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Team Green | 1/7/2014
Team Babbitt’s Monster Energy/Amsoil Kawasaki Leaves Round 1 of Arenacross with the Points Lead
Team Babbitt’s Monster Energy/Amsoil Kawasaki Leaves Round 1 of Arenacross with the Points Lead
Irvine, Calif. (January 7, 2014) – Two nights of racing kicked off the 2014 AMA Arenacross season from the DCU Center in Worcester, Mass., as Kawasaki went undefeated over the weekend. Friday night saw Team Babbitt’s Monster Energy/Amsoil Kawasaki’s Tyler Bowers, the three-time defending champion, win both main events making some aggressive moves along the way. On Saturday night it was Bowers teammate Zach Ames who took the first main event win followed by Kawasaki rider Michael McDade taking the second main event win and the overall for the night with a 2-1 score. Ames’ consistency over the two nights of racing allowed him to leave with the points lead and the red plates. Arenacross rookie and Team Green graduate Colt Nichols had a great introduction to the series by finishing within the top-10 both nights and finished as high as fourth in one of the four main events.
Ups and Downs
The arenacross season began like none other as a number of excited rookies lined up against the regular seasoned veterans. Three-time defending champion Bowers started night one where he left off last year and put his No. 1 Kawasaki KX™250F out front. Bowers came through the pack in both main events which included welcoming Kawasaki rider Jacob Hayes to the series with a little love tap before the finish line jump. Unfortunately, Bowers’ success did not transfer over to Saturday night. He was flawless throughout the head-to-head bracket races and earned himself additional championship points, but in the main events he ran into misfortune. Tangling with riders in Main Event 1, he placed outside the top-10 and in the second main he had made it back up to the top-five before losing the front end and going down. Bowers sits sixth in points and will look to regain the red plate next weekend in Baltimore.

“This weekend was the craziest arenacross has been in a while,” said Bowers. “Everyone was excited to get the season started and that showed on the track with guys making over aggressive moves. My starts were a huge strength on Friday night and I had fun racing and bumping bars. On Saturday I got taken out and it went downhill from there. The track was pretty tight and hard to pass on so you had to be aggressive.”
Consistent
Ames walked away from Round 1 with the points lead and he did so by being the most consistent rider throughout the weekend. On Friday night he followed the Kawasaki train of Bowers, McDade, and Hayes to finish fourth in the first main event but fought in the second main to finish on his teammates heals in second. Saturday he won his heat and got a great start aboard his KX250F in the first main to take the checkered flag and his first win of the season. Ames was shuffled back in the second main event but second overall on both nights gave him the points lead by two points going into Round 2.

“It feels good to get a win and leave with the points lead,” said Ames. “There are quite a few guys that can win this year so it’s going to get dicey. I know we’ve got the best bike so it’s just a matter of being consistent and limiting your bad races.”
The Rookie
Nichols joins Team Babbitt’s fresh from a successful amateur career with Monster Energy Kawasaki Team Green. Nichols jumped into his first night of arenacross racing and picked it up right away. Despite an issue in the first main event, he charged hard from a back-row start to finish fourth in the Main Event 2. Saturday night did not see him finish as high but Nichols was consistent and finished both mains in the top-10. With one round in the books, Nichols will know what to expect in Baltimore next weekend.

“I learned a lot this weekend,” said Nichols. “I was running third the whole second main on Friday, I got passed right at the end, but the whole night was a lot of fun with the bracket races. Saturday my starts weren’t where I wanted them, but I’m happy to get Round 1 out of the way and I’m excited to go to Baltimore.”
The Road to Supercross
AMA Arenacross has become the stepping stone for amateurs looking to make the jump to the pro ranks and into supercross. This year many amateurs are competing to get their feet wet and get a feel for racing indoors in addition to earning points for their supercross license. Nichols and Hayes are two top Kawasaki riders who are new for the 2014 season and established themselves as front runners from the get go.

“It’s a lot different racing arenacross,” said Nichols. “It’s a lot gnarlier than I expected and it’s almost like chess match. There are times when you need to attack right away and other times where you need to be patient and wait for the right time to make passes. These guys have so much racing experience but I’m fortunate to have my teammates who have been a great help.”
KX Proof
Over two nights of racing it was nothing but dominance for Kawasaki and the KX250F. On Friday night, Bowers won both main events, while Hayes won the head-to-head bracket racing and Bowers, Ames, and Hayes swept the podium in the second main event. The proof continued on Saturday as Ames won the first main event and McDade won the second, while Bowers took the head-to-head races.
Track Conditions
After a very soft and rutted track in Worcester, Round 2 takes the series to Baltimore at Baltimore Arena for another two-night event. The dirt in Baltimore is typically very hard-packed and very slick which will provide completely different racing conditions for the riders.
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