TAMPA, Fla. (Feb. 21, 2015) – The sixth round of the 2015 season of AMSOIL Arenacross, featuring Ricky Carmichael’s Road to Supercross, featured the championship’s inaugural visit to Amalie Arena on Saturday night. After a pair of wild Arenacross Class main events in which many of his championship rivals were faced with adversity, Husqvarna TiLUBE TUF Racing’s Kyle Regal relied on a pair of runner-up finishes to earn his second overall victory of the season. In the Eastern Regional Arenacross Lites Class, Motosport.com/Haeseker Racing KTM’s Daniel Blair grabbed the win.
Prior to the start of the opening Arenacross Class main event, Husqvarna TiLUBE TUF Racing’s Gavin Faith, a winner this season, was unable to start his bike, ultimately retiring from competition before the gate event dropped. When the race did get underway, the Team Babbitt’s Monster Energy/AMSOIL Kawasaki duo of Matt Goerke and Chris Blose came out of the first turn off the start side-by-side. Blose seized control of the lead as the field crossed the line, but in the next rhythm section he came up short on a jump and crashed, handing the lead over to Goerke. That same lap, misfortune also hit the third Team Babbitt’s rider, Jacob Hayes, who crashed out of fifth after making contact with another rider and dropped to the tail end of the field.
Goerke was able to sprint away early and open a small lead on Regal, who also started inside the top three, while Slaka Wear KTM’s Steven Mages locked down possession of third. On lap four Regal began to put pressure on Goerke and appeared to be setting up the Kawasaki rider for a pass, but a bobble in the whoops caused him to lose ground. In his effort to try and make up for that lost time, Regal lost his front end at the start of lap 10 and went down, dropping to fifth. That same lap Mages fell just after the whoops after moving into second, allowing Motosport.com/Haeseker Racing KTM’s Gared Steinke and ThermoTec/FMC Racing Yamaha’s Bobby Kiniry to take over the remaining podium spots. Goerke dominated out front and cruised to the win while a hard-charging Regal managed to claw his way back into second on the final lap to steal the runner-up spot. Kiniry finished third while Hayes recovered from his early troubles to salvage sixth.
Excited about the chance to win in front of his home crowd, Florida native Goerke relied on the fans to select the inversion for the second main event, with the chosen case ultimately revealing an eight, meaning half the field would be inverted.
As the second main event got underway, with Blose absent following his get-off in the first race, Kiniry took advantage of a good start to grab the holeshot ahead of Babbitt’s Online Suzuki’s Cory Green and Mages. All three of the main title contenders – Hayes, Goerke and Regal – came away with solid starts, but Goerke soon encountered misfortune on lap two, falling to the ground while trying to make a charge to the front and falling to 11th. Green found himself on the ground as well just a few feet ahead of Goerke. Hayes took advantage of their trouble to take over second from Mages on lap three, with Regal following into third just a couple laps later.
Once in second Hayes methodically closed in on leader Kiniry, making up considerable ground in the whoops. On lap six he moved to within a couple bike lengths of the lead and, on the following lap, was able to set up a pass coming out of the whoops. Once out front, Hayes pulled away and Kiniry soon came under fire from Regal, who made the pass for second on lap 12 and assured himself of victory. Hayes recovered from his tough opening Main Event to claim the win, with Regal and Kiniry following in second and third. Goerke recovered to finish fifth.
Regal’s consistency on the night (2-2) landed him on top of the overall classification, while Hayes’ win in the second main event combined with his victory in the RMATV/MC Head 2 Head Challenge allowed him to earn second overall (6-1) in what ended up as a three-way tie for the spot. Kiniry ended up third overall (3-3), with his better finish in the second Main Event giving him the tiebreaker over Goerke in fourth (1-5). College Hunks Hauling Junk/Spinechillers Racing KTM’s Willy Browning rounded out the top five (7-4).
“I think I was one of the most consistent guys in the whoops and I think it paid off tonight. I’m pumped,” exclaimed Regal. “We’ll do some more work this week and be ready to get back at it next weekend.”
By virtue of his tie with Goerke, Hayes’ lead in the championship remains at 14 points. Regal gained ground on his rivals in third and now sits 20 points out of the lead and just six points behind Goerke.
“I’m not sure what happened in the first main event. I made contact while battling for position there early and I got the worse end of it. It was just one of those things that happens in Arenacross,” said Hayes. “But we came back strong and were able to get a win to close out the night. It feels good to keep points lead.”
The 2015 AMSOIL Arenacross season continues next weekend with the seventh round of the championship on Saturday, Feb. 28, from Kansas City, Mo., and Sprint Center. Action begins at 5 p.m. PT/7 p.m. CT/8 p.m. ET.