Monster Energy AMSOIL Babbitt’s Kawasaki’s Tyler Bowers won his third consecutive AMSOIL Arenacross title this weekend in Denver, CO., at the Denver Coliseum. The Danville, Kentucky-based 22-year-old won a total of 10 overalls with a total of 20 main event wins this season, and in the process, joined Dennis Hawthorne and Buddy Antunez as the only riders to ever win three-straight AX crowns. But it almost didn’t come to fruition. Bowers broke his collarbone the week before the Little Rock round while practicing in California and had it plated the next day. He told no one except his core group and dug deep in the final rounds to eventually win the championship by a mere three points over Team Faith/FLY/KTM’s Jeff Gibson.
It was a big year for AMSOIL Arenaross, with a new format, rules, TV package and more. Here’s Tyler on what turned out to be a tough, but rewarding, season.
Racer X: You just wrapped up your third Arenacross championship tonight, tell me about it.
Tyler Bowers: They tried to make it harder on me this year with all the new circus rules so I just tried to do my best each week and tried to win races. With the new Race to the Championship, they reset the top ten guys points after Wilkes-Barre and I tried to do my best after that. I kind of lucked into the win in Wichita and then felt good in Kansas City a week later.
Tyler Bowers wrapped up his third straight title in Denver this weekend.
It was pretty interesting out here in Denver, though.
Last night (Friday) was crazy in the second main event coming from the back of the pack and luckily I only lost one point to Jeff. I came back tonight and tried to salvage the weekend, stay up and stay where I need to be to win the championship.
Where do you go after this, supercross like last year?
I doubt it. I’m getting an MRI on Monday for the knee and have a doctors appointment on Tuesday for the collarbone to get checked out. I just extended my contract with Babbitts for next year and I might just take care of some health stuff this summer and make sure my body is up to par for the next season and make sure I can get stuff done and be ready. We’ll look at supercross again next year and years after that.
What were some of the lows during the season?
In Little Rock, I was not wanting to race. I had broken my collarbone on Tuesday at the Kawasaki practice track with Zach [teammate, Ames] and I was pissed because I had such a good support group behind me and everybody believed in me. They were telling me, “You can do it, you can do it” and I said, ‘I know I can, but I really don’t want to.’ That was definitely the low point!
So what went down with this crash and why did you hide it?
Zach and I do sprint motos together and it helps for our overall speed. We do two laps with 30 seconds rest in between and we switch off who starts first. He will lead and I will lead, and this time he was leading and I went to pass him on the outside of a corner before a triple and he tried to stay low and out of my line, but when he went to seat bounce the triple out of the turn, his back end blew out sideways and in the air he was completely backwards looking right at me. I knew this wasn’t going to be good. My tire was just inches from him in the air. He tried to ditch his bike away from me, but when it hit, it bounced into my line and when I landed my front tire went right between his front tire and the frame and I stopped instantly. It threw me over the bars into the face of the next triple and I kind of rolled out of it, but I felt a bee sting in my shoulder and knew my collarbone was done. He was gasping for air and I was asking if he was okay, and he was just grunting so I asked again and he said yeah. I told him I broke my collarbone so I’m going back to the truck to get undressed. I called my pops when I got to my truck and he was pissed because he wasn’t there and couldn’t take me to the hospital. Luckily I have a great friend and teammate in Zach and he kind of felt bad about the whole deal, so he took me to hospital, took me to surgery the next day and drove me home from surgery, too. I made my flight on Thursday to Little Rock, kind of dizzy on anesthesia, made it to the event and had Friday to recover. I just wanted to salvage the weekend. I have some great doctors and they made some magic happen, and three days later, I was on my bike racing. The only ones who knew were my mechanic Junior, my parents and Zach. I just didn’t want to tell anyone else.
Bowers isn't done yet. He wants five titles to match Antunez's record.
Wow! Crazy story. Now tell me about what you like or dislike about some of the changes that the AMSOIL Arenacross Series has made this year.
The bracket racing is cool and probably one of the best things they have ever done. The suitcase deal [inverted start, picked at random] is stupid though. It turns this into a game show and I really don’t like it. I have told them that it is not safe when we have to come through the pack and try to pass some slower riders. I guess it can be exciting, but I don’t like when the crowd picks it or Ricky [Carmichael] picks it and it’s not the one I want. I have nothing but respect for Ricky, but when he comes to town, he picks my case or does it with the crowd. Last night, I wanted the first case and they picked the second one and it was a 16 spot inversion. The one I wanted was zero, so I’ll be honest and tell you I’m not a fan of that. I’d just like to control my own destiny at the final round of the series, you know?
Were you happy with this awesome new TV package they have?
I really didn’t see many to be honest. I wish they’d play them later on Sunday so I could get home and watch it. It’s awesome to have Grant [Langston] in there and having good, respective people talking about what they know when it comes to racing. I wish there were some more live rounds, though.
Are you pumped right now?
Yeah, I’m pumped. But I want to go for five titles and match Antunez’s title record. That’s what we are going for right now. We have next year and the year after that, so that’s where we’re aiming at.
Are you getting some good bonuses for this championship?
I am taken care of. I don’t worry about the bonuses. Let’s just put it that way.