AMA Arenacross Series Notebook: Sharing the Red Plate

2012-01-15 21:17
For 2012, the AMA Arenacross Series implemented a unique, fan friendly initiative to the championship. Once the championship was underway, the rider who possessed the current points lead would adorn his bike with a red number plate, signifying that he is the championship leader. The season kicked off with Babbitt’s Monster Energy/AMSOIL Kawasaki presented by Maxxis’ Tyler Bowers taking possession of this prized plate, before FMF Power/Poynt TUF Honda’s Jeff Gibson assumed control following the Madison round.

Now, both riders enter Topeka’s Kansas Expocentre for the sixth round of the championship sharing the points lead. As a result, the rare occurrence of two red number plates will highlight both nights of action. Based on the way each rider has performed to this point in 2012, it’s no surprise that Bowers and Gibson currently sit deadlocked atop the Arenacross Class standings.

Last weekend, Bowers experienced his most dominant effort of the young season, sweeping both nights of competition in Grand Rapids to move into the current tie. Meanwhile, Gibson wasn’t far behind, posting back-to-back runner-up efforts while his rival took the checkered flag. Had it not been for a small tip over during the first main event of the weekend, Gibson very well could have walked away with a win of his own.

“The competition has been incredible this season, some of the best we’ve seen in many years,” said AMA Arenacross Series Director Mike Muye. “Tyler and Jeff have battled it out throughout every round and, in turn, have asserted themselves as the riders to beat, but there are still a lot of very fast riders knocking on the door every tie the gate drops. I don’t think we’ve seen the best of what this season has to offer yet.”

The sixth stop of the 12-round schedule from Topeka signifies the halfway point of the championship. To have such a closely-contested title fight taking place as the AMA Arenacross Series heads into this pivotal point of the year says a lot about the depth of talent and the high level of competition within the series. Every single rider in the Arenacross Class field has stepped up his game for 2012 and while only three different riders have stood atop the podium, many more have taken their turns at the front of the field at various points throughout the season and it will be just a matter of time before one of them breaks through.

Following a four-round break from action, the Western Regional Arenacross Lites Championship is back in action in Topeka. The six-round season for the rising stars of the sport kicked of the 2012 season in Des Moines, but has been on hiatus since. Now, the championship kicks into high gear with five of the final seven rounds serving as a chance for the Western Regional contenders to fight for their chance at the title.

Letko KTM’s Tanner Moore currently occupies the top spot of the Western Regional Arenacross Lites standings. A native of Auburn, Kan., this weekend’s Topeka debut offers Moore the unique opportunity to compete in front of his hometown crowd, something every rider in the sport hopes to have the privilege of doing.

Additionally, Babbitt’s Monster Energy/AMSOIL Kawasaki’s Vicki Golden will begin her quest for racing history. After returning to competition last weekend following an injury, Golden is prepared to take the next step in her young arenacross career. As the only female to compete full time against men, Golden is already a groundbreaking athlete who has rewritten the history books. Now, should she become a factor in the championship, she could become the first female champion of any kind in the motorsports landscape to achieve the ultimate success against men.

Landon Arena, the centerpiece of the Kansas Expocentre, will host the AMA Arenacross Series for the first time. The 7,450 seat facility opened in 1987 and has hosted a variety of sports and entertainment events. Currently, it is the home of the Kansas Koyotes indoor football team and the Topeka Roadrunners ice hockey team.

The sixth round of the 2012 AMA Arenacross Series kicks off tonight, with an action-packed evening of competition, and concludes tomorrow, Saturday, January 14, with yet another captivating night of action. The show, for both Friday and Saturday, begins at 7 p.m. CT.

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