Arenacross Reloaded: Hitting the Bullseye

Racers smashing each other off the track, red cross flags changing transfer positions, 2-strokes smoking up the building, and riders going backwards on the track! 

Somewhere around 150 laps in under 150 minutes, AMA Arenacross is (slightly) controlled, (ultra) competitive (complete) chaos that will leave you asking yourself: What did I just watch? In the same fashion as the show that was the AMA Arenacross Opener in Boise, ID, here is my reaction. Quick and out of control!

Local Legend Returns

Once upon a time Ryan Breece made a name for himself in arenas around the country consistently beating up on household names week in and week out.  He went away and nearly quit once and I even heard a story about his comeback being linked to winning a barrel race on a bike against horses. 

Maybe that is why he felt right at home in the rodeo arena in Boise as his return to the spotlight began again; this time recovering from an injury that he suffered just after his most successful year as a pro where he notched multiple top 10 finishes in 450 Supercross. In front of his home state crowd Breece was the fastest qualifier, easily won his heat, confidently inched away from the defending champion in the first Main Event, and sliced through the pack to a respectable fourth in the second Main Event.  Breece is back everybody!

The Old Guard Still Rules

If you only looked at the results you’d just shrug your shoulders and remind yourself that AMA Arenacross is Kyle Peters’ domain and his reign shall continue uncontested.  However, a deeper look at timed qualifying that had him outside the top 5, a 1v1+1 race where Breece and Politelli had his number, and an opening Main Event that had Breece stretching the gap tells a different story… or does it?  Peters has four championships for a reason, he knows the end goal is the number one plate. Leaving the opening night with the red plate says the veteran knew the situation and managed it to perfection.  Dang, he’s really good and is going to be really tough to stop.

New Year, New Talent

To start off, let’s point out that this is only year two of what I’d like to call “Arenacross Reloaded.”  They’ve locked in bigger purse money, loaded up on track quality, and are booming in entertainment value.  When 50 pro racers show up to the opening round you know they are hitting bullseyes!  With a field of experienced pros with decorated resumes it was very impressive to see a couple of rookies slide straight into the main events from their heat races.  Massive props to Slade Varola who notched 7-5 scores in the two mains after leading a handful of laps in the second race and fellow Kawasaki mounted up-and-comer Crockett Myers for a couple of top 10 finishes. 

Rodbell Smokes ‘Em

A great 2 stroke racer named Matt Burkeen once told me, “Racers, race!”  Clearly Justin Rodbell listened because he made the trek to Idaho from the East Coast on his KTM, scooped himself off the concrete after a first turn crash, and smoked the field on his KTM to grab the $5000 bounty.  Arenacross specialist who barks a YZ250 all season long Jared Lesher put up a fight but he seemed to be just a touch off on the slippery track.  Still, Lesher pocketed $2500 while Chance Blackburn took the final podium spot.  The Flying Taco (Carlos Short) landed in the 4th spot and will take home some benjamins as well.

Encore – WE WANT MORE! 

Here we go again!  Less than 24 hours from the podium celebration the lights will go down and opening ceremonies will begin.  For some it is a chance to keep the momentum rolling, others will be looking for redemption, and we can all look forward to the final group that is purely looking for revenge!  Everyone wants to end the weekend on a high note with scores settled (or to even be a little ahead) and tensions will be higher than ever.  Saturday night in Boise should be an exciting one!

Night 1 Results

Main image: Arenacross

Written by Checkerz

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