Unsung Hero: Arenacross!

Unsung Hero: Arenacross!

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Monster Energy Supercross will always garner the lion’s share of attention in this industry, but the 17-round slog is only just past the halfway point, and now RV’s marching away in the points, too. Meanwhile, Amsoil Arenacross is closing in on the end of a dynamic season, as all of the new wrinkles introduced last year have come together to raise the drama factor. So lets shine the spotlight on Amsoil Arenacross this week—and keep it lit over the final two weekends coming up.

What are those new series wrinkles? First, the new racing format of inverted starts and head-to-head bracket racing has created unpredictable racing. Second, the Ricky Carmichael Road to Supercross, which requires amateur riders to log arenacross laps before they’re allowed to compete in supercross, brought several big-name ams to the gate alongside the regular AX stars. It lead to some great racing, because the kids aren’t afraid to mix it up!

 

The Race to the Championship is now on.Photo: Josh Rud / Arenacross.com
The Race to the Championship is now on.Photo: Josh Rud / Arenacross.com

The final piece is the Race to the Championship. Last year Amsoil Arenacross tried something new. Instead of a cumulative points system like the one used in Monster Energy Supercross, they adopted a system similar to Nascar’s, where the points basically get reset with four weekends remaining. The main idea was that it would keep the championship battle tight and exciting all year, and it worked, with last year’s Championship being decided by three points in the final.

This year it’s shaping up to be another close one as reigning three-time champ Tyler Bowers, who leads in the most wins category with thirteen, has found himself playing catchup after hitting the dirt and running into some issues with lappers at the first Championship round in Tulsa. Bowers showed up plenty fast at the Championship opener, but when lapped riders were down right in his path, he had no where to go and went down—the kind of crazy stuff that always happens on these tracks. Zach Ames was the benefactor that night, sweeping both main events of the evening to give him a seven-point advantage over Kyle Regal and Colt Nichols, and a twelve-point lead on Bowers.

 

Zach Ames is leading the way, with a 3 point lead over Bowers.Photo: Josh Rud / Arenacross.com
Zach Ames is leading the way, with a 3 point lead over Bowers.Photo: Josh Rud / Arenacross.com

However, Bowers isn’t a chump, he’s the champ, and he earned that status by doing what champs do: step up when things don’t go your way. That and winning races of course, which is exactly what Bowers came back and did over the weekend in Albuquerque. It didn’t come easily though. After battling hard with rookie Jacob Hayes, Bowers watched Hayes steal the lead late in the first main event and escape with valuable points. Fired up, Bowers came out of the gate hard in main event two, taking over the lead on lap eight. One lap later Hayes was again knocking on Bowers’ door, but this time Bowers made sure to keep it slammed and deadbolted. With identical Main Event finishes, Bowers (2-1) and Hayes (1-2) tied for the overall but thanks to his victorious effort in Head-to-Head Bracket Racing earlier in the evening (yup, they have that, too) Bowers earned an extra bonus point to move him into sole possession of first.

On Saturday night the two would exchange wins yet again, with Bowers winning the first main event over Ames, and Hayes taking third. In race two Hayes made the most out of an inverted gate pick (last place from race got first gate pick in race two) to win race two by a narrow margin over Bowers. Hayes is just one of several new faces in the AX series that has really made an impact this year. Ames remained consistent all weekend, but after getting shut out on wins, his points lead has been cut to just three points over Bowers. Bowers and Ames, by the way, are best friends and teammates on Monster Energy Babbitts/Amsoil Kawasakis.

 

With a (second moto) main event win in Albuquerque, Hayes now sits 3rd in points.Photo: Josh Rud / Arenacross.com
With a (second moto) main event win in Albuquerque, Hayes now sits 3rd in points.Photo: Josh Rud / Arenacross.com

With just two weekends of Amsoil Arenacross remaining, veteran Ames leads a surging champ who can’t seem to shake a points-robbing Hayes. Combined with the unpredictability, rough racing and chaos of the arenas, it’s a formula that’s bound to create more filth than a shag carpet. Keep an eye on this one folks, it’s going to be good.

