For the 2013 season, AMSOIL Arenacross, featuring Ricky Carmichael’s Road to Supercross, is all new, featuring a groundbreaking racing format as well as a historic television package on SPEED that is fitting for what is sure to be the most memorable season in the near 30-year history of the championship.
The new elements of competition are intended to not only spice up the action out on the track, but instill captivating drama and excitement to this already fascinating form of racing. The championship is destined to be closer than ever as a result of these changes, while the results from night-to-night are sure to be as unpredictable as ever.
Head-to-Head Bracket Racing
While watching 16 riders battle it out on the intimate confines of an arena floor is exciting, seeing two riders go head-to-head over the course of just two laps is even more exciting. The Head-to-Head Bracket Racing is a true test of a rider’s speed and ability to maintain a torrid pace over two complete laps. Aggression is a must and tactical racing is perhaps even more important when the need to pass is imminent.
The top four riders from each of the two Arenacross Class Heat Races will qualify to compete in the heat-to-head showdown every night. Seeding is determined based on lap times and from there, elimination races will leave just one rider standing as the winner and the recipient of a hugely valuable championship point.
So far this season, the brackets have produced some incredible competition as riders not only rely on strategy over the course of these two laps, but also raw speed. Sprinting is the most important element of finding success in the Head-to-Head matchups; however, one slight mistake could be the difference between winning and losing. With so many talented riders it’s easy to see how this new feature produced exceptional parity with five different winners through the first five nights of action this season. At the second round of the championship, the true value of finding success in the brackets was showcased when Mosites Motorsports Kawasaki’s Michael McDade relied in his championship point from the Head-to-Head battles to break a tie for the overall victory on Night Two in Baltimore.
2013 Head-to-Head Bracket Winners:
Worcester Night One – Tyler Bowers
Worcester Night Two – Jeff Gibson
Baltimore Night One – Robby Marshall
Baltimore Night Two – Michael McDade
Grand Rapids Night One – Nathan Skaggs
Grand Rapids Night Two – Nathan Skaggs
Two Main Events
Each night of AMSOIL Arenacross will feature a pair of opportunities for riders to acquire points towards the championship with a pair of Main Events set to determine an overall winner for the evening. Each Main Event will consist of just 12 laps to get the job done, making starts more important than they’ve ever been. At an average of a little more than 30 seconds a lap, there isn’t a lot of time to work through the field when the competition is as close as it is for the 2013 season.
The second Main Event will lead to an overall classification for the evening, combining each rider’s total points from the each race to determine the winner and final finishing order. This format awards consistency and each of the three riders to emerge victorious this season finished inside the top three in each of the Main Events on the respective evening in which he claimed the overall win.
Saturday night’s action from the second round of the season in Baltimore proved to be perhaps the defining moment for the two Main Event format as McDade and Babbitt’s Monster Energy/AMSOIL Kawasaki presented by Maxxis teammates Tyler Bowers and Zach Ames all tied for first place in points. It was a moment that not only showed how competitive AMSOIL Arenacross is, but also provided a look at the incredible excitement that the future holds for the championship.
As if simply giving riders two shots at victory wasn’t captivating enough, the starting order of the second Main Event will be influenced by perhaps the most dynamic feature of the new AMSOIL Arenacross – the inversion.
Following the conclusion of the first Main Event, the winner of the race will select one of three briefcases containing the numbers eight, 16, and zero. The numbers represent the amount of riders that will have their gate picks for the second Main Event inverted. Should zero be selected, a rider’s finishing position from the first Main Event will serve as his gate pick for the second Main Event. If the number eight is selected, the top eight riders from Main Event 1 will have their gate picks reversed heading into Main Event 2. Lastly, the number 16 represents the entire field of competitors, meaning the last place finisher from the first Main Event would receive the first gate pick for the final race of the evening.
