WORCESTER, Mass. – The 2013 AMSOIL Arenacross season is just four days away and after months of preparation, the fastest arenacross riders on the planet will commence 10 rounds of competition in what is sure to be a landmark season for the championship.
The first stop of the New Year will feature AMSOIL Arenacross’ first visit to Worcester, Mass., and the DCU Center since the 2004 season.
Two nights of action on Friday and Saturday will set the tone, providing a glimpse as to who the early favorite might be for the title. As if the return of this action-packed sport to the New England area wasn’t exciting enough, the opening round will also be showcased live on SPEED for the first time on Saturday night, beginning at 8:30 p.m.
With back-to-back titles under his belt, defending AMSOIL Arenacross champion Tyler Bowers will be the rider to beat in Worcester and throughout the 2013 season. In just three seasons of competition, the Babbitt’s Monster Energy/AMSOIL Kawasaki presented by Maxxis rider has established himself as one of the most dominant figures in the sport, already placing himself fourth on the all-time wins list with an impressive 33 victories; an average of 11 per season.
Despite his past success, Bowers’ closest rivals will not be intimidated as they head into the 2013 season. The most prominent challenger to Bowers’ throne will be veteran Jeff Gibson, the 2009 AMSOIL Arenacross Champion. This season Gibson makes the move to the established Team Faith/FLY Racing/Pilot Travel Centers KTM squad following four seasons at TUF Racing.
As a former champion, Gibson knows what it takes to win and he went head-to-head with Bowers throughout the 2012 season as the duo battled down to the wire for the championship and ultimately established the most prominent rivalry in AMSOIL Arenacross. With a new team and new bike under him, it will be exciting to see what Gibson can accomplish in his quest to unseat Bowers from his throne.
Several other riders will also be expected to stake their claim for the AMSOIL Arenacross title, most notably the teammates of Bowers and Gibson. For 2013, Bowers will welcome a pair of new teammates under the Babbitt’s tent – longtime friend Zach Ames and intriguing rookie Tyler Villopoto, while Gibson will line up alongside fellow veteran Kelly Smith at Team Faith.
Ames is no stranger to winning and has progressed every season since turning pro. While Villopoto is a relative unknown in the U.S., his older brother Ryan is arguably one of the most dominant global figures in the world of motocross.
As for Smith, he has long been one of the stalwarts of AMSOIL Arenacross and is always one of the biggest threats to win on any given night. However, he has yet to capture that elusive championship, but has come close on several occasions. With another veteran rider to push him at Team Faith, Smith could finally achieve that dream.
In addition to this group of riders, the field will always need to keep an eye out for the Motosport.com/JBR/Spinechillers Racing KTM squad. This season, the lineup will consist of familiar faces Nathan Skaggs, Willy Browning, and Steven Mages. This trio of young riders is always exciting to watch and each will play the role of sleeper in the 2013 championship.