By: Feld Motorsports
The third round of AMSOIL Arenacross’ Race to the Ricky Carmichael Cup held its second consecutive night of action inside the Livestock Events Center in Reno, Nev. on Saturday, March 25. Team TiLUBE/Jack’s Links/TUF Racing Honda’s Jace Owen rebounded in a big way by sweeping both main-event wins to score his first victory since the start of the Race to the Ricky Carmichael Cup. In the Western Regional AX Lites class, Woodstock KTM’s Hunter Sayles battled through the field to claim the main-event win and move back atop the championship standings.
Prior to the 250AX class main-event showdown, points were handed out in the RMATV/MC Head 2 Head Challenge. The final matchup proved to be a repeat of Friday night’s action as Team Babbitt’s/Monster Energy/AMSOIL Kawasaki, presented by AP Designs, rider Gavin Faith went bar to bar with Rockstar Energy/OTSFF/Yamaha, in association with Cycle Trader and Rock River, rider Chris Blose, leading from start to finish to capture his third straight Head 2 Head Challenge win and add an additional championship bonus point to his Race to the Ricky Carmichael Cup total.
In the first 250AX class main event, Owen powered his Honda to the front of the field, just ahead of Team Babbitt’s teammates Faith and Travis Sewell. Defending AMSOIL Arenacross Champion Faith quickly went to work and made the pass on Owen through the whoops on the opening lap. Blose was determined to keep the leaders within sight and muscled his way around Sewell for third on lap one, followed by Rockstar Energy/OTSFF/Yamaha, in association with Cycle Trader and Rock River, rider Matt Goerke.
With Faith and Owen running a blistering pace out front, the battle for the remaining top-five positions began to heat up as Team Babbitt’s rider Gared Steinke overtook Goerke for fifth on lap two. The race leaders continued to pace each other lap after lap, with Owen slowly inching his way onto the rear fender of Faith. On lap eight, Owen took advantage of a bobble by Faith and regained control of the race lead. Just one lap later, Steinke started nipping at the heels of his Team Babbitt’s Kawasaki teammate Sewell and dove to the inside to make the pass.
Owen consistently clicked off fast laps while in the lead, extending his gap each lap and crossing the checkered flag 4.3 seconds ahead of Faith. Blose followed in third, while a last-lap pass placed Sewell fourth and Steinke fifth.
Faith continued his recent streak of starting well by grabbing the holeshot in the second main event, narrowly edging out Owen and Blose. Faith instantly went to work in an attempt to break away from the field, however, Owen refused to let him slip away and latched onto the leader’s rear wheel. Woodstock KTM’s Daniel Herrlein slid into fourth on lap two with an aggressive pass on Sewell.
Similar to the first main event, Owen began to close the gap near the halfway point of the race and was searching for a way past Faith. On lap seven, Owen got the drive down the rhythm section and snuck past in the following turn. He demonstrated incredible speed while out front and opened a comfortable lead over his nearest competitor.
Owen held a 4.7-second margin of victory over Faith, taking the win and a clean sweep on the evening. Blose finished strong in third, with Herrlein fourth and Steinke fifth.
It was an impressive performance by Owen, who put a stop to Faith’s win streak and rebounded for his first victory in the Race to the Ricky Carmichael Cup. Faith scored valuable points with a runner-up effort (2-2), while Blose stood atop the final podium step in third (3-3). Herrlein was fourth (6-4), just ahead of Steinke (5-5).
Following back-to-back victories, Faith entered the night eight points ahead of Owen in the Ricky Carmichael Cup standings, but now controls the lead by just seven points following Owen’s win. Blose sits in third, 11 points out of the championship lead.
The 12-lap Western Regional AX Lites class main event saw Breece jump out to the early lead with the holeshot over Woodstock KTM’s Hunter Sayles and Team DirtBikeMike’s Hunter Hilton. Sayles successfully completed a brave pass attempt on lap one that moved him past Breece and into the race lead. Sayles used every inch of the track as he meticulously navigated at the front, keeping night-one winner Breece at bay.
An intense battle began to shape up for the final podium position between Hilton, DrivenMX Racing KTM’s Jared Lesher and Yamaha rider Austin Walton. On lap seven, Lesher took control of the final podium position by making the pass on Hilton.
Sayles maintained his lead and took the win 3.1 seconds ahead of Breece’s hard-fought effort in second. Lesher rounded out the podium in third.
The win moved Sayles back atop the Western Regional Championship standings by a single point, just one night after sitting in a tie with Breece. Lesher continues to hold onto third and is now seven points out of the lead.
The fourth round of the Race to the Ricky Carmichael Cup continues Saturday, April 1 at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, Calif. Racing gets underway at 7 p.m. PT / 10 p.m. ET.