On Saturday, Mar. 2, the penultimate round of the 2013 season for AMSOIL Arenacross, featuring Ricky Carmichael’s Road to Supercross, also signified the third round of the inaugural Race to the Championship.
Kansas City’s Sprint Center was the site of an incredible night of action in which Babbitt’s Monster Energy/AMSOIL Kawasaki presented by Maxxis rider Tyler Bowers raced to his 10th overall victory of the season with a sweep of the night’s Arenacross Class Main Events. In the Arenacross Lites Class, Letko KTM’s Tanner Moore, who hails from nearby Auburn, Kan., broke through to capture his first win of the season in front of the hometown crowd.
In the evening’s opening Main Event for the Arenacross Class, it was Team Faith/FLY Racing KTM’s Kelly Smith who grabbed the holeshot and the early lead, closely followed by Bowers, Babbitt’s Monster Energy/AMSOIL Kawasaki’s Zach Ames, and Team Faith/FLY Racing KTM’s Jeff Gibson. Prior to the conclusion of the opening lap, Bowers passed Smith for the lead and asserted himself at the front of the field. Just a few laps later, both Ames and Gibson made their move on Smith as well, dropping the KTM rider to fourth.
While Bowers extended his advantage over the field, Gibson took advantage of an opportunity to make a move on Ames and successfully did so to take over second. Bowers took the opening Main Event win, leading all 12 laps, while Gibson fended off Ames for second and third, respectively.
Following back-to-back weeks in which the entire 16-rider field was inverted prior to the second Main Event, Bowers’ selection on Saturday left the field as-is for the final race of the evening, as no riders were inverted.
As the gate dropped on the second Main Event, Bowers took advantage of his first gate pick to secure the holeshot and capture the early lead. However, Gibson came out of the first corner on Bowers’ rear fender and the duo set a quick pace in the early stages of the 12-lap Main Event as they jockeyed for the position. Eventually, Bowers slowly separated himself from his championship rival and pulled away from the field.
Behind the lead duo, KMS KTM’s Dave Ginolfi and Mosites Motorsports Kawasaki’s Michael McDade engaged in a heated battle for third, but it wasn’t long before Ames became the third rider in this battle. Needing to overcome a mid-pack start, Ames laid down a consistent, yet fast pace that allowed him to make a move past both Ginolfi and McDade, and eventually catch Gibson towards the late stages of the race.
Bowers claimed the win to ensure himself of the overall victory, while Ames stole the runner-up spot from Gibson.
The Main Event sweep gave Bowers his 10th overall win of the season. Bowers has now won at least 10 races in a season for three consecutive years. Ames followed his teammate in second on the overall podium, while Gibson grabbed the third and final spot.
The triumphant effort also helped Bowers extend his slim lead in the Race to the Championship, which now heads to its final round and two nights of action. Currently, six points separate Bowers from Gibson, while Ames sits in third, just seven points out of the lead.
In total, 44 points separate the 10 riders in the Race to the Championship, with Ankle Savers Kawasaki’s Gared Steinke holding on to the 10th spot.
In Saturday night’s Head-to-Head Bracket Racing, Bowers completed a perfect evening by also beating out the field and securing the championship bonus point, which could prove to be invaluable heading into the final round.
The highly competitive Western Regional Arenacross Lites Class Championship welcomed its fifth different winner in six races this season, tightening the championship battle in the process.
Moore was the first rider out of the gate in the 18-lap Main Event and pushed a fast pace early to open a gap over the field. Moore was followed out of the first turn by BWRengines.com Honda’s Kyle White and TZR Woodstock KTM’s Scott Zont, but never let either rider close in to challenge him for the lead.
The impressive wire-to-wire effort was the first win of the season for Moore and was made even more special racing in front of the hometown crowd. Moore was joined on the podium by both White and Zont, as both riders held on to their position for entire Main Event.
The victory also helped Moore’s championship hopes in the Western Regional standings as points leader Michael Lang experienced some misfortune aboard his Ticketwow Honda en route to a 14th place finish, as did BWRengines.com Honda’s Maxx Malatia, who finished seventh.
Malatia will be the new points leader heading into the final round, holding a one-point advantage over Lang. White sits in third and moved to within three points of the lead, while Moore sits in a tie with Babbitt’s Monster Energy/AMSOIL Kawasaki’s Tyler Villopoto in fourth, 18 points behind.
The KTM Junior Supercross Challenge was also in action in Kansas City for its second and final time this season in AMSOIL Arenacross. Drake Cole, of Holt, Mo., claimed the win in front of the supportive crowd inside the Sprint Center.
The 2013 AMSOIL Arenacross season and the Race to the Championship will take its lone break from competition next weekend before traveling to Denver for the 10th and final round from the Denver Coliseum. Two nights of action will bring this dramatic season to a close on Friday, Mar. 15, and Saturday, Mar. 16, beginning at 9 p.m. ET each night. Broadcast coverage of the final round can be seen exclusively on SPEED, beginning Sunday, Mar. 17, at 12:30 p.m. ET.
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