Rider Interview: Chris Blose and Gavin Faith

| 21 April 2016 4:15 pm

AMSOIL Arenacross Series

Courtesy of Feld Motor Sports
Photos by ShiftOne Photography
ELLENTON, FL, APR. 21, 2016

AMSOIL Arenacross has reached its home-stretch run, as just three nights of racing remain in the 2016 Race to the Championship. Following his first win of the playoffs last weekend in Tacoma, Washington, Team Babbitt’s/ Monster Energy/ AMSOIL Kawasaki’s Gavin Faith has moved into a tie for the points lead with his teammate Chris Blose entering this weekend’s penultimate round of the Race to the Championship in Nampa, Idaho. This weekend will be highlighted by back-to-back nights of racing, which adds even more intensity to the action set to unfold.

As co-leaders in the Race to the Championship, Chris Blose (6) and Gavin Faith (3) will both carry red number plates this weekend.

As co-leaders in the Race to the Championship, Chris Blose (6) and Gavin Faith (3) will both carry red number plates this weekend.

Both Faith and Blose have been the most consistent riders in the Race to the Championship since it began. Faith entered as the top seed, while Blose surged from the fourth seed to take over the points lead with a sweep of the two-night opening round in Ontario, California. Since then, both riders have been perennial podium finishers, and both have experienced their own bit of misfortune that has ultimately led up to this point and each’s share of the points lead. Faith saw a surefire win slip away when he crashed while leading in Salinas, California; Blose went down last weekend in Tacoma and recorded his worst result of the playoffs. Now the two most consistent riders in the Race to the Championship sit on an even playing field with three races remaining, and, fittingly, they will try to outlast each other all the way to the finale in Las Vegas.

AMSOIL Arenacross caught up with the Team Babbitt’s teammates to talk about their journey up to this point, their thoughts about sharing the points lead, and their approach to the two nights of racing coming up this weekend.

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Chris, you entered the Race to the Championship as the fourth seed, but by the end of the opening round you were on top of the standings. Did anything change for you in your approach once the Race to the Championship began, or has it just been a matter of consistency?

Blose: Starting in Ontario, the points got reset, and I knew that it was time to really push and get good finishes. I mean, every weekend I want to win, but if I have a bad night, at the end of the day it doesn’t matter [before the Race to the Championship] as long as you’re still top 10 in points. Coming into Ontario, I knew I needed to make up ground, and I’ve just really been working on my starts, making sure those are really good. I feel really good on the bike, even at previous rounds, even though I didn’t get wins, but I’ve just been going really good on the bike. All that came together with the starts, and the results speak for themselves.

Gavin, you were the top seed heading into the Race to the Championship and you’ve been running up front every week. If not for a little misfortune in Salinas, you might be the outright points leader now, but nevertheless you got your first win in the playoffs last weekend and now enter Nampa in a tie with Chris atop the standings. Talk about the last three rounds.

Faith: The Race to the Championship has been pretty good for me, besides a little tip-over in Salinas that cost me five points or so. Chris has been right there, and we’ve both been riding really well, and we’ll be sharing the red number plate [as the points leaders] in Nampa this weekend. I’m just happy to be close to the top and going for the championship. I’d like to be leading instead of just tied, but I’ll take what I can get, and hopefully we have a good weekend in Idaho so that we have the red plate to ourselves.

Do you feel like the intensity on the track has picked up since the Race to the Championship began? Has your success really been just a matter of putting yourself up front off the start? Does it really just boil down to consistency?

Blose: Starts are obviously very important in arenacross, being that our races are only 15 laps long and about five or six minutes [in length], tops. So if you’re not starting out front, everyone is so close in lap times that it’s hard to catch up if you get a bad start. I’ve just really focused on that aspect of the racing and have made sure when I am up front my intensity is high so that I’m able to push for all 15 laps. Since the [Race to the Championship] got started, I don’t feel like the intensity has increased; it’s just more critical now to get good finishes.

Faith: It’s kind of the same. The intensity is ramped up a little bit. It seems like Chris is riding a lot better since the points reset. Now more than ever it’s important to be consistent. I feel like I’ve been consistent this year, and as long as I can keep it the same these next two rounds, I think I’ll have a shot at taking home the number-one plate this year. It’s basically [about] getting off to good starts and riding smart.

