Irvine, Calif. (February 4, 2013) – Halfway through the 2013 AMA Arenacross season, Round 5 took place at Cedar Park Center in Cedar Park, Texas. Team Babbitt’s Monster Energy/Amsoil Kawasaki presented by Maxxis took the top two spots of the podium on both Friday and Saturday, with Tyler Bowers taking both wins. Bowers swept both main events on Friday and took both checkered flags on Saturday, but controversy over what lap the checkered flag came out credited Bowers with second place. His 1-2 score still gave him the overall to dominant the weekend. Teammate Zach Ames returned to the podium finishing second overall on both nights. Tyler Villopoto finished fourth and third in the two Arenacross Lites main events, but crashes and nagging injuries kept him from the front in the Arenacross class.
Bowers displayed why he is the two-time defending champion by overcoming everything the competition could throw at him this weekend. On Friday night he was able to win both main events, despite starting from the back row after selecting an eight-man inversion. Dropping to the inside of the back row, Bowers was able to tuck around the inside and easily make his way to the front and extend his points lead. On Saturday, Bowers claimed the top spot in the bracket races for an extra championship point and won the first main event. In the second main event he was held up on the first lap and was forced to come through the pack. Bowers watched the two-lap board and began his attack on the leader. He pressured the leader into a mistake on the white-flag lap and took the win, thinking he had a clean sweep on the weekend. Afterwards the officials informed him that they had ran one additional lap and because he was not leading when they crossed the finish line for the 12th lap, he was awarded second. Despite the mix up, Bowers still took the overall and now leads over his teammate by 60 points in the championship.
“I rode smart and stayed away from all the carnage this weekend,” said Bowers. “The second main events were tough for me and I had to come through the pack, but I got every win if you don’t count the checkered flag mix up. I worked really hard to come back from where I started so I’m excited, but really wish I got the clean sweep.”
Following a less than ideal race last weekend, Ames was ready to battle in Cedar Park. On Friday night, he came through the field to finish fifth in his heat race, giving him an outside gate for the main event, but he was able to grab a decent start on his KX™250F and climbed to finish second behind his teammate. Starting from the outside once again due to the inversion, Ames grabbed the early lead and battled with Bowers to finish second. On Saturday, he battled for the win in the heat race and the bracket races, taking second in both of them and giving him the inside gate for the main event. When the gate dropped, Ames quickly took control of the race on the first lap and led until the last lap when a sneaky pass by his teammate dropped him to second at the checkered flag. Starting from the outside in the second main event, Ames was pinched off and forced to come through the pack. He fought his way to the front but had to settle for fourth. His 2-4 score gave him second overall for the second night in a row and moved him into second place in the points standings.
“It feels good to be back on the box,” said Ames. “I feel back to my old speed, but I won’t be content until I get another win. I felt like I was much more patient this weekend and limited my mistakes. The plan is to keep finishing on the box and stay out of trouble. I’m hungry for the win.”
Villopoto came into the weekend sporting the red plate in the Arenacross Lites class signifying the current points leader. A crash in practice beat him up and aggravated an old injury, but he was determined to push through the weekend. On Friday, Villopoto had to rebound from a back row start, but was able to climb to fourth in the Areancross Lites main event and finish just off the podium. On Saturday, he bounced back and put his KX™250F on the podium finishing third. He sits second overall in the West Region points standings and has a weekend off from Arenacross Lites, as the series heads back to the East Region.
“It was a tough two nights to get through,” said Villopoto. “I crashed pretty hard in practice and banged myself up on Friday. I was able to salvage some good points on both nights and was excited to get on the podium for the team on Saturday. I’m going to rest up this week and see where we are.”
In Saturday night’s second main event, Bowers got stuck behind some slower riders off the start and had to come back from outside the top-10. He picked off riders and got into second planning to make his move on the last lap. Unfortunately, the officials showed after the race that they ran 13 laps instead of the intended 12, meaning he was awarded second based on his track position on that lap. Bowers was not happy with the decision, but still received the overall win.
The AMA Arenacross series heads to the final East Region round at Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes Barre, Penn. This will be the final round before the Race to the Championship begins.