The first month of the 2011 AMA Arenacross
Series season has been a showcase of three of the biggest names in the sport to show the nation what the discipline is all about. TUF Honda
’s Jeff Gibson and the Babbitt’s Monster Energy/TiLUBE Kawasaki
presented by Maxxis duo of Chad Johnson and Tyler Bowers have battled it out throughout the first four rounds and while Gibson holds the advantage now, his rivals aren’t far behind.
It was a fast start to Gibson’s 2011 campaign. The Ohio native captured the first three main event victories of the season only to experience some set backs last weekend in Denver. In the midst of Gibson’s troubles, both Johnson and Bowers, who have paced Gibson throughout the early part of the year, were able to take advantage and took home wins on two nights of respective action.
Now, as the season prepares for a return to Ohio for the second time in three weeks, the championship chase is closer than it’s been all season heading into Toledo. The gap between the trio leading the way is exceptionally close and ultimately, starts play the biggest role in who will come out on top at the second consecutive two-night round of action.
Additionally, the Arenacross class field is littered with riders looking for their chance in the spotlight. Led by the third member of the Babbitt’s team in Gray Davenport, who just missed out on his first win of the season in Denver, this group contains a young up-and-comer in Zach Ames, of the Foremost Insurance/Spinechillers/HondaofFairfiled.com team, who rounds out the top five in the championship standings.
What comes of this diversely-talented group of riders is a combination of veteran experience and youthful exuberance. Both Gibson and Johnson are AMA Arenacross Series champions and have seen everything there is to see in their numerous years of professional competition. For them, it’s not about all out speed and aggression; it’s about riding smart and taking advantage of the opportunities when they present themselves. As a multi-year member of the Arenacross class, Davenport falls under this category as well and has shown he has the ability to win on any given night.
For the remaining two riders just hitting the peak of their AMA Arenacross Series careers, speed is of the essence and getting out in front early can be their make or break moment. Bowers captured nine victories last season largely in part to his knack for grabbing holeshots. The same can be said for Ames, who rode in dominant fashion to his first career victory last year by virtue of a strong start. For Bowers, he also boasts the benefit of being one of the biggest riders in the series and at any given moment, has shown no fear in getting physical if it means gaining a position. So far it’s worked for Bowers and he holds more victories than any other rider in the series over the last 17 rounds of competition dating back to the 2010 season.
Who will ultimately come out on top is anyone’s guess. While completely different approaches, they are proven methods based on each riders’ past and current success. The nature of the AMA Arenacross Series is completely unpredictable and at any given moment everything can change, as each of these riders can testify to. The opportunities will be there and the rider who proves to maximize those chances the most will stand atop the rest come April 9.
The brand new Huntington Center in downtown Toledo is the newest venue on the AMA Arenacross Series schedule. Completed in 2009, the venue serves as the home of the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye’s hockey franchise.
What makes the Huntington Center such a unique arena is its eco-friendly construction. The highlight element of its green assembly is a 900-foot “green wall” on the building’s exterior that will be adorned in plants and simultaneously provide shade to the all glass main entrance. As a result of the state-of-the-art construction, the Huntington Center has been acknowledged as one of the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified arenas in the country.
The action commences for the Toledo Arenacross this Friday at 7:00 p.m. ET followed by a second night of racing on Saturday at the same time. Amateur Day concludes an exciting weekend of action on Sunday, beginning at 10 a.m. ET
Advance tickets are available for this weekend’s Toledo Arenacross at the Huntington Center Box Office, Ticketmaster charge by phone, and ticketmaster.com. Tickets cost $2 more the day of the race.
New for 2011! Live timing and scoring from each round of the AMA Arenacross Series. To follow the intense racing action live, log onto www.Arenacross.com
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