the most points on the evening to secure the overall with his pair of runner-up efforts.

Many of AMSOIL Arenacross’ most recognizable names experienced up and down nights in the dual Main Events. Preseason title contender Jeff Gibson, of Pataskala, Ohio, enjoyed a solid seventh-place finish in his debit ride for Team Faith/FLY Racing/Pilot Travel Centers KTM, but suffered from misfortune in Main Event 2 with a 15th-place finish. His teammate Kelly Smith, of Ludington, Mich., posted a pair of 11th-place efforts.

The Racing KTM effort also had high hopes for the evening with veterans Nathan Skaggs, of Chillicothe, Ohio, and Willy Browning, of Pleasantville, Ohio, along with up-and-comer Steven Mages, of Sardinia, Ohio. However, the trio couldn’t maintain any momentum from one Main Event to the next as Skaggs brought home 13th- and 9th-place finishes, Browning 15th- and eighth-place efforts, and Mages eighth- and 14th-place results,

In the Arenacross Lites Class Main Event, McDade, the defending Eastern Regional Champion, was forced to fend off a formidable challenge from Luevanos Racing Kawasaki’s Gared Steinke, of Woodland, Calif., in an intense 18-lap race between the two. The duo was so fast that they lapped up to third place, which was secured by Honda’s Kyle White, of Freeport, Ill. McDade withstood Steinke’s advances to take the win and set a successful tone for the rest of his evening.

Another new feature of the 2013 AMSOIL Arenacross season was introduced on Friday night as Head-to-Head Bracket Racing placed a bounty of one championship point on the line for the rider who prevailed. Following a pair of opening Heats, the top four finishers from each respective Heat engaged in an eight-rider showdown that featured two-lap elimination races until one rider remained. In the inaugural showcase of this exciting, championship-influencing feature, Bowers prevailed by outdueling his teammate Ames in the final.

As the Race to the Championship lies ahead at the seventh round of the season in February, Ames has established himself as an early favorite by taking the points lead. Thanks to his victorious effort in the Head-to-Head matchups, the bonus point has placed Bowers just one marker behind in second, with McDade an additional point back in third.

The opening round of AMSOIL Arenacross from Worcester’s DCU Center continues with a second night of action tomorrow, beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET. Live coverage of Night 2 can be seen exclusively on SPEED for the first time, beginning at 8:30 p.m. ET.

Arenacross Class Results – Main Event 1 (Worcester, Mass.)
1.    Tyler Bowers, Danville, Ky., Kawasaki
2.    Zach Ames, Prospect, Ohio, Kawasaki
3.    Daniel Blair, Lodi, Calif., Suzuki
4.    Robby Marshall, Stow, Mass., KTM
5.    Michael McDade, Edinburg, Pa., Kawasaki
6.    Gared Steinke, Woodland, Calif., Kawasaki
7.    Jeff Gibson, Pataskala, Ohio, KTM
8.    Steven Mages, Sardinia, Ohio, KTM
9.    Kyle White, Freeport, Ill., Honda
10.    Kelly Smith, Ludington, Mich., KTM

Arenacross Class Results – Main Event 2 (Worcester, Mass.)
1.    Michael McDade, Edinburg, Pa., Kawasaki
2.    Zach Ames, Prospect, Ohio, Kawasaki
3.    Robby Marshall, Stow, Mass., KTM
4.    Gared Steinke, Woodland, Calif., Kawasaki
5.    Tyler Bowers, Danville, Ky., Kawasaki
6.    Dave Ginolfi, Budd Lake, N.J., KTM
7.    Michael Lang, Saugerties, N.Y., Honda
8.    Willy Browning, Pleasantville, Ohio, KTM
9.    Nathan Skaggs, Chillicothe, Ohio, KTM
10.    Kyle White, Freeport, Ill., Honda

Arenacross Lites Class Results (Worcester, Mass.)
1.     Michael McDade, Edinburg, Pa., Kawasaki
2.     Gared Steinke, Woodland, Calif., Kawasaki
3.     Kyle White, Freeport, Ill., Honda
4.     Derrick Barnaby, Sterling, Conn., Honda
5.     Michael Lang, Saugerties, N.Y., Honda
6.     Patrick Massie, Washington Court House, Ohio, Kawasaki
7.     Scott Zont, Algonquin, Ill., KTM
8.     Travis Delnicki, Woodstock Valle, Conn., Suzuki
9.     Maxx Malatia, Itasca, Ill., Honda
10.  Brian Alquist, Lagrange, Calif., Kawasaki

Arenacross Class Points (After Race 1 of 16)
1.    Zach Ames, Prospect, Ohio, Kawasaki – 30
2.    Tyler Bowers, Danville, Ky., Kawasaki – 29
3.    Michael McDade, Edinburg, Pa., Kawasaki – 28
4.    Robby Marshall, Stow, Mass., KTM – 27
5.    Gared Steinke, Woodland, Calif., Kawasaki – 24
6.    Daniel Blair, Lodi, Calif., Suzuki – 19
7.    Kelly Smith, Ludington, Mich., KTM – 14
8.    Kyle White, Freeport, Ill., Honda – 14
9.    Jeff Gibson, Pataskala, Ohio, KTM – 13
10.    Steven Mages, Sardinia, Ohio, KTM – 13
11.    Nathan Skaggs, Chillicothe, Ohio, KTM – 13

Eastern Regional Arenacross Lites Class Points (After Race 1 of 8)
1.    Michael McDade, Edinburg, Pa., Kawasaki – 16
2.    Gared Steinke, Woodland, Calif., Kawasaki – 15
3.    Scott Zont, Algonquin, Ill., KTM – 10
4.    Vaughn Mays, Genoa City, Wis., KTM – 4
5.    Nick Hardacre, Dayton, Ohio, Kawasaki – 2
6.    Dave Ginolfi, Budd Lake, N.J., KTM – 1