AURORA, Ill. – AMSOIL Arenacross, featuring Ricky Carmichael’s Road to Supercross, will commence this Saturday for 12 weekends of the most intense racing on the planet.
The DCU Center in Worcester, Mass., will serve as the host venue for the opening two nights of action on Friday, Jan. 3, and Saturday, Jan. 4.
Headlining the storylines for the 2014 season is the continued dominance of Team Babbitt’s Monster Energy/AMSOIL Kawasaki presented by Maxxis’ Tyler Bowers. The Kentucky native has amassed 44 wins the past three seasons en route to capturing the last three AMSOIL Arenacross titles. Sitting fourth on the all-time wins list, Bowers’ accomplishments in the sport already place him amongst the all-time greats despite being in the championship for just four seasons.
Following what Bowers considers to be his toughest championship triumph to date, the reigning three time title holder will continue his quest for history in 2014, looking to become just the third rider to win four straight championships. With his third consecutive victorious campaign in 2013, Bowers asserted himself into the elite company of Buddy Antunez and Dennis Hawthorne, the only back-to-back-to-back winners before him. While the third championship put Bowers into rare air, he still has the opportunity to duplicate the efforts of the greatest AMSOIL Arenacross riders of all time, each of whom ultimately won five consecutive titles.
“I’m honestly just enjoying the competition and challenge that AMSOIL Arenacross brings, the records and accolades are just bonuses,” said Bowers. “I do everything I can to be the best rider I can be, so winning races and championships is my priority. These have all been extremely difficult titles to achieve so there is a sense of reward to know all the hard work has put me into the same class as guys like Antunez and Hawthorne, who really shaped AMSOIL Arenacross into what it is today.”
With two 15-lap Main Events during each night of competition and the season-ending Race to the Championship, winning an AMSOIL Arenacross title is harder than its ever been 28 years of competition. Last season, Bowers captured eight overall victories and enjoyed a 60-plus point advantage in the standings before giving way to the Race to the Championship, which reset the points for the top 10 riders for the final four rounds of the season. After suffering a broken collarbone in a practice crash leading into the first round of the Race to the Championship, Bowers received emergency surgery and was forced to compete while injured, yet somehow managed to overcome the odds to win two more races and the title by just three points.
The compelling drama was true representation of the racing format that AMSOIL Arenacross provides and is the reason why the 2014 season is as unpredictable as ever despite Bowers’ recent string of dominance.
“I’ve definitely learned that nothing is guaranteed anymore now that we have two Main Events every night and the Race to the Championship,” added Bowers. “It’s never been more difficult to win a title and I know I had some luck on my side last year to come away with that one. This new format forces you to be at your best each and every lap because it’s been proven that every point counts at the end.”
Leading the group of challengers in their quest to dethrone Bowers is his Team Babbitt’s teammate Zach Ames. Last year, Ames finished third in the championship but actually held the lead following the first round of the Race to the Championship. As Bowers’ longtime friend and training partner, there isn’t a rider in AMSOIL Arenacross who knows what it takes to beat the champion more than Ames. However, it will take a season worth of consistent execution in order to ultimately accomplish that feat.
In addition to Ames, veterans like Kelly Smith, Willy Browning, and Nathan Skaggs will be consistent front-runners capable of winning on any given night. The return of Gavin Gracyk to the series will also bring another formidable foe into the mix as he races alongside Smith at Team Faith/FLY Racing KTM. Last year’s breakout rider, Michael McDade, will flank Browning and Skaggs at Motorsport.com/MJM Express/Spinchillers Racing for the 2014 season in hopes on building off his fourth place finish in the championship one year ago.
This group of riders and the rest of the AMSOIL Arenacross field will line up on the gate for the first time this Friday night inside the DCU Center in hopes of emerging as the early title favorite for the 2014 season. Action from Worcester begins at 7 p.m. ET, following by a second night of competition on Saturday, also beginning at 7 p.m. ET.