By: Feld Motorsports
After three nights of AMSOIL Arenacross competition for the 2016 season a consistent theme has surrounded the performance by the Team Babbitt’s/Monster Energy/AMSOIL Kawasaki trio of Chris Blose, Gavin Faith and Jacob Hayes. All three riders have claimed an overall win and are off to a flying start to the championship, currently occupying the top three positions in the Arenacross Class standings. This weekend the Team Babbitt’s effort brings the momentum to Allentown, Pa., with two nights of action for the championship’s inaugural visit to the PPL Center on Friday, Jan. 22, and Saturday, Jan. 23.
At last weekend’s visit to Baltimore, both Blose and Hayes grabbed the spotlight over the course of back-to-back nights of racing. Each rider ended on the top step of the podium, accompanying Faith in the overall win column. Although Faith missed out on adding to his win total and ultimately lost control of the points lead, he was a fixture in the battle at the front of the field and sits just a single point from reclaiming the top spot in the championship.
While Team Babbitt’s grabbed a lot of attention in Baltimore by virtue of its success, the second round was also an opportunity for new faces to emerge in the season-long battle for the Ricky Carmichael Cup. Road to Supercross competitor Benny Bloss learned quickly that AMSOIL Arenacross can be harsh at times, and following an up-and-down effort at the opening round, he bounced back with more speed and confidence in Baltimore, fighting for an overall podium finish on Friday night aboard his Blue Buffalo/Slater Skins Yamaha. The rider with whom Bloss went bar-to-bar for the podium was TiLUBE/Tuf Racing Honda’s Jace Owen. In his AMSOIL Arenacross debut Owen strung together a pair of consistent main event efforts to ultimately finish third overall and show almost instantly that he’ll be a contender as the season progresses. The following night, Owen’s Tuf Racing teammate Ben Lamay made his presence felt in just his second AMSOIL Arenacross start. The veteran rider used his experience in Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, to his advantage to finish second overall and cement TiLUBE/Tuf Racing’s longtime status as a perennial title threat.
With the ascension of Bloss, Owen and Lamay this past weekend, in addition to the continuation of a solid start to the season for both Woodtsock/TZR KTM’s Travis Sewell and defending champion Kyle Regal, the depth of the Arenacross Class field continues to grow. With so much talent pushing its way to the front, it’s only a matter of time before someone ends Team Babbitt’s hot streak and alters the complexion of the title fight. With another doubleheader set for this weekend’s first ever visit to Allentown, there isn’t a better opportunity for one of the championship’s other prominent figures to emerge triumphant. Thus far in 2016, AMSOIL Arenacross has been parity at its finest and there’s no reason to think that trend won’t continue.
In addition to the attention that will surely be focused on the early battle for the Arenacross Class title is the highly anticipated professional debut of Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Austin Forkner as he begins his Road to Supercross. The most recent winner of the Amateur All-Star Class at the Monster Energy Cup this past October already has a factory ride and is expected to instantly battle for victory alongside the stars of AMSOIL Arenacross, following in the footsteps of Aaron Plessinger, arguably the most successful Road to Supercross rider to date. With a pair of high profile Road to Supercross competitors in Bloss and Forkner on the gate this weekend, Allentown will be a showcase of the sport’s bright future.
The third round of AMSOIL Arenacross from the PPL Center kicks off on Friday, Jan. 22, beginning at 7 p.m. ET. A second night of action on Saturday, Jan. 23 will bring the inaugural battle in Allentown to a close, starting at 7 p.m. ET.