SOUTHAVEN, Miss. – official series release — Josh Rud photo —
The ninth round of the 2015 AMSOIL Arenacross, featuring Ricky Carmichael’s Road to Supercross, came to a conclusion on Saturday night inside Landers Center, signifying the final race before the season-ending, playoff-inspired Race to the Championship.
One night after he earned his fourth Arenacross Class overall victory, Husqvarna TiLUBE TUF Racing’s Kyle Regal capped off a dominant weekend by winning again, becoming the first rider this season to sweep two consecutive nights of action. With the win, Regal also earned the top seed in the Race to the Championship.
In the Eastern Regional Arenacross Lites Class, Motosport.com/Haeseker Racing KTM’s Daniel Blair earned his fourth Main Event win of the season.
Regal’s path to victory started in the first Arenacross Class Main Event of the evening, when he grabbed the holeshot. Behind him a pileup collected several of the division’s top competitors, including ThermoTec/FMC Racing Yamaha’s Bobby Kiniry, Team Babbitt’s Monster Energy/AMSOIL Kawasaki teammates Matt Goerke and Jacob Hayes, Husqvarna TiLUBE TUF Racing’s Gavin Faith and more. Team Babbitt’s Chris Blose was able to escape the fray and slot into second. As a result of the incident, Regal and Blose opened a comfortable gap over the field while TZR Woodstock KTM’s Travis Sewell moved into third.
While Regal and Blose gradually established an insurmountable gap out front, all eyes were on Hayes, Goerke and Faith and their march to the front. Hayes emerged from the first lap incident in sixth, while Faith and Goerke sat eighth and ninth, respectively. Hayes broke into the top five on lap one and soon made the pass on Babbitt’s Online Suzuki’s Cory Green for fourth. On lap seven Hayes passed Sewell for third and put on a charge over the remaining eight laps to try and catch the lead duo. Faith and Goerke paced one another in their climb through the field, taking control of fourth and fifth on Lap 9 and then battling one another, with Goerke getting the better of Faith on lap 12.
Regal and Blose crossed the line just over three seconds ahead of Hayes in third. Goerke followed in fourth with Faith rounding out the top five.
Regal then proceeded to select the inversion for the second Main Event, and with the help of the Landers Center crowd he chose the case with the number eight, meaning half the field would be inverted.
Hayes carried the momentum from his impressive run in the first Main Event into the start of the second Main Event, racing to the holeshot. A small mistake in the first turn allowed Blose to take control of the lead, but Hayes responded almost immediately reclaiming the top spot heading into the whoops. Goerke, who started third, followed Hayes past Blose to move into second and then set his sights on his other teammate out front.
On lap three, Blose came under fire from the TUF Racing duo of Regal and Faith, losing two more spots to drop to fifth. As that happened, Goerke mounted a challenge on Hayes for the lead, making the pass on lap four. Hayes didn’t lose touch of his teammate and kept him honest throughout the remainder of the race, reclaiming the top spot briefly on lap 11 but losing it again one lap later.
The battle up front allowed the Husqvarna teammates to close in. Regal used an outside line to his advantage on lap 13, preventing Hayes from jumping into a rhythm section and taking over the runner-up spot. Hayes’ loss of momentum also cost him control of third as Faith followed Regal to grab third. As this unfolded Goerke slipped away to take the win, with Regal second and Faith third. Hayes dropped to fourth and Kiniry was fifth.
Regal’s impressive 1-2 effort was more than enough to earn the overall win. Goerke’s triumphant effort in the second Main Event allowed him to finish second overall (4-1), while Hayes earned a hard-fought third-place finish (3-4). Faith was fourth (5-3) with Blose rounding out the top five (2-6).
Earlier in the evening the Southaven crowd was treated to a thrilling final in the RMATV/MC Head 2 Head Challenge between Sewell and Faith. The two riders went bar-to-bar throughout the two-lap sprint, but an aggressive move by Sewell halted Faith’s progress momentarily and gave the KTM rider the advantage. Faith recovered quickly and put the pressure on Sewell, attempting a couple inside moves that ultimately left him just inches short at the checkered flag. Sewell earned his first Head 2 Head win of the season.
Regal entered the night as the points leader and thanks to his triumphant effort, he will now carry the number-one seed and the red number plate into the start of the six-round Race to the Championship. The points have been reset for the top 10 riders in the point standings and just five points separate Regal, in first, from Babbitt’s Online Suzuki’s Cory Green, the 10th and final rider to qualify.
In the Metro PCS Blazing Fast Eastern Regional Arenacross Lites Class Main Event, Sizemore’s Garage Honda’s Drayke Sizemore grabbed the holeshot with Blair hot on his rear fender. After consistent pressure Blair made what would end up being the winning pass on lap three. With Blair out front, Sizemore came under pressure from College Hunks Moving Junk/Spinechillers Racing KTM’s Dave Ginolfi, who clinched the Eastern Regional Arenacross Lites Class Championship on Friday and made the pass for the runner-up spot on lap six. On the ensuing lap MMCR Kawasaki’s Jacob Williamson took over third.
While Ginolfi stayed within striking distance of Blair for the lead, the top three stayed the same through to the finish. Blair took the win by just over a half second on Ginolfi, while Williamson earned the first podium finish of his career in third.
CREDIT: AMSOIL Arenacross