This unique element emphasizes strong starts to an even greater degree. During the opening weekend of the season Babbitt’s Monster Energy/AMSOIL Kawasaki’s Tyler Bowers was forced to endure an eight- and 16-rider inversion after winning the first Main Event during both nights of action from Worcester, Mass. While a stalled bike relegated him to a fifth-place finish during the eight-rider inversion, Bowers brought the crowd to its feet when he was able to overcome the full 16-rider inversion to take an impressive win.
So far through six nights of action, each inversion number has been selected at least once. The eight-rider inversion has been selected on three occasions, while the 16-rider inversion has been pulled twice, and no inversion just once. The unknown outcome of this feature is what makes the anticipation heading into the final race of the evening extremely high. Each rider’s strategy is affected in some way once the selection takes place, translating into better competition out on the track.
In addition to the new competition elements, AMSOIL Arenacross has also implemented a new points system for the 2013 season. The single-point scale will place 16 points on the line for all 16 riders who qualify for the two Main Events. The winner of each Main Event will receive 16 points, with one point increments for each subsequent finishing position.
With just one point separating each rider at the end of a Main Event, the championship point standings are destined to be closer than ever before. Currently, 35 points separate Bowers and Ames atop the Arenacross Class standings, with McDade sitting a mere 1 point behind Ames. Should any one of these rider suffer misfortune in a Main Event, the opportunity for the others to capitalize and shake up the points is imminent.
Race to the Championship
The 2013 AMSOIL Arenacross season will feature a playoff atmosphere at the tail end of the schedule with the introduction of the Race to the Championship. For the first six rounds of the 10 round season, riders will jockey for a position inside the top 10 in the Arenacross Class point standings. At the seventh round in Little Rock, Ark., the point standings will reset for those 10 riders, setting the stage for a season-ending showdown for the championship that will run through to the final round of the season in Denver.
In order to capture the AMSOIL Arenacross title in 2013, a rider must be consistent and calculated in his approach as only five points will separate the championship leader and 10th-place in the standings when the Race to the Championship gets underway. The point standings will be reset to reflect the following:
• 1st in the standings – 6 points
• 2nd in the standings – 5 points
• 3rd and 4th in the standings – 4 points
• 5th and 6th in the standings – 3 points
• 7th and 8th in the standings – 2 points
• 9th and 10th in the standings – 1 point
Riders sitting 11th or lower in the standings will compete for a purse, season-ending bonuses, in addition to their 2014 AMSOIL Arenacross number.
Road to Supercross
One of the defining elements of the new AMSOIL Arenacross is the introduction of Ricky Carmichael’s Road to Supercross. As the most successful rider in AMA history, Carmichael’s involvement provides exceptional prestige to the championship. The Road to Supercross will make AMSOIL Arenacross the official destination for all young riders on their path to Monster Energy Supercross.
For the first time, a new formalized structure between both AMSOIL Arenacross and Monster Energy Supercross has established a set of nationally-recognized guidelines of progressive advancement for all riders who aspire to compete on a professional level. With a special and unique skill set required to compete in Monster Energy Supercross, the Road to Supercross allows young riders to develop their skills in AMSOIL Arenacross, while also providing exposure to the professional atmosphere of the sport’s highest level.
As a result, the most promising and highly regarded young riders of the future will showcase their talents at AMSOIL Arenacross. This groundbreaking program is sure to add to the high level of excitement and captivating competition that already exists in the championship.
From top the bottom, AMSOIL Arenacross is all new and more exciting than ever before. With three rounds in the books, the action has already been memorable and this weekend, the road to the Race to the Championship will continue in Tulsa for the fourth round of the 2013 season.
The Tulsa stop of AMSOIL Arenacross from the BOK Center kicks off this Saturday, January 26, beginning at 8 p.m. ET, Broadcast coverage of Saturday night can be seen via tape delay on Sunday, January 27, beginning at 6 p.m. ET.
Live timing and scoring from each round of the AMSOIL Arenacross season returns for the 2013 season! To follow the intense racing action live, log onto www.Arenacross.com.