LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The 2014 AMSOIL Arenacross, featuring Ricky Carmichael’s Road to Supercross, season continued on Saturday night with the third round of action inside Freedom Hall.
The championship’s first visit to Louisville since 2011 featured a dominant performance from its hometown rider as Kentucky native Tyler Bowers swept both Arenacross Class Main Events aboard his Babbitt’s Monster Energy/AMSOIL Kawasaki presented by Maxxis to capture his second win of the season. In the Eastern Regional Arenacross Lites Class, Frontier Lubricants KTM’s Daniel Blair broke through for his first win of the year.
Bowers established his position at the front of the field as soon as the gate dropped on the first Arenacross Class Main Event, grabbing the holeshot and pulling away from the field. Triangle Cycles Yamaha’s Keith Tucker and Motosport.com/MJM Express/Spinechillers Racing KTM’s Nathan Skaggs followed in second and third, while points leader Zach Ames, who rides for Babbitt’s Monster Energy/AMSOIL Kawasaki, and Motosport.com/MJM Express/Spinechillers Racing Kawasaki’s Michael McDade both started outside the top 10.
Last week’s Saturday night winner and Road to Supercross competitor, Aaron Plessinger, also started outside the top 10 aboard his Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha.
Bowers was never challenged throughout the 15-lap Main Event, but there was great action behind him. Tucker, a Road to Supercross competitor, maintained his hold on second place until the final lap when he suffered misfortune, allowing TUF Performance Honda’s Jeff Gibson to finish second and Motosport.com/MJM Express/Spinechillers Racing KTM’s Willy Browning to claim third. Ames fought his way from 14th off the start to finish fifth, Plessinger worked his way from 11th to finish eighth, and McDade moved up just three spots from 15th to finish 12th.
Bowers selected the inversion for the second and final Main Event of the night, selecting 16 for the first time this season.
Honda rider Kyle Regal raced to the holeshot in the second Main Event, with TZR Woodstock KTM’s Travis Sewell and KMS KTM’s Dave Ginolfi in tow. Bowers started on the second row and came out of the first turn in eighth, but quickly began making moves forward. Ames asserted himself just outside the top five in sixth, while McDade rebounded from a difficult first Main Event to start inside the top five.
McDade moved into podium position by the second lap, but Bowers was on the move with Ames. The defending champion picked off riders one-by-one and took over third by lap six, eventually passing McDade for second on lap seven. Bowers set his sights on Regal and took over the lead on lap 10 to secure the sweep. Regal held on for second, while Sewell made a late pass on McDade for third. Ames experienced heartbreak in his battle towards the front, when an apparent problem with his motorcycle dropped him to 13th.
Bowers’ perfect score combined with the adversity faced by his championship rivals resulted in a big night in the points. He was joined on the overall podium by Browning (3-6) and Gibson (2-7).
In the Arenacross Class standings, Bowers moved to within three points of Ames for the lead with McDade sitting another three points behind in third.
In Head-to-Head Bracket Racing, Bowers capped off his perfect homecoming with a win and extra championship bonus point.
Hillview Motorsports Suzuki’s Steve Roman secured the holeshot to take the early lead in the 18-lap Arenacross Lites Class Main Event, with Kawasaki rider Aaron Gulley and BWREngines.com Honda’s Maxx Malatia in tow. Malatia wasted little time taking over second and immediately began to pressure Roman. On lap five, Malatia made a pass of the lead, but he and Roman made contact, forcing both riders to lose considerable track position.
Blair assumed the lead, followed by Gateway Cycles Kawasaki’s Steven Mages and Gulley. Mages experience misfortune as well, allowing Gulley to take over second and Traders Racing Kawasaki’s Tony Archer to move into third. Blair opened up a lead of over five seconds at one point, but Archer passed Gulley for second and was able to close the gap in the late stages of the race. Blair fended off the late challenge to secure the win.
Blair and Archer were joined by Gulley on the podium. Archer, the points leader entering Saturday, extended his lead Eastern Regional Arenacross Lites Class championship and now holds a 13-point lead over second place.