Wilkes-Barre AMA Arenacross Preview

AMA Arenacross

After a month-long break from competition, the 2012 AMA Arenacross Series season returns to action this weekend from the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza, of Wilkes-Barre, Pa., for the fourth round of the championship.

With two wins to his credit through the first five races, FMF Power/Poynt TUF Honda’s Jeff Gibson leads the Arenacross Class field into two nights of bar-to-bar competition, on Friday, Dec. 9, and Saturday, Dec. 10.

Gibson’s effort at the series’ previous stop in Madison, Wis., in November resulted in a victory on the opening night of competition, followed by a top-five effort to close out the weekend.

Babbitt’s Monster Energy/AMSOIL Kawasaki presented by Maxxis’ Tyler Bowers rebounded with a commanding win Saturday night; however, he was issued a loss of 22 points, a $1,250 fine and placed on probation by the AMA for excessive contact during the race.

Harv Whipple (AMA Race Manager) says: "The current points standings reflect a penalty that was issued by the AMA following the Main Event in the Arenacross class on Friday November 11th in Madison. The appeal has been processed through the AMA office and is now considered complete."

As a result, the 2009 champion holds a six-point lead over 2010 series champion, and Babbitt’s Monster Energy/AMSOIL Kawasaki presented by Maxxis rider, Josh Demuth. The veteran duo have been exceptionally consistent throughout the early portion of the season, and carry the advantage as the AMA Arenacross Series gets back into action.

While Gibson and Demuth currently have control of the series standings, reigning AMA Arenacross Champion Bowers boasts the distinction of capturing the most wins of the season to this point, grabbing three checkered flags for Babbitt’s Monster Energy/AMSOIL Kawasaki. He sits just one additional point behind his teammate, Demuth, in the series standings, occupying third. As the most recent winner in the series, he’ll be looking to build the momentum with another strong weekend in Wilkes Barre.

The competition to this point in the premier Arenacross Class has been exceptional. A handful of riders have found themselves at the front of the field throughout the first five main events, and lap times from top to bottom in the class are less than a second apart. Such close-knit speed is sure to results in unpredictable outcomes out on the track.

In addition to the Arenacross Class, the Eastern Regional Arenacross Lites Class Championship has also been the site of parity-driven competition. Four different riders have stood atop the podium after two rounds, and four main events. Through it all, Motocross Ministries Kawasaki’s Michael McDade has emerged as the points leader, holding just a one-point advantage over Dragon Racing Fuels/AG Motorsports KTM’s Michael Willard heading into Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.

The 2012 AMA Arenacross Series is making its return to Wilkes Barre for the first time since the 2009 season. Back-to-back nights of action from Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza kick off on Friday, December 9, before coming to a dramatic conclusion on Saturday, December 10. Opening ceremonies for both nights begin at 7 p.m. EDT.

AMA Arenacross Class Points (After Race 5 of 19)

  1. Jeff Gibson, Blacklick, Ohio, Honda – 104
  2. Josh Demuth, North Richland Hills, Texas, Kawasaki – 98
  3. Tyler Bowers, Danville, Ky., Kawasaki – 97
  4. Chad Johnson, Rhinelander, Wis., Kawasaki – 84
  5. Kelly Smith, Ludington, Mich., KTM – 77
  6. Nathan Skaggs, Chillicothe, Ohio, Honda – 72
  7. Tyler Bright, Hamer, S.C., KTM – 56
  8. Zach Ames, Prospect, Ohio, Kawasaki – 55
  9. Willy Browning, Pleasantville, Ohio, KTM – 50
  10. Kurt McCabe, Marion, Iowa, Honda – 46

Eastern Regional Arenacross Lites Class Points (After Race 4 of 10)

  1. Michael McDade, Indiana, Pa., Kawasaki – 70
  2. Michael Willard, Newark, Ohio, KTM – 69
  3. Dave Ginolfi, Lake Hopatlong, N.J., KTM – 64
  4. Travis Sewell, Westfield, Ind., KTM – 59
  5. Steven Mages, Sardinia, Ohio, Kawasaki – 54
  6. T.J. Phillips, New Castle, Pa., Kawasaki – 44
  7. Sean Lipanovich, Tallahassee, Fla., Suzuki – 34
  8. Kevin Johnson, Spring, Texas, KTM – 34
  9. Maxx Malatia, Itasca, Ill., Honda – 34
  10. Cody Robbins, Huntersville, N.C., Kawasaki – 33

2012 Dash for Cash Winners:

  • Des Moines – Zach Ames
  • Baltimore Night One – Tyler Bowers
  • Baltimore Night Two – Tyler Bowers
  • Madison Night One – Willy Browning
  • Madison Night Two – Jeff Gibson

Live timing and scoring from each round of the AMA Arenacross Series returns for the 2012 season! To follow the intense racing action live, log onto Arenacross.com.