By: Feld Motorsports
The second round of AMSOIL Arenacross’ Race to the Ricky Carmichael Cup got underway on Friday, March 24 inside the Livestock Events Center, the first of two nights of action from “The Biggest Little City in the World.” It was a night of dominance for Team Babbitt’s/Monster Energy/AMSOIL Kawasaki’s Gavin Faith, the defending AMSOIL Arenacross Champion, who enjoyed a perfect outing en route to securing back-to-back victories to start the Race to the Ricky Carmichael Cup, taking control of the points lead in doing so. In the Western Regional AX Lites Class, Team Babbitt’s/GPF/Monster Energy Kawasaki/MMCR’s Ryan Breece claimed his second main-event win to move back atop the championship standings.
Before the 250AX class main events got underway, points were handed out in the RMATV/MC Head 2 Head Challenge. The final pairing saw Faith square off against Rockstar Energy/OTSFF/Yamaha, in association with Cycle Trader and Rock River, rider Chris Blose. As the pair stormed into the first turn, Blose went down, allowing Faith to cruise to his second straight Head 2 Head Challenge win and add an additional championship bonus point to his Race to the Ricky Carmichael Cup total.
When the gate dropped on the first 250AX class main event, it was Faith who put his Kawasaki out front ahead of Blose and Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha’s Challen Tennant. Championship co-leader Jace Owen slotted into seventh aboard his TiLUBE/Jack Link’s/TUF Racing Honda. Faith and Blose set a quick pace out front, which gave them some breathing room over Tennant, who was left to deal with Woodstock KTM’s Daniel Herrlein and Team Babbitt’s rider Gared Steinke. Owen moved into sixth right behind this group on lap one.
With Faith and Blose continuing to control the race out front, both Herrlein and Steinke moved past Tennant on lap two, with Herrlein third and Steinke fourth. Tennant would then battle with Owen for fifth. Herrlein and Steinke then engaged in a battle for third for several laps. Eventually, the Kawasaki rider gained the advantage on lap nine and took over the final podium spot. On the following lap, Owen broke into the top five by passing Tennant.
Blose kept Faith honest throughout the main event, but the defending AMSOIL Arenacross Champion was able to pull out to a lead of just over a second in the closing stages, crossing the line 1.6 seconds ahead of Blose. Steinke followed in third, with Herrlein fourth and Owen fifth.
Faith kept the momentum rolling into the second main event, once again putting his Kawasaki out front ahead of Blose and Owen. Faith tried to get away, but Blose kept pace, allowing both riders to eventually open a gap over Owen in third. On lap six Blose challenged Faith for the lead, diving to the inside in some corners, but the champ withstood the challenge and proceeded to put distance between he and Blose over the remainder of the race.
Faith went on to make a clean sweep of the night, leading all 30 main-event laps, and took the checkered flag 1.3 seconds ahead of Blose. Owen was third, with Steinke fourth and Herrlein fifth.
The performance was arguably Faith’s most impressive this season, giving him back-to-back overall wins to start the Race to the Ricky Carmichael Cup. Blose posted a strong runner-up effort (2-2), while Steinke rounded out the overall podium in third (3-4). Owen narrowly missed the podium in fourth (5-3), with Herrlein completing the top five (4-5).
Faith entered the night tied with Owen atop the Race to the Ricky Carmichael Cup standings, but now has sole control of the points with his win. He moves out to an eight-point advantage over Owen and Blose, who are now tied for second.
The 12-lap Western Regional AX Lites class main event got underway with Breece taking the holeshot over Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha’s Challen Tennant and Reno-area native Austin Walton aboard his T.M.C. Yamaha. Championship co-leader Hunter Sayles started in fourth aboard his Woodstock KTM, while fellow championship leader Jared Lesher found himself in last place aboard his DrivenMX Racing KTM. Sayles would drop to fifth on lap two after being passed by Mach 1 Motorsports KTM’s Connor Pearson.
Tennant began to apply pressure on Breece for the lead on lap four and attempted to make a pass heading into a corner, forcing contact between the leaders. Tennant got the worst of the incident, going over the berm and dropping to the tail end of the field. Breece continued on and was able to open his gap over the field. Walton took over control of second, while Pearson moved into third. As the race reached the closing laps, Breece moved out to an advantage of over two seconds on Walton, but Pearson was forced to deal with pressure from Sayles, who ultimately took over control of the final spot on the podium on lap nine.
Breece maintained his lead through to the finish and took his second win of the season, 1.4 seconds ahead of Walton, who enjoyed a stellar showing in front of the hometown crowd. Sayles rounded out the podium in third.
The win moved Breece back atop the Western Regional Championship standings, into a tie with Sayles. Lesher, who finished eighth, dropped to third, five points out of the lead.