For the last six months, the drama has been building, and in just a day, the 2012 AMA Arenacross Series will finally be upon us. Des Moines’ Wells Fargo Arena has been a staple of the series for many years, and for the first time since the 2008 season, it will be the host site of the season-opening race of the championship. A long, talented list of riders have logged countless hours of training, both on the track and in the gym, in preparation for this moment, and on Saturday night, it will be put to the test with the first of 12 races for the championship.
Following three seasons in which the New Year signified the beginning of the AMA Arenacross Series, the schedule has been revamped, returning to a fall start. Four stops will start off the 2011 season, while the final eight rounds of competition will run through January and February, concluding in late February.
Coincidentally enough, the last time the AMA Arenacross Series began in October, Des Moines was the home of the opening round. In 2009 and 2010, Wells Fargo Arena hosted an exclusive prequel race, offering a sneak preview into the upcoming season. The special showcase was well-received and produced exciting competition that carried into the regular season.
“Des Moines has been one of the longest running cities in the AMA Arenacross Series,” said series director Mike Muye. “Wells Fargo Arena is second to none, and the city of Des Moines has always been very welcoming of our sport. It’s always nice to come back.”
Last season, Des Moines made its anticipated return to the championship schedule, becoming the site of the final round of the year. Although the championship had been decided by the time the AMA Arenacross Series came to town, a memorable night of competition saw current champion Tyler Bowers cap off a remarkable year, with his 12th victory of the season.
“Des Moines is just a special place,” said Miss Arenacross Lindsey Scheltema. “From the fans to the on-track action, it brings out the best in everyone. I can’t wait to kick off what is sure to be an incredible season here on Saturday night. We have what might be the most competitive field in history ready to take to the track.”
Moreover, the state of Iowa has produced a lot of popular names in the AMA Arenacross Series, including former Arenacross Lites Champion Kurt McCabe and Monster Energy AMA Supercross rider Justin Brayton.
This season, Bowers headlines an extremely talented field of riders set to engage in battle for the 2012 AMA Arenacross Series crown. The series will feature the past four premier class champions, in Bowers, Josh Demuth, Jeff Gibson and Chad Johnson, instantly establishing an elite group of favorites. Beyond that, longtime veterans like Kelly Smith, Nathan Skaggs and Zach Ames are motivated to build upon the success they’ve achieved in years past, while newer names like Cole Siebler and Daniel Blair will look to take advantage of their past supercross experience, and mix it up at the front of the field.
Tension is sure to be high on Saturday, and the level of excitement will be hard to contain. While the championship can’t be won at the opening round, it can surely be lost, and there is no doubt that all the title contenders are aware. In any case, a strong performance inside Wells Fargo Arena can leave a lasting impression on one’s rivals, and set the tone for the remainder of the 2012 AMA Arenacross Series season.
Wells Fargo Arena is located in the heart of Des Moines, Iowa, is part of the Iowa Events Center. Built in 2005, it can hold up to 16,980 fans, with various seating charts depending on the event. In the past, the arena has served as the home to the Iowa Energy of the NBA Development League, Iowa Chops of the American Hockey League, and Iowa Barnstormers of the Arena Football League.
The opening round of the 2012 AMA Arenacross Series kicks off on Saturday, October 29, beginning at 7 p.m. CT.