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Crashes and Block Passes, Amsoil Arenacross Baltimore 2014

Tyler Wozney from Clayton, DE.
Tyler Wozney from Clayton, DE.
Glen C Hoffman

With the increase in rider entries and the increase in everyone's desire to win an Amsoil Arenacross it only stands to reason that the crashes and block passes would increase also. This is good for the fans and the excitement of battle but not always good for the rider who crashes or receives the block pass.

Most of the crashes that occurred at the 2014 Baltimore, MD round of the Amsoil Arenacross series were minor but there were some that not only ended the riders weekend they ended the riders season.

There were few races that saw everyone make it to the checkers unscathed from a crash but there wasn't a time that a group of riders hit the track that there wasn't a block pass. Even from the first practice of the 50cc riders all the way to the stars of Amsoil Arenacross's main events there was block passing. Most of the time these passes were set up and intentional but sometimes the design of the track just allowed two separate line to come together after a jump or rhythm section. This is truly making the races in Amsoil Arenacross every bit as exciting as the races in Monster Energy Supercross.

Some of the best riders in arenacross are so because of the limited number of times they crash or allow another rider to get in underneath them in a corner but that doesn't mean it doesn't happen often. Even the best riders fall victim to a crash or a text book block pass. Take Mike McDade for example. He had two great starts and finishes in Friday night's main events taking the overall win and securing the points lead going into night two at the 1st Mariner Arena.

Saturday night was shaping up to be a repeat of Friday's mains for McDade. He continued to get good starts and attack the track with his familiar speed and precision which lead him to the front of the pack in the early laps of the first AX Main until his front end lost traction in the corner before the whoops. This caused him to hit the ground and let all of his competition go by. Mike didn't even get his bike restarted until the leaders were completing that lap. At this point McDade had no chance of saving the points lead and the red number plate that goes along with it. He wisely decided to pull out of the race in hopes that the winner Jacob Hayes would pick the case with the number 16 in it. That would line up the entire field in an inverted order for Main Event 2 allowing McDade to have first gate pick. That was Mike's last hope of getting on the front row which everyone knows is where you need to be if you are going to get the holeshot. Unfortunately for McDade but luckily for Jacob Hayes, Jacob picked the case with the number 8 in it. This meant only the first row was inverted.

It is amazing how quickly ones luck can change in Amsoil Arenacross because Main Event 2 saw the reversal of luck for both Jacob Hayes and Mike McDade. As McDade was trying to salvage his night by moving up through the field from a second row start Hayes was trying to repeat his win from earlier. However, this time it worked out for McDade as he made his way to the podium for third while Hayes was T-boned by the Team Babbitts Monster Energy Amsoil Kawasaki of Colt Nichols. Nichols was about 5 secounds ahead of Hayes before the incident occurred. It was late in the race when Nichols lost control of his Kawi after landing the finish line jump where he ended up crossing lanes and crashed straight into the side of Jacob Hayes. Hayes ended up 12th and Nichols finished 13th which made for some interesting bench racing for the fans as they exited the venue. Some fans even suggested that it was an intentional move to help the more famous riders regain some valuable championship points they so desperately needed. These clearly were the fans who only saw the contact of the two riders and not the events that lead up to Nichols missing his turn and crossing lanes.

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