OMAHA, Neb. (March 5, 2016) – AMSOIL Arenacross kicked off the second half of the 2016 season on Saturday with its debut from the CenturyLink Center. Just two rounds remained until the cutoff for the Race to the Championship entering the evening, which will pit the top 10 riders in the standings in a playoff-style showdown to become the first recipient of the Ricky Carmichael Cup. In front of a large group of family and friends, Team Babbitt’s/Monster Energy/AMSOIL Kawasaki’s Gavin Faith completed a flawless night at his hometown race, once again sweeping the Main Events to take his second straight overall win and extend his lead in the Arenacross Class point standings. In the Western Regional Arenacross Lites Class, TZR/Woodstock KTM’s Cody VanBuskirk raced to his second consecutive victory, inching closer to the championship lead.
Before the Main Events got underway, Faith made the first statement of the evening by defeating his Team Babbitt’s teammate Jacob Hayes for the win in the RMATV/MC Head-2-Head Challenge. That triumph gave Faith an extra championship bonus point and gave him the momentum heading into the pair of Arenacross Class Main Events.
The first Main Event saw TiLUBE/Tuf Racing Honda’s Jace Owen grab the holeshot and early lead, but a crash in the rhythm section not only took him out of the top spot, but also the race. That allowed Faith to lead the first lap before Custom Power Sports/Slakawear Kawasaki’s Steven Mages made the pass for the top spot, followed by TiLUBE/Tuf Racing Honda’s Ben Lamay in third ahead of Team Babbitt’s/Monster Energy/AMSOIL Kawasaki’s Chris Blose and TZR/Woodstock KTM’s Travis Sewell.
Faith was all over Mages’ rear fender over the next couple laps and was able to complete the pass for the lead on Lap 3. As he chased Faith while running second, Mages crashed in the whoops on Lap 6 and lost several spots. Lamay took over second with Sewell moving into third after passing Blose early. Faith carried on to the win and took the checkered flag just over two seconds ahead of Lamay. Sewell secured third, with Blose fourth. In his return to action after missing the previous round, Team Babbitt’s/Monster Energy/AMSOIL Kawasaki’s Jacob Hayes overcame a crash on the opening lap and a 15th-place start to claim a hard-fought fifth-place finish.
Faith, whose hometown of Fort Dodge, Iowa sits just a short drive from Omaha, leaned on the assistance of the hometown crowd to select one of three cases that would determine the inversion for the second Main Event. With the help of the fans, Faith ultimately selected the case with the number eight, meaning half the field would be inverted.
Despite losing his first gate pick, Faith was still able to put his Kawasaki at the front of the field to start the second Main Event with the holeshot and early lead. Hayes chased his teammate in second while Blose completed a Team Babbitt’s 1-2-3 in third. Hayes was able to keep pace with Faith out front, keeping his deficit to less than a second, and even showed a wheel to his teammate on a few occasions.
As the Main Event approached the closing laps, Faith was able to find some separation between he and Hayes and took the win over two seconds ahead of his teammate. Blose rode to a solid third-place finish, with Sewell fourth and Lamay fifth.
Faith’s back-to-back 1-1 sweeps give him the most overall wins in the championship with four, and after finishing second in the Head-2-Head Challenge at the previous round, he capped off his most dominant night of the season with wins in all points-paying races. Behind him, a four-way tie for second left Hayes, Blose, Sewell and Lamay needing to rely on their results in the final Main Event as the tiebreaker. That resulted in another Team Babbitt’s sweep of the overall podium, with Hayes second (5-2) and Blose third (4-3). Sewell was fourth (3-4), while Lamay rounded out the top five (2-5).
The maximum points scored in Omaha moved Faith to 17 markers ahead of Sewell in the Arenacross Class standings. Hayes sits third, 20 points out of the lead, with Blose fourth (-26) and Lamay fifth (-97). In the increasingly intense battle at the bottom of the top 10, and a potential spot in the Race to the Championship, Rockstar Energy Drink Husqvarna Factory Racing presented by FMC and OTSFF teammates Kyle Bitterman and Kyle Regal occupy ninth and 10th, respectively, while VanBuskirk sits 11th, on the outside looking in. Just four points separate these three riders with the Race to the Championship cutoff next weekend.
TZR/Woodstock KTM’s Scott Zont captured the holeshot to start the 15-lap Western Regional Arenacross Lites Class Main Event, but on the opening lap Team DirtBikeMike/KTM Sporstcenter of Little Rock’s Ben Nelko overtook him in the whoops to take over the lead, bringing VanBuskirk with him into second. Nelko was able to fend off the early pressure from VanBuskirk throughout the first half of the Main Event, with just about a second separating the pair. On Lap 7 VanBuskirk made his move, slipping under Nelko in the first turn after the finish line to seize control of the race. Once in the lead, VanBuskirk never looked back and followed up his maiden victory at the championship’s previous stop with another impressive effort. Nelko was second, while Zont rounded out the podium in third. Shawnee Motor Company/Justified Cultures KTM’s Cheyenne Harmon was fourth and ActionExtremeSports/MEPMX KTM’s Jared Lesher was fifth.
The win helped VanBuskirk close to within three points of Nelko, who entered as the points leader, in the Western Regional Championship standings. Harmon moved from fifth to third, 14 points behind Nelko.
