AURORA, Ill. – As the lineup of teams and riders for the 2010 AMA Arenacross Series begins to take shape, the series makes its annual visit to one of the most recognizable and loved venues in the history of the sport. For the 12th year, Des Moines, Iowa will host an AMA Arenacross Series race.
The Des Moines round is a stand-alone, non-points paying race with pride and $11,000 in prize money on the line. Several of the AMA Arenacross Series’ most well-known riders will be on hand, taking their shot at some early-season success and getting some competitive racing under their belt before the gates drop on the 2010 season in Grand Rapids, Mich., January 8-10.
Last season, Des Moines proved to be a breakthrough event for Ohio’s Michael Willard who entered the race as a privateer and proceeded to win three of the four main events of the weekend, posting a runner-up finish in the fourth behind two-time AMA Arenacross Series champion Josh Demuth. As a result, Willard earned a factory-supported ride for the 2009 season, solidifying his uncertain plans for the year.
This season, the on-track action is shaping up to be as unpredictable as ever, with four past AMA Arenacross Series champions, a trio of series winners and a former Monster Energy® Supercross contender looking to capture the win on Saturday night.
Perhaps the biggest name and one of the latest additions to the prequel race is defending AMA Arenacross Series champion Jeff Gibson. The Tuf Honda rider dominated en route to his first AMA title last season and will look to get some time on the bike before defending his crown in just a couple of months.
After choosing to take some additional time off last season by skipping the Des Moines race, two-time champion Chad Johnson and Iowa native Teddy Maier return this weekend and should be at the front of the pack when the gates drop Saturday night.
For Johnson, the 2008 AMA Arenacross Series champion, 2009 was a disappointing year by his standards. The two-time champion won just one race last season for Babbitt’s Monster Energy Kawasaki and battled with consistency. He finished fourth in the final standings but has the hunger to return to the top in 2010.
“I definitely wasn’t happy with the way last season turned out,” he said. “We had some bike problems early in the season as well as at the end that hurt us in the championship. Now that we’re moving to the big bikes I’m really excited. I enjoy riding the 450 and I think it will add a lot to the racing.”
Maier is coming off arguably the most successful season of his career. The Iowa native sat out the 2009 AMA Arenacross Series and was missed by both his competitors and the fans. However, he placed a more concentrated effort on his motocross training in preparation for the 2009 summer season and as a result was able to capture the CMRC Canadian Motocross Nationals championship in the MX2 class. With high confidence, Maier is eager to return to the intimate atmosphere of the AMA Arenacross Series with TiLUBE Motorsports and give the world’s best a run for their money.
Also adding to the talented field is Demuth, who joins Johnson on the Babbitt’s Monster Energy Kawasaki team and looks to defend his night one win from 2008. Joining him is perennial AMA Arenacross Series front-runner Kelly Smith who sat out for the majority of the 2009 season after broken leg cut his run at the title short. He enters the new season with a new team at Junior Jackson KTM and a rejuvenated spirit.
Triple Effect Kawasaki’s Gray Davenport boasted a career year last season, capturing his first career victory and a sixth-place finish in the standings. He enters Des Moines looking to catch a wave of momentum heading into 2010.
After a short hiatus from the AMA Arenacross Series, Robbie Reynard and Tom Hofmaster make their anticipated returns to the intimate confines and will no doubt be players as the laps wind down on Saturday evening’s main event.
“Since the series moved to using 450’s it made me want to come back,” exclaimed Reynard. “I feel much more comfortable on the 450 and Des Moines gives me a chance to get out there and race. I really like to race so hopefully something works out from now until the season starts and I’ll try to return to the series full time.”
“I’ve actually taken a real job since leaving arenacross,” explained Hofmaster. “I work for EVS now so Des Moines just presents a chance for me to just go out there and have fun. I’m lucky to still have some great sponsors helping me out so I have don’t have any real high expectations this weekend other than (enjoying myself).”
As a whole, the entry list for Saturday night’s 2010 sneak preview is one of the most impressive AMA Arenacross Series lineups in history.
The Wells Fargo Arena is located in the heart of Des Moines, Iowa as part of the Iowa Events Center. Built in 2005, it can hold up to 16,980 fans with various seating charts depending on the event. In the past, the arena has served as the home to the Iowa Energy of the NBA Development League, Iowa Chops of the American Hockey League, and Iowa Barnstormers of the Arena Football League.
2009 Des Moines Prequel Race Rider List
# Rider Team
1 Jeff Gibson Tuf
2 Brock Sellards
3 Josh Demuth Babbits
4 Chad Johnson Babbits
5 Nathan Skaggs Spinechillers
6 Gray Davenport Triple Effect
10/1E Willy Browning Spinechillers
11 Zach Ames Spinechillers
12 Jim Neese Carolina Express
14 Teddy Maier Ti Lube Motorsports
16 Cory Green Reynard Mods
17 Robbie Reynard Reynard Mods
21 Dave Ginolfi Mandingo Pickles
27 Ryan Poulter Funmart Cycle Center
33 Kelly Smith Funmart Cycle Center
36 Brian Foster Storm Lake
115 Kevin Johnson
144 Alex Martin Ti Lube Motorsports
273 Gavin Gracyk Funmart Cycle Center
316 Derrick Brister
33 Zach Osborne U Tag
617 Gavin Faith Ti Lube Motorsports
774 Devin Reed Ti Lube Motorsports
821 Ricky Draper Storm Lake
838 George Cyrus
890/1C Kurt McCabe Storm Lake
911 Tyler Bowers Babbits
Tickets are available at the Wells Fargo Arena Box Office, all Dahl's Foods locations, online at www.dahlstickets.com, or charge by phone at (866) 55-DAHLS. (All seats $2 more on day of show. All tickets subject to $1 Facility Fee. Child discount applies to children ages 2-12. ) Show times are Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 10 a.m. Doors open on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. and 8 a.m. Sunday. Front Row tickets for Saturday night cost $40 and Gold Circle seats are just $25. 100 to 300 level seats range from $18 - $20. Sunday tickets are $18 for adults, $9 for kids. All seats $2 more day of show. Note: Kids = children ages 2-12.
$5 discount tickets are available at Hicklin Powersports from 10/19/09 through 11/7/09 while supplies last.
Fans in attendance also can take part in the Track Party on Saturday from 5-6 p.m. for the chance to meet the riders and get autographs. Simply recycle any MONSTER ENERGY can at the gate entrance for FREE admission. Must have valid Saturday event ticket to enter.
For more information on the AMA Arenacross Series log on to www.arenacross.com.
About Feld Motor Sports
Feld Motor Sports, Inc. is the world leader in specialized arena and stadium-based motor sports entertainment. Feld Motor Sports, Inc. productions include Monster Jam®, Monster Energy® Supercross, AMA Arenacross Series, Freestyle Motocross, and IHRA® Nitro Jam®. Feld Motor Sports, Inc. is a division of Feld Entertainment, the world’s largest producer of live family entertainment. For more information on Feld Entertainment, visit www.feldentertainment.com.