Chris, going into this past weekend in Tacoma, you had about as ideal a start as you could ask for in the Race to the Championship, but you encountered your first little hiccup in the second main event and still managed to come away with a share of the points lead. Do you feel like you used up your mulligan and need to be as close to perfect as possible for the final two rounds?

Blose: I definitely have to be bulletproof these last two rounds. Gavin and I are both tied in points, so every point is going to really matter. As you said, I had that hiccup in Tacoma. When I got up, I was in dead last and the leaders were almost lapping me, so I knew I had to ride as hard as I could and get as far up [the running order] as I could. At the end the day, your championships are won on your bad days, and coming from last to seventh – with the way I was riding, as my lap times were phenomenal – it gives me a boost of confidence going into Nampa and Las Vegas. I’ve just got to get good starts from here on out, be bulletproof, and get the wins when we can, so that we can finish ahead of Gavin in Las Vegas.

Chris Blose has led the Race to the Championship since the conclusion of its opening night in Ontario.

Chris Blose has led the Race to the Championship since the conclusion of its opening night in Ontario.

Gavin has been running up front pretty much all season long and was the top seed in the Race to the Championship. As your teammate, has he pushed you to be better than him, and do you feed off each other’s speed? Does it give you that much more motivation to succeed, knowing he’s on the same bike?

Blose: It definitely keeps you on your toes. And it’s not just Gavin. You’ve got Jacob Hayes, Ben Lamay and Jace Owen. There’s so many fast guys in the class that you’ve got to be on top of your game no matter who it is. So it’s not just [only about] Gavin. I want to go there every week and win the overall [so that] I can come home with this championship. I’m putting in the extra work at home and I’m making sure I’m not cutting corners, so that hopefully at the end of the day we get that championship.

Gavin, does racing against your teammate for the title change your approach? Does it bring more out of yourself, knowing you two are on the same bike? Do you feed off each other?

Faith: It’s pretty cool that Chris and I are on the same team and are tied for the lead. We’re both on the same equipment, so there’s not that factor [of thinking] that someone might be on [a better bike] than you. Chris has really elevated since the Race to the Championship started, and I feel like it’s elevated my game. It forces me to be on my toes and be right there each weekend by getting good starts. By elevating himself, he’s [in turn] elevated me.

Gavin Faith is back in a familiar spot after entering the Race to the Championship as the top seed.

Gavin Faith is back in a familiar spot after entering the Race to the Championship as the top seed.

Chris, does it change your approach or mentality at all knowing there will be another rider out there with a red number plate? It hasn’t seemed to influence you one way or another up to this point, but is there a difference knowing Gavin is right there alongside you in the points with only two rounds left?

Blose: Yeah, we are tied in the points and we both have a red plate, but it doesn’t change my outlook on the race. I take it race by race and want to go win those races. Every point matters, whether it’s the head-to-head races or passing Jacob [Hayes], Gavin, or whoever else is ahead of me to get that extra point – it’s going to matter in the end. I was three points ahead of Gavin going into Tacoma and now we’re tied, but my mindset hasn’t changed. That’s to go out there and win races and do the best I can. Jacob Hayes is only 13 points back [as well]. That’s a small gap and anything can happen in arenacross, so you’ve got to be careful and be on your toes at all times – be ready for whoever comes to battle with you.

There’s two nights of racing in Nampa this weekend. How do you approach that? Is it different than a race with just one night? Do you find there’s more opportunity to make things happen?

Blose: I’m good with two [races]. I’m physically fit and I like them. If anything, it’s a benefit for me, and I really enjoy them.

Faith: You’ve got to approach a two-night [race] just like you would a one-night [race]. Every position is a point, so you can’t afford to [take] it easy or let up a little bit when it comes to racing. You need to be there every [head-to-head] face-off [and] every main event. It’s going to be a big weekend. It’s going to set the tone for Las Vegas and what’s going to happen. I’d like to be leading coming out of Nampa, but either way it’s going to come down to Vegas, whether I’m leading, I’m behind, or whatever the case is. We’re both riding really well, and it’s going to be about who can minimize mistakes.

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The fourth and penultimate round of the Race to the Championship will kick off at Ford Idaho Center tomorrow, Friday, April 22, and will continue on Saturday, April 23, with both nights starting at 6 p.m. PT/ 7 p.m. MT/ 9 p.m. ET.

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Category: Arenacross, Interviews, National, POV, Riders, Riders All, Riders' POV

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