BALTIMORE – The revamped AMSOIL Arenacross, featuring Ricky Carmichael’s Road to Supercross, ushered in its new era last weekend with the opening round of the 2013 season from Worcester, Mass.
With one of the most talented fields in history, a pair of Main Events on each night of competition, Head-to-Head Bracket Racing, and a live Saturday night broadcast on SPEED to cap it off in front of a stellar crowd, the first stop of the season was a fitting wait to get the New Year underway.
This weekend, AMSOIL Arenacross returns to “The Charm City” of Baltimore and 1st Mariner Arena for the second round of the season on Friday and Saturday night.
With the new, exciting changes and competitive lineup of riders, back-to-back AMSOIL Arenacross Champion Tyler Bowers knew he would have his work cut out for him in his quest for a third consecutive Arenacross Class title aboard his Babbitt’s Monster Energy/AMSOIL Kawasaki, presented by Maxxis machine.
In Worcester, his biggest challengers were his Babbitt’s teammate Zach Ames and up-and-coming rider Michael McDade, who rides for Mosites Motorsports Kawasaki. Both riders forced Bowers to be at his best over the course of two nights of competition, with all three ultimately finding success over the weekend.
On Friday night, Bowers got his title defense off to a strong start by winning the first Main Event of the 2013 season. Following an eight-rider inversion, Bowers needed to overcome an outside gate pick for the second Main Event. When the champ stalled his bike on the opening lap, Ames and McDade took over, with McDade ultimately prevailing.
Bowers was able to recover for a fifth-place finish, but it was Ames who stood atop the overall podium for the win and points lead with a pair of runner-up finishes.
On Saturday night, Bowers made a statement to his rivals, showing that the championship would still run through him with an impressive sweep of the Main Events. To make his triumph even sweeter, Bowers overcame a full 16-rider inversion in the second Main Event to take the last gate pick and turn it into victory. Once again, McDade and Ames were consistent, but Bowers now enters the Baltimore stop as the points leader thanks to his dominant performance.
One of the most intriguing elements of the championship will be Head-to-Head Bracket Racing, which pits the top four finishers from each night’s pair of qualifying Heats for the Main Events. The eight riders will battle it out over the course of two-lap sprints, eliminating the losers until one rider prevails to earn and important championship point. In Worcester, Bowers and Team Faith/FLY Racing/Pilot Travel Centers KTM’s Jeff Gibson emerges triumphant on Friday and Saturday night, respectively.
Consistency will be of an even greater emphasis for the 2013 season as a result of the new format. With points at a premium virtually every time the riders take to the track, being able to qualify in one of the 10 spots for the season-ending Race to the Championship will be the only way to have a chance to win the title. The Race to the Championship begins at the seventh round of the season.
As the fourth-winningest rider in AMSOIL Arenacross history, Bowers knows what it takes to be consistent. However, with the emergence of Ames and McDade, along with veteran contenders Gibson, Kelly Smith, Nathan Skaggs, and more, he will be heavily challenged in his quest for a third consecutive title. Nevertheless, with three wins in four Main Events, Bowers is getting the season off to the start he needs as the points leader.
The Baltimore stop of AMSOIL Arenacross inside 1st Mariner Arena kicks off Friday beginning at 7 p.m. The action continues with a second night of action on Saturday beginning at 7 p.m. Broadcast coverage of Saturday night can be seen via tape delay on Sunday beginning at 1 p.m.B