RENO, Nev. — The eighth round of AMSOIL Arenacross, featuring Ricky Carmichael’s Road to Supercross, came to a dramatic conclusion on Saturday night inside the Livestock Events Center as the final 10 riders that will compete in the Race to the Championship were determined.
After a pair of dramatic Arenacross Class Main Events, Babbitt’s Monster Energy/AMSOIL Kawasaki presented by Maxxis rider Tyler Bowers captured his sixth overall victory to solidify his position atop the championship standings. For the second straight evening, Factory Connection Honda’s R.J. Hampshire dominated the Western Regional Arenacross Lites Class to sweep the division Main Events in AMSOIL Arenacross debut weekend.
PBR/TiLube/TUF Racing Honda’s Jacob Hayes took over the early lead in the opening Arenacross Class Main Event, Babbitt’s Monster Energy/AMSOIL Kawasaki teammates Zach Ames and Bowers in tow. Bowers wasted little time in making his move to the front, passing Ames for second on lap two and then Hayes for the lead on lap three. Once out front, Bowers never looked back. Meanwhile, Ames and Hayes engaged in battle beginning on lap three with Ames following his teammate to take over second place. However, on lap seven Hayes made his way back around Ames, who then experienced misfortune on lap eigh and fell deep inside the top 10.
That allowed Motosport.com/MJM Express/Spinechillers Racing KTM’s Willy Browning to take over third, but his time in a podium spot was short lived as PBR/TiLube/TUF Racing Honda’s Kyle Regal took over third on lap 11. Bowers was followed across the line by the TUF Racing duo.
Bowers selected the inversion for the second Main Event, and for the second night in a row inverted the entire field of 16 riders.
Hampshire, who finished 11th in the first Main Event, took advantage of the inversion to assume the early lead in the final Main Event, followed by Motosport.com/MJM Express/Spinechillers Racing Kawasaki’s Michael McDade and AJ Oilfield Services Kawasaki’s Gray Davenport, who was soon passed by Farmers Insurance/Reynard Mods Suzuki’s Cory Green. Bowers started in ninth, Hayes in sixth, and Regal in 13th. Neither Hampshire nor McDade were really challenged out front, but the ensuing battles behind them provided a wild 15-laps of racing. Hayes moved his way into fourth and was looking to secure a potential third straight overall victory, but experienced misfortune on Lap 3, which also collected Bowers and dropped both riders outside the top 10. Green endured consistent pressure for third from the likes of Motosport Hillsboro Kawasaki’s Gared Steinke, Ames, and his teammate Colt Nichols. Out front, Hampshire raced to his first career Arenacross Class Main Event win with McDade in second.
They were joined on the podium by Green, with Nichols fourth, Ames fifth, and Steinke sixth. Bowers battled his way back to finish seventh, with Regal in eighth. Hayes recorded a DNF and finished 15th.
Earlier in the evening, Bowers defeated Hampshire to win Head-to-Head Bracket Racing, and the additional championship bonus point proved critical in the overall standings.
Bowers’ impressive resiliency in the second Main Event vaulted him to first overall despite 1-7 finishes, edging out his teammate Nichols (4-4) by just one point. Nichols’ runner-up effort was a career-best result. Regal rounded out the overall podium in third (3-8). Hampshire’s first career premier class win landed him just off the podium in fourth (11-1), while Hayes finished 11th (2-15).
Bowers, who took over the point lead on Friday, now enters the Race to the Championship as the top seed. He will be joined by (in order of seeding): Ames, Hayes, Regal, Green, Browning, Nichols, McDade, Sewell and Gared Steinke. Team Faith/FLY Racing KTM’s Kelly Smith missed out on a qualifying spot by just six points. The championship points will be reset for these 10 riders for beginning of the Race to the Championship next weekend.
In just his second Western Regional Arenacross Lites Class Championship Main Event, Hampshire showed how comfortable he already is in AMSOIL Arenacross. Hampshire grabbed the early lead in the 18-lap Main Event and looked as though he’d go wire-to-wire for the second straight night, but a bobble on lap five handed the lead to KMS KTM’s Dave Ginolfi. However, just one lap later Hampshire reclaimed the position and set sail to victory. Behind him, the battle for the podium heated up as KTM rider Michael Horban moved into third on lap eight and then moved into second just a couple laps later. BWRengines.com Honda’s Maxx Malatia then assumed the final spot on the podium on lap 13, while Ginolfi went from the race lead to a fourth-place result over the final 10 laps of competition.
BWRengines.com Honda’s Kyle White, who finished fifth, moved into the lead in the Western Regional Arenacross Lites Class standings. He holds a six-point lead over AJ Oilfield Services Kawasaki’s Gray Davenport, who finished sixth.