2011 AMA Arenacross
The 2011 AMA Arenacross Series season is one month into competition and through four rounds, the action has been memorable and intense.
Currently, TUF Honda’s Jeff Gibson, who kicked off the year with three consecutive wins, sits atop the standings, but after an exciting weekend in Denver, the Babbitt’s Monster Energy/TiLUBE Kawasaki presented by Maxxis duo of Chad Johnson and Tyler Bowers are closing in by virtue of their victories one week ago.
This weekend, the high-octane action heads to the Huntington Center in Toledo, Ohio.
One of the individuals in the middle of all the action is Miss Arenacross Lindsey Scheltema. The third-year spokesmodel for the AMA Arenacross Series serves as the face of the sport and announces the races every weekend while also serving double duty with the series’ TV coverage.
As a professional rider in her own right and arguably the most well-connected person in the AMA Arenacross Series pits, we checked in with Lindsey to get her thoughts on what has taken place so far this season, what fans should keep an eye out for as the series moves forward, and what exactly the role of Miss Arenacross entails.
Lindsey, we’re one month into the 2011 AMA Arenacross Series season. What are your thoughts on what’s happened so far?
"This has been a very exciting season so far. We’ve seen a lot of battles happening, not just in the Arenacross class but Arenacross Lites as well. The Dash for Cash has been a positive turnout and those intense short races have been getting more risky as well."
Did you expect Jeff Gibson to have such a great start to the year? As one of the announcers during the race and a pro rider yourself, what do you think Gibson has done so well this season?
"Gibson is one of (the series’) smartest riders. He knows how to be consistent and look at the big picture. His performance has been a picture-perfect flashback to the 2009 season when he dominated tremendously. In Denver last weekend, he had some rough starts, but still managed to end up on top and stay atop of the points."
Are you surprised it’s taken four rounds for the Babbitt’s team to get a win? What are your early thoughts on how this championship might play out?
"I’m actually not surprised about Team Babbitt’s performance so far this season. They have been on top so far with consistent podium finishes. Everyone has tough competition to race against, which is going to make for a very interesting and intense race season."
What rider(s) has surprised you this season?
"A couple of riders have really stood out to me as far as improving and stepping their game up. Dano Aulseybrook is one of them. This is Dano’s first full season in the Arenacross class and although he had a couple of bike malfunctions and rough times, he has proven, especially after Saturday in Denver, that he has what it takes to stay on top and compete with the top guys."
"Another rider I have been impressed with is Gibson. He struggled with a lot of health issues since his 2009 championship so to see him be able to overcome everything and still look stronger and more consistent than last season is incredible."
What is a storyline that AMA Arenacross Series fans should keep an eye on as the season moves forward?
"Well as far as a storyline, since we are so early in the season there are still a lot of points up for grabs and the championship still lays in anyone’s hands. There’s always that chance for an underdog to come up and start putting things together. As the season progresses, riders get stronger and more used to the tight, quick racing. I’m just excited to be along for the ride."
Vicki Golden made her debut last weekend, helping the female demographic in the sport take a huge step forward. As a racer yourself and a fellow competitor of hers, what does her foray into the AMA Arenacross Series mean from your point of view?
"Vicki stepping up was the best thing for women in racing. Women have been working through the ranks in the motocross industry (for years) and to see females start to make their way into the winter (indoors) season is so promising to the future of women’s racing. To see her put on a huge charge in her first attempt on the Arenacross scene was great not only for me to see, but the fans were equally as ecstatic by her performance."
What exactly are Miss Arenacross’ duties on a given weekend?
"My duties as Miss Arenacross include not only attending pre-race promotional events, but also setting the majority of them up. So far this season we have put on health and safety demonstrations in schools, hospitals, and local YMCA’s. Also, I’m the spokesperson for the series, dealing with on-site media as well as in-studio visits. When race day comes, I am the co-announcer during the races. This year, I am also the on-site broadcaster for Speed TV as well as the pit reporter."
This is your third year as Miss Arenacross. What have you learned over that time?
"I can’t believe this is my third year! It’s crazy to me how fast time flies. As Miss Arenacross, the one thing I think I have learned and progressed the most from is my public speaking abilities. The experience and time since taking on this role has become a major strong point for me."
Round five of the 2011 AMA Arenacross Series kicks off in just a few days from the Huntington Center in Toledo, Ohio, on Friday, Feb. 4 and Saturday, Feb. 5 starting at 7 p.m. EST.
New for 2011! Live timing and scoring from each round of the AMA Arenacross Series. To follow the intense racing action live, log onto Arenacross.com.