Arenacross Class Results – Albuquerque, Main Event 1

  1. Tyler Bowers, Danville, Ky., Kawasaki
  2. Zach Ames, Prospect, Ohio, Kawasaki
  3. Jacob Hayes, Liberty, N.C., Honda
  4. Colt Nichols, S. Muskogee, Okla., Kawasaki
  5. Kelly Smith, Ludington, Mich., KTM
  6. Willy Browning, Pleasantville, Ohio, KTM
  7. Gared Steinke, Woodland, Calif., Kawasaki
  8. Cory Green, Nowata, Okla., Suzuki
  9. Travis Sewell, Westville, Ind., KTM
  10. Steven Mages, Sardinia, Ohio, Kawasaki

Arenacross Class Results – Albuquerque, Main Event 2

  1. Jacob Hayes, Liberty, N.C., Honda
  2. Tyler Bowers, Danville, Ky., Kawasaki
  3. Michael McDade, McDonald, Ohio, Kawasaki
  4. Travis Sewell, Westville, Ind., KTM
  5. Zach Ames, Prospect, Ohio, Kawasaki
  6. Kelly Smith, Ludington, Mich., KTM
  7. Gared Steinke, Woodland, Calif., Kawasaki
  8. Cory Green, Nowata, Okla., Suzuki
  9. Colt Nichols, S. Muskogee, Okla., Kawasaki
  10. Kyle Regal, Grand Prairie, Texas, Honda

Arenacross Class Results – Overall (Main Event Finishes)

  1. Tyler Bowers, Danville, Ky., Kawasaki (1-2)
  2. Jacob Hayes, Liberty, N.C., Honda (3-1)
  3. Zach Ames, Prospect, Ohio, Kawasaki (2-5)
  4. Kelly Smith, Ludington, Mich., KTM (5-6)
  5. Travis Sewell, Westville, Ind., KTM (9-4)
  6. Colt Nichols, S. Muskogee, Okla., Kawasaki (4-9)
  7. Gared Steinke, Woodland, Calif., Kawasaki (7-7)
  8. Michael McDade, McDonald, Ohio, Kawasaki (12-3)
  9. Cory Green, Nowata, Okla., Suzuki (8-8)
  10. Willy Browning, Pleasantville, Ohio, KTM (6-14)

Western Regional Arenacross Lites Class Results

  1. Kelly Smith, Ludington, Mich, KTM
  2. Gray Davenport, Lehi, Utah, Kawasaki
  3. Maxx Malatia, Itasca, Ill., Honda
  4. Kyle White, Freeport, Ill., Honda
  5. Dave Ginolfi, Boston, N.J., KTM
  6. Steven Mages, Sardinia, Ohio, Kawasaki
  7. Vance Wofford, Alamogordo, N.M., Yamaha
  8. Brandon Glenn, Mesquite, Texas, KTM
  9. Tanner Moore, Auburn, Kan., KTM
  10. Coby Adair, Azter, N.M., Kawasaki

Arenacross Class Race to the Championship (Race 3 of 6)

  1. Zach Ames, Prospect, Ohio, Kawasaki – 94
  2. Tyler Bowers, Danville, Ky., Kawasaki – 91
  3. Jacob Hayes, Greensboro, N.C., Honda – 83
  4. Cory Green, Nowata, Okla., Suzuki – 68
  5. Colt Nichols, S. Muskogee, Okla., Kawasaki – 65
  6. Michael McDade, McDonald, Ohio, Kawasaki – 64
  7. Kyle Regal, Grand Prairie, Texas, Honda – 62
  8. Willy Browning, Pleasantville, Ohio, KTM – 60
  9. Travis Sewell, Westville, Ind., KTM – 59
  10. Gared Steinke, Woodland, Calif., Kawasaki – 45

Arenacross Class Points (Race 16 of 19)-Only riders in top ten at points reset are eligible to win the championship. 

  • 11. Kelly Smith, Ludington, Mich., KTM – 271
  • 12. Steven Mages, Sardinia, Ohio, Kawasaki – 136
  • 13. Nathan Skaggs, Chillicothe, Ohio, Kawasaki – 116
  • 14. Dave Ginolfi, Boston, N.J., KTM – 102
  • 15. Jeff Gibson, Pataskala, Ohio, Honda – 90
  • 16. Kyle White, Freeport, Ill., Honda – 90
  • 17. Robby Marshall, Stow, Mass., KTM – 85
  • 18. Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, Yamaha – 75
  • 19. Keith Tucker, Fuquay Varina, N.C., Yamaha – 57
  • 20. Gray Davenport, Lehi, Utah, Kawasaki – 55

Western Regional Arenacross Lites Class Points (After Race 7 of 10)

  1. Kyle White, Freeport, Ill., Honda – 88
  2. Gray Davenport, Lehi, Utah, Kawasaki – 85
  3. Maxx Malatia, Itasca, Ill., Honda – 82
  4. Dave Ginolfi, Boston, N.J., KTM – 70
  5. Steven Mages, Sardinia, Ohio, Kawasaki – 64
  6. Daniel Blair, Lodi, Calif., KTM – 53
  7. Brian Alquist, LaGrange, Calif., KTM – 33
  8. RJ Hampshire, Hudson, Fla., Honda – 32 
  9. Lane Staley, Chillicothe, Ohio, KTM – 26
  10. Josh Struebig, Crown Point, Ind., KTM – 24 
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