GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Friday night signified the first of two nights of action inside Van Andel Arena for the third round of the 2013 AMSOIL Arenacross, featuring Ricky Carmichael’s Road to Supercross, season.
Following a dominant display of riding in which he swept each of the two Arenacross Class events, Babbitt’s Monster Energy/AMSOIL Kawasaki presented by Maxxis rider Tyler Bowers, of Danville, Ky., raced to his third overall win of the season to extend his championship lead.
In the Arenacross Lites Class, Motosport.com/JBR/Spinechillers Racing KTM’s Steven Mages, of Sardinia, Ohio, captured his first victory of the season.
The first main event left little doubt that Bowers was going to be the rider to beat on Friday night. After positioning himself in second out of the gate behind Motosport.com/JBR/Spinechillers Racing KTM’s Nathan Skaggs, of Chillicothe, Ohio, Bowers made a quick move to take over the lead prior to the conclusion of the opening lap and never looked back. Behind him, Skaggs and Team Faith/Fly Racing KTM’s Jeff Gibson, of Pataskala, Ohio, engaged in battle for the runner-up spot, with Gibson eventually crossing the line in second, while Skaggs settled for third.
As a result of his victorious effort in the first main event, Bowers held the responsibility of picking the number of riders that would be inverted prior to the second main event.
Surely to his displeasure, Bowers’ selection inverted the entire 16-rider field, giving him the last gate pick for the 12-lap main event.
Despite lining up on the back row, Bowers still emerged from the first turn inside the top five as the second main event got underway. Out front, Motosport Hillsboro Kawasaki’s Gared Steinke, of Woodland, Calif., grabbed the early lead. It wasn’t long before Bowers began to make his climb through the field, moving into third almost immediately and then taking over second on lap three. Once he set his sights on Steinke, it was only a matter of time before he found himself at the front of the field, assuming control of the race on lap six and riding to another victory. Steinke held on to finish second, while KMS KTM’s Dave Ginolfi, of Budd Lake, N.J., finished third.
In the end, Bowers was accompanied by Gibson and BWRengines.com Honda’s Kyle White, of Freeport, Ill., on the overall podium. In 10 main events this season, Bowers has emerged victorious in seven of them, showing an unmatched consistency.
To add to his successful evening, each of Bowers’ closest rivals in the championship were forced to endure trying nights. Mosites Motorsports Kawasaki’s Michael McDade, of Edinburg, Pa., entered Grand Rapids as the most recent overall winner and a mere seven points out of the points lead. However, after being forced to qualify through the LCQ, McDade was only able to finish eighth in the first Main Event and completed just one lap in main event two en route to a 16th-place finish to land 13th overall. Additionally, Babbitt’s Monster Energy/AMSOIL Kawasaki’s Zach Ames, of Prospect, Ohio, had to fight for seventh and sixth-place results for fourth overall, losing valuable ground in the standings.
By virtue of his maximum Main Event points, combined with the efforts of his closest challengers, Bowers extended his points lead to 23 over Ames, who surpassed McDade for second. The new Race to the Championship will begin at the seventh round of the season, where the top 10 riders will have a chance to claim the 2013 title.
In the Arenacross Lites Class Main Event, TZR Woodstock KTM’s Scott Zont, of Algonquin, Ill., grabbed the lead and led for a significant portion of the race before suffering from misfortune on lap 10, which took him out of contention. Mages took advantage of the opportunity and held off Kyle White for the remainder of the Main Event. Fun Mart Cycle KTM’s Michael Willard, of Newark, Ohio, finished third after an impressive climb through the field.