The first weekend of the 2010 AMA Arenacross Series season is behind us and after two nights of bar-to-bar action, it is clear that the next 11 rounds are going to produce some of the most exciting racing the series has ever seen.
After a foray into the world of Monster Energy Supercross, Tyler Bowers is making the return to the discipline he grew up riding for 2010. The youngster from Kentucky is no stranger to the intimate confines of the AMA Arenacross Series and in an effort to claim his first career AMA national title, he is teaming up with a potent lineup from Babbitt’s Monster Energy/Ti Lube Kawasaki and two legends of the sport.
Bowers kicked-off his new role with one of the AMA Arenacross Series’ top teams in memorable fashion, dominating the Des Moines prequel race in November during his Babbitt’s debut. Last weekend at the season-opening round in Grand Rapids, he put together two solid nights of racing, including a win on Saturday to grab the early season points lead over his teammate, 2006 and 2008 AMA Arenacross Series champion Chad Johnson.
Tyler, the first weekend is out of the way and you managed to get a win while you were there. Now you have the points lead. How would you say things went for you?
Really good. I didn’t plan on winning. I just went in wanting to do the best I could for the weekend and salvage some points because it’s always chaos on that first weekend. I knew it would be like that. I went out there and got fourth and came out with the win the second night. I’m still healthy and I had an overall good weekend and I’m excited for the next round.
You have a new team with Babbitt’s this year along with a potent lineup of teammates. How has the adjustment with the team been and what is it like to be part of such a strong effort?
I knew coming into the series that my two (toughest) competitors would be Chad Johnson and Josh Demuth. When I signed with Babbitt’s and found out they were my teammates I knew it was going to be a long year. But, I know that with these two on my team it is going to be a positive environment because everybody on the team wants to win bad. We all know and we will all do what it takes to win. It’s good to have everyone on your team on the same page and I have two veterans that I get to learn from.
You’ve been away from the AMA Arenacross Series for a couple years, but now you’re back. Based on past success, it seems like you are a natural fit for this type of racing. Why do you think that is?
I grew up racing arenacross. Every winter I didn’t go to Florida and do the warm, nice amateur races down there. I grew up in Ohio and Kentucky and raced arenacross my whole life. I went indoors and raced in small hockey arenas on the arenacross circuit. That’s what I know. I did some supercross, racing the East Coast Lites season and last year on a 450. I just came in and was a little rusty for a while but then started racing in the top 10 in the 450 class. However, supercross is really tough right now (with the economy) so I took the chance to come back. The AMA Arenacross Series is where I feel like home. Everyone is really welcoming, it’s more fun to race because there isn’t as much pressure and I’m back with who I originally started with.
Do you think your experience in supercross has helped you in the crossover to arenacross and gives you a little bit more of an advantage?
No, arenacross and supercross are totally different. To me, if anything, running in arenacross in past years helped me in supercross. Arenacross, I think, is a little bit tougher. A little bit harder. You could be a really good supercross rider, but be the worst arenacross rider. It’s a test of how you perform because the tracks are so short. You need to know who’s two positions in front of you and what their weak spot on the track is so you can know how to pass them before you pass the guy that’s directly in front of you. It’s a lot tighter and there’s a lot more guys (around you). You also got to watch out for the guy behind you who is looking to get by as well.
What made you come back to the AMA Arenacross Series? Given the tough economic situation in supercross, was that an influence in your decision or did you feel like eventually you’d return to arenacross?
I always knew I’d come back to arenacross. It was always an option for me because it’s fun, it’s what I like to do and I enjoy being there. Supercross is, like I said, really tough right now and there are a lot of guys in situations they aren’t familiar with because of the economy. We’re risking our life out there and to do what some people are having to do, to me isn’t very smart. I had to go somewhere I was welcome first off and in arenacross everyone welcomes me in. It’s (more) fun to be there because like I said, it’s less pressure and everyone is having a good time.
You have the points lead right now and although it’s very early in the season, do you think it gives you an advantage?
I’m just going to stick to my plan. Just go out there and try to get a few more wins and a lot more podium finishes. My plan is to do the best I can every round and not push it too far so I don’t wear down. I want to try to get the most out of myself each weekend. I think that is what’s going to win the championship. If anything, having the points lead right now just puts a target on my back because everybody is going to be gunning for the points leader. I’m not really worried about it. I don’t feel like there is a lot of pressure and my two teammates are my biggest competition.
With that being said, what are you hoping to achieve this season?
First off, I’m going for the championship as are five, six, seven other guys. I just going to go out each weekend and salvage as many points as I possibly can and try not to do anything stupid. Just work hard every week to get ready for the weekend.
A limited number of Gold Circle seating is available. Kid’s seats just $10 (excluding Gold Circle). Tickets are available at the 1st Mariner Arena box office, all Ticketmaster outlets, and by phone at 800-551-SEAT.
Fans in attendance also can take part in the Track Party on Saturday from 5-6 p.m. for the chance to meet the riders and get autographs. Simply recycle any MONSTER ENERGY can at the gate entrance for FREE admission. Must have valid Saturday event ticket to enter.
Tickets for all rounds of the 2010 season can be purchased at www.ticketmaster.com and www.arenacross.com.
For more information on the AMA Arenacross Series log on to www.arenacross.com.