AMSOIL Arenacross Series
Round 10: Moda Center
Story by Clay Light
Photos by Sean Light
PORTLAND, OR, MAR. 18, 2017
After nine grueling rounds of a series that kicked off last January in Cincinnati, it was time to hit the reset button on the AMSOIL Arenacross Series’ 250AX class. On this evening at the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon, it became a brand-new series for the top 10 riders in quest of the Ricky Carmichael Cup, to be awarded to the series’ champion at season’s end.
Coming into Portland, the top 10 riders’ points were reset, and those riders were no more than five points apart, and as little as a single-point spread, as was the case with Team Babbitt’s Kawasaki’s Gavin Faith. The defending champion sat quite a ways in back of current points leader, TiLube/ Jack Link’s/ TUF Racing Honda’s Jace Owen, heading out west following round nine – but prior to the gate drop in Portland, Faith now sat just one point back of Owen, who had garnered six overall victories and won 12 250AX main events coming into the Pacific Northwest round.
“With the big points lead that I had before tonight, the reset is good for everybody else but it kind of sucks for me,” said Owen, the Honda rider from Mattoon, Illinois.
Faith, who is Owen’s roommate and training partner, knows where Owen is coming from: A year ago, the same thing happened to him, but now he has new life in the series.
Owen topped the first of two 250AX qualifiers, which took the top seven riders directly to the main event. Alaska’s Ben Lamay, who is Owen’s teammate, trailed Owen at the finish, while Team Babbitt’s Kawasaki’s Gared Steinke – a crowd favorite, having been raised in the Northwest before moving to California – placed third after Cycle Trader/ Rock River Yamaha/ Rockstar Energy’s Matt Goerke fell in the whoops and dropped back.
The second qualifier went to Faith, who had a great battle with Goerke’s teammate Chris Blose, with Faith narrowly winning.
The top four riders from the heat races went to the Head-2-Head Challenge, which pits two riders against each other. Owen, Blose, Steinke and Faith were winners of the four preliminaries, while Owen beat Blose in the first semifinal and then Steinke and Faith battled in the second race, with Faith winning out to face Owen in the final.
Faith and Owen were never more than a wheel apart in that race, but in the end Faith won the challenge and garnered a single championship point for his efforts, which later in the evening would ultimately net him the overall win after tying Owen in main-event points after the two split main-event victories.
Idaho’s Ryan Breece held a six-point lead over KTM rider Hunter Sayles in the Western Regional 250AX Lites contest, but the Kawasaki rider didn’t have a night to remember in Portland. After placing second in his heat race, Breece got off the line well at the start of the 15-lap main event, as he trailed Californian Kinser Endicott but was running ahead of Driven MX Racing’s Jared Lesher and the rest of the field as they maneuvered the treacherous whoop section. Breece got past the Yamaha rider to grab the lead, but it didn’t last long for the former National number-91 rider, as Breece bailed off in the whoops, and then Lesher, who’d gotten past Endicott several laps into the final, took command, staying in the point position all the way to the finish, followed by Sayles, who now assumes the Western points lead, and Endicott, who completed the podium positions.
In the first of two 250AX main events, Owen darted to the head of the 16-rider field, followed by Faith, Blose, KTM rider Daniel Herrlein and Travis Sewell (both of whom recently earned series main-event wins at rounds prior to Portland) and Steinke.
Series heavyweights Owen, Faith and Blose ran in close quarters for much of the main event, with Blose keeping pressure on Owen, who had lost ground to Faith and yielded the lead to the Kawasaki rider nearing the white-flag lap. Faith, Owen, Blose, Woodstock KTM’s Herrlein, Sewell, Steinke, Cody Van Buskirk, Goerke, Lamay and Josh Osby rounded out the top 10, followed by AMA Supercross regular Chris Howell, who placed 11th, not far behind a struggling Goerke.
“It got crazy on the last few laps, and I took the lead with just a little more than a lap left,” Faith said. “I put my head down and made some aggressive moves.”
