2011 AMA Arenacross Sacramento Preview

February 24, 2011
Courtesy of AMA Arenacross

AMA Arenacross Series

The 2011 AMA Arenacross Series hit the halfway point last weekend in Reno and after two nights of action at the longest-running arenacross race in history. Babbitt’s Monster Energy/TiLUBE Kawasaki presented by Maxxis’ Tyler Bowers asserted himself as the rider to beat for the 2011 Arenacross class title after a weekend sweep from the “Biggest Little City in the World.” This weekend, the series will conclude its two-week western swing with a return to the California State Capital in Sacramento and ARCO Arena.

Bowers is currently in the midst of a three-race winning streak and since capturing his first win of the season in Denver, has won five of the last seven main events. He assumed the points lead from TUFHonda’s Jeff Gibson following his hometown race in Louisville and has yet to lose since.

Through seven rounds, Bowers’ lead over Gibson sits at 12 points and after a dominant start by Gibson to start the season, the momentum has shifted into Bowers’ favor. With five wins to Bowers’ credit already this season, he is beginning to show the same dominance he had over the field in 2010 when he grabbed nine overall victories.

Despite Bowers’ recent run, Gibson has been impressive in his own right. A pair of third-place efforts in Reno gave the 2009 AMA Arenacross Series Champion a streak of six podium results, but his continued loss of points to his rival over the past three weeks has proven to be too much to overcome despite his incredible consistency.

“Both Tyler and Jeff are in the midst of two of the most impressive seasons we’ve ever seen in the AMA Arenacross Series,” said Series Director Jayme Dalsing. “In any other year, Gibson would clearly be the rider to beat, but Bowers has managed to still be that much better. Given how well they’ve both ridden, it’s hard to believe the gap between them is in the double digits.”

In addition to the duo leading the pack, the competition throughout the rest of the field has been exceptional. Chad Johnson and Cole Siebler, teammates to Bowers and Gibson, respectively, have been in the mix throughout the season and have managed to capture wins of their own. While they currently aren’t within striking distance of the championship lead, they’ve added greatly to the parity of the Arenacross class along with Foremost Insurance/Spinechillers/HondaofFairfield.com’s Zach Ames, who sits fourth in the championship. Veteran riders Gray Davenport, the third member of the Babbitt’s Monster Energy/TiLUBE Kawasaki team, and Kelly Smith, of Team Faith Yamaha, have also put forth some great rides in recent weeks.

The competition within the division is tougher than ever and despite the dominance of Bowers and Gibson atop the standings, it’s anyone’s race to win every time the gate drops. Even with the majority of the checkered flags to their credit, the title contenders will be the first to echo the sentiment. While the statistics may suggest otherwise, both Bowers and Gibson have had to work harder than ever to achieve success.

This weekend’s eighth round commences on Saturday, February 26 at 7 p.m. PT from ARCO Arena and marks the AMA Arenacross Series’ first visit to Sacramento since the 2009 season. In addition to the hotly-contested competition of the Arenacross class, the Arenacross Lites Western Regional Championship continues after reaching its halfway point in Reno. Oklahoma native Chad Cook sits atop the standings and leads his challengers into action this weekend.

Advance tickets are available for the Sacramento Arenacross at the ARCO Arena Box Office, Ticketmaster charge by phone and ticketmaster.com. Tickets cost $2 more the day of the race.