Massive rain in California led to a rare postponement of this year’s Oakland Supercross (it will run on February 18th), leaving supercross racers with a weekend off. The AMA Arenacross Championship, presented by Kicker, offered up some extra cash to entice supercross riders to come out and race, and a bunch showed up. In the end, defending AMA Arenacross Champion Kyle Peters still fended off the comp to win the first race on his Phoenix Racing Honda, but the inverted start got him in the second race. Mitchell Harrison got the win in that one.
The series provided us audio from both riders after the race.
Supercross guys came to town. How was it?
Kyle Peters: Man, today was a fun day. Oakland Supercross got cancelled so we had a bunch of supercross guys come out and race with us today. It was cool having new faces, different competition and just more guys in the mix. We had a lot of really good dudes. I’m pumped on that. Overall, the night went great for me. I was able to get out from for the most part, stay out of trouble, put in solid laps and just get the job done. Unfortunately, main event two, I was trying to come through the pack, made a mistake and a guy just came in hot. That’s arenacross racing, that’s how it goes. It’s a bummer but overall in points, we’re sitting solid. Pumped for that and ready to go through Guthrie.
Did you feel you needed to show what you could do with the supercross riders here?
For me, I don’t have anything to prove to myself or anyone else. I know what kind of rider I am and what I’m capable of, I’ve had a lot of years in supercross and I’ve done well, so this was one of those things, go out and do everything we need to do and see where we stack up. Go out and get a good start, put in solid laps and focus on myself. Wherever the cards lay is where they lay.
What happened in that second main?
Yeah, definitely a little mishap in the second main. Trying to come through the pack, trying to be patient, but I got a little impatient and someone came in hot, took me over the berm. Ended up getting stuck for a little while. Did my best to come back. Unfortunately, that’s racing, that’s arenacross racing. Unfortunate way to end the night, but overall it was a great night, Phoenix Racing Honda was great, and we had a lot of fans here. It was awesome, it was fun.
How was it?
Mitchell Harrison: Yeah, it’s just been a brutal, gnarly, arenacross day. Got into some crashes, some battles and the whoops were insane. It was just, overall, a really good time. I’m really glad they got me out here. A lot of my buddies told me, “You might as well do it, make some money.” That was actually, yeah, that was a pretty big factor. When someone DMed me and said “Here’s the purse,” I’m like, that’s pretty enticing. I can’t lie, a lot of it was about the money. It’s really good for me to keep my career going. But obviously, these guys are fast, I didn’t expect to come in and dominate. It was a battle through and through, everyone rode so well, and it was fun.
So money was a huge factor, what else were you thinking about?
Yeah, I love racing, too. I want to race all the time, so that helps. These are my roots, too. I grew up in Brighton, Michigan, I went to Grand Rapids arenacross from 50s all the way through big bikes. It’s cool to be back, I’m glad arenacross hasn’t missed a beat.
What moments stood out for you tonight?
For one, going P1 in first qualifier, and then P2, those stand out to me because I’ve never been a guy to stand out in qualifying like that. To get that up there, that’s so exciting for me. I had one crash in the heat race, in the start. Brandon [Ray] and I got into it, and Brandon is a good friend of mine. He was like “What the heck, bro?” I told him, I was just locked on the brakes, and I just slid into the corner. I went down there and had to go to the semi. Then I crashed in the main with [Devon] Harriman. I went to the inside and I was jumping, and he got a little sketchy in the whoops. So he went left and so I jumped right, and he just messed up and went right. That had me for a bit! But we’re all good friends out here so it was good clean racing?
What was your favorite part about it?
Two things. First, the crowd. And the whoops. I loved the whoops all day, I was skimming them. I was having a great time with those the whole day.
What about winning $2500?
Yeah winning $2,500 is definitely good. I think I won more than that, with the holeshot, the other main event, and GasGas contingency. But who’s counting? I definitely enjoyed it more than I thought. The last time I raced arenacross was getting my points for supercross. I remember it being sketchier. I think they did a really good job with the tracks this time. The track didn’t seem as brutal
Would you do any more?
I actually planned to do a few of these at the beginning of the season, but just logistically it was a nightmare. If it works out this year or next year, I’d love to do it. Like I said, I love to race. I’m going to race some Canadian Nationals, I’m gonna race some [U.S.] outdoor nationals. I want to race!
What will you do with the money you made here?
Winning the $2,500 in that main event is awesome. Helps with track fees, helps with living expenses, and I have a big wedding coming up, so it helps with that! I know my fiancé is going to be really happy about that!