Faith and Owen were back at it in the final race of the evening, the second 250AX main, which went to Owen, although Faith did all he could to displace his friendly rival. Owen wasn’t to be denied, however, and won his 13th main event of the season – but lost out for the overall win by a single point, due to Faith’s earlier Head-2-Head Challenge victory.
Blose, Herrlein, Sewell, Steinke, Lamay, Van Buskirk, Lesher and Sayles rounded out the top 10.
AMSOIL Arenacross will continue the Race to the Ricky Carmichael Cup next Friday, March 24, and Saturday, March 25, in Reno, Nevada’s Livestock Events Center. Both nights will kick off at 7 p.m. PT/ 10 p.m. ET.
For more information on the 2017 AMSOIL Arenacross season, and to purchase tickets, log on to www.Arenacross.com.
Results: March 18, 2017 (Round 10)
250AX MAIN 1: 1. Gavin Faith (Kaw); 2. Jace Owen (Hon); 3. Chris Blose (Yam); 4. Daniel Herrlein (KTM); 5. Travis Sewell (Kaw); 6. Gared Steinke (Kaw); 7. Cody Van Buskirk (KTM); 8. Matt Goerke (Yam); 9. Ben Lamay (Hon); 10. Josh Osby (Kaw).
250AX MAIN 2: 1. Jace Owen (Hon); 2. Gavin Faith (Kaw); 3. Chris Blose (Yam); 4. Daniel Herrlein (KTM); 5. Travis Sewell (Kaw); 6. Gared Steinke (Kaw); 7. Ben Lamay (Hon); 8. Cody Van Buskirk (KTM); 9. Josh Osby (Kaw); 10. Jared Lesher (KTM).
250AX OVERALL: 1. Gavin Faith (1-2); 2. Jace Owen (2-1); 3. Chris Blose (3-3); 4. Daniel Herrlein (4-4); 5. Travis Sewell (5-5); 6. Gared Steinke (6-6); 7. Cody Van Buskirk (7-8); 8. Ben Lamay (9-7); 9. Matt Goerke (8-12); 10. Hunter Sayles (12-10).
RMATV/MC HEAD-2-HEAD CHALLENGE: 1. Gavin Faith (2 points); 2. Jace Owen (1 point); 3. Gared Steinke (1 point); 4. Chris Blose (1 point); 5. Ben Lamay (1 point); 6. Cody Van Buskirk (1 point); 7. Travis Sewell (1 point); 8. Daniel Herrlein (1 point).
WESTERN REGIONAL AX LITES: 1. Jared Lesher (KTM); 2. Hunter Sayles (KTM); 3. Kinser Endicott (Yam); 4. Hunter Hilton (Hsq); 5. Robbie Wageman (Yam); 6. Miles Daniele (KTM); 7. Jake Hogan (Yam); 8. Ryan Breece (Kaw); 9. Parker Fleming (Hsq); 10. Austin Walton (Yam).
Race to the Championship Points Standings: 1. Jace Owen (38/ 13 main-event wins); 2. Gavin Faith (38/ 6 main-event wins); 3. Chris Blose (33/ 1 main-event win); 4. Daniel Herrlein (29/ 1 main-event win); 5. Travis Sewell (27/ 1 main-event win); 6. Gared Steinke (26); 7. Ben Lamay (22/ 1 main-event win); 8. Cody Van Buskirk (21); 9. Matt Goerke (18/ 1 main-event win); 10. Josh Osby (8).
Western Regional AX Lites Class Championship Points Standings (After 4 races): 1. (TIE) Hunter Sayles (56)/ Jared Lesher (56); 3. Ryan Breece (54); 4. Hunter Hilton (32); 5. (TIE) Dylan Bolinger (22)/ Parker Fleming (22); 7. Jeramy Taylor (19); 8. Kinser Endicott (14); 9. Miles Daniele (13); 10. Robbie Wageman (12).
[For more from this event, please see “Defending Champion Faith Opens AMSOIL AX Race to the Ricky Carmichael Cup with Victory in Portland”… Editor]