The 2016 AMSOIL Arenacross season will continue next Saturday, March 12 for the cutoff round for the Race to the Championship from Lafayette, Louisiana’s CAJUNDOME. Racing begins at 5 p.m. PT / 7 p.m. CT / 8 p.m. ET.
Arenacross Class Results – Main Event 1
1. Gavin Faith, Fort Dodge, Iowa, Kawasaki
2. Ben Lamay, Forney, Texas, Honda
3. Travis Sewell, Westville, Ind., KTM
4. Chris Blose, Phoenix, Kawasaki
5. Jacob Hayes, Liberty, N.C., Kawasaki
6. Cody VanBuskirk, Harvard, Ill., KTM
7. Kyle Bitterman, West Pelzer, S.C., Husqvarna
8. Jared Lesher, Ball Ground, Ga., KTM
9. Chris Canning, Coventry, Conn., Yamaha
10. Cheyenne Harmon, Colleyville, Texas, KTM
Arenacross Class Results – Main Event 2
1. Gavin Faith, Fort Dodge, Iowa, Kawasaki
2. Jacob Hayes, Liberty, N.C., Kawasaki
3. Chris Blose, Phoenix, Kawasaki
4. Travis Sewell, Westville, Ind., KTM
5. Ben Lamay, Forney, Texas, Honda
6. Jace Owen, Matoon, Ill., Honda
7. Steven Mages, Sardinia, Ohio, Kawasaki
8. Jared Lesher, Ball Ground, Ga., KTM
9. Cody VanBuskirk, Harvard, Ill., KTM
10. Kyle Bitterman, West Pelzer, S.C., Husqvarna
Arenacross Class Overall Results (Main Event Results)
1. Gavin Faith, Fort Dodge, Iowa, Kawasaki (1-1)
2. Jacob Hayes, Liberty, N.C., Kawasaki (5-2)
3. Chris Blose, Phoenix, Kawasaki (4-3)
4. Travis Sewell, Westville, Ind., KTM (3-4)
5. Ben Lamay, Forney, Texas, Honda (2-5)
6. Cody VanBuskirk, Harvard, Ill., KTM (6-9)
7. Jared Lesher, Ball Ground, Ga., KTM (8-8)
8. Kyle Bitterman, West Pelzer, S.C., Husqvarna (7-10)
9. Steven Mages, Sardinia, Ohio, Kawasaki (14-7)
10. Chris Canning, Coventry, Conn., Yamaha (9-11)
RMATV/MC Head 2 Head Challenge Results (bonus points)
1. Gavin Faith, Fort Dodge, Iowa, Kawasaki (2 points)
2. Jacob Hayes, Liberty, N.C., Kawasaki (1 point)
3. Travis Sewell, Westville, Ind., KTM (1 point)
4. Jace Owen, Matoon, Ill., Honda (1 point)
5. Ben Lamay, Forney, Texas, Honda (1 point)
6. Chris Blose, Phoenix, Kawasaki (1 point)
7. Kyle Bitterman, West Pelzer, S.C., Husqvarna (1 point)
8. Steven Mages, Sardinia, Ohio, Kawasaki (1 point)
Western Regional Arenacross Lites Class Results
1. Cody VanBuskirk, Harvard, Ill., KTM
2. Ben Nelko, Aliquippa, Pa., KTM
3. Scott Zont, Algonquin, Ill., KTM
4. Cheyenne Harmon, Colleyville, Texas, KTM
5. Jared Lesher, Ball Ground, Ga., KTM
6. Mathew Weakley, Atoka, Tenn., Husqvarna
7. Dillon Cloyed, Papillion, Neb., Honda
8. Josh Struebig, Crown Point, Ind., KTM
9. Brandon Marley, McEwen, Tenn., KTM
10. Dylan Rouse, Florence, Ky., KTM
Arenacross Class Championship Standings
1. Gavin Faith, Fort Dodge, Iowa, Kawasaki – 276 (4 Main Event Wins)
2. Travis Sewell, Westville, Ind., KTM – 265 (5 Main Event Wins)
3. Jacob Hayes, Liberty, N.C., Kawasaki – 262 (8 Main Event Wins)
4. Chris Blose, Phoenix, Kawasaki – 256 (1 Main Event Win)
5. Ben Lamay, Forney, Texas, Honda – 185
6. Jace Owen, Matoon, Ill., Honda – 175
7. Gared Steinke, Woodland, Calif., Husqvarna – 171
8. Daniel Herrlein, Bethesda, Ohio, Honda – 148
9. Kyle Regal, Lake Elsinore, Calif., Husqvarna – 130
10. Kyle Bitterman, West Pelzer, S.C., Husqvarna – 115
Western Regional Arenacross Lites Class Standings
1. Ben Nelko, Aliquippa, Pa., KTM – 60 (2 Main Event Wins)
2. Cody VanBuskirk, Harvard, Ill., KTM – 57 (1 Main Event Win)
3. Cheyenne Harmon, Colleyville, Texas, KTM – 46
4. Scott Zont, Algonquin, Ill., KTM – 42
5. Carlen Gardner, Paso Robles, Calif., KTM – 40
6. Dylan Rouse, Florence, Ky., KTM – 37
7. Dave Ginolfi, Midvale, Utah, Husqvarna – 36
8. Jared Lesher, Ball Ground, Ga., KTM – 31
9. Collin Jurin, Monroe, Wash., Kawasaki – 25
10. Brandon Marley, McEwen, Tenn., KTM – 25
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