BabbittÃ¢Â€Â™s Monster Energy TiLube KawasakiÃ¢Â€Â™s Tyler Bowers won his fourth consecutive event during the eighth round of the AMA Arenacross series in Sacramento, Calif. With six wins under his belt and past the halfway point in the series, Bowers has stretched out his points lead to 22 for the championship. Feeling confident after dominating last weekendÃ¢Â€Â™s race in Reno, Bowers carried the momentum into Sacramento, bringing himself closer to his goal of beating his performance last year where he won seven consecutive races. Teammate Chad Johnson also put together a great performance, battling his way out of the thick pack of racers to finish behind Bowers in second place. Gray Davenport got off to a rough start, but was able to push his way through the field to finish in fourth, only seconds behind a podium finish.
On a Roll
Looking to take control of the championship, Bowers came into Sacramento determined to extend his win streak. He got off to a great start, quickly getting out to the front of the pack. Once he was in the lead, he easily gapped the field, finishing nine seconds ahead of his teammate, Johnson.
Ã¢Â€ÂœI got a good start and just tried to ride smart,Ã¢Â€Â said Bowers. Ã¢Â€ÂœI started off getting sandwiched between (Jeff) Gibson who was in front of me and Chad (Johnson) pressuring me from behind. I knew I had to get out of there pretty quick so I got around Gibson and did a hard sprint to get away. Once I got out front I relaxed a little bit, but still kept sprinting until I knew I had a solid lead. IÃ¢Â€Â™m really happy with how my Kawasaki KXÃ¢Â„Â¢450F performed. I was able to fly through the whoops where other racers had to check their speed. ThatÃ¢Â€Â™s where I made my passes all night.Ã¢Â€Â
The Hitman Strikes Again
Known for his ability to muscle his way to the front of the pack, BowersÃ¢Â€Â™ nickname as the Ã¢Â€ÂœHitmanÃ¢Â€Â is hard earned. Last year, after winning seven consecutive races, and with the championship title almost guaranteed, Bowers crashed breaking both femurs, taking him out for the rest of the season. Despite the severe injuries, he has come back with a vengeance. HeÃ¢Â€Â™s working hard to get himself back into shape and is hungrier than ever to win the championship.
Ã¢Â€ÂœI do what I need to do to win,Ã¢Â€Â said Bowers. Ã¢Â€ÂœI try to race clean, but it doesnÃ¢Â€Â™t always come out that way. ItÃ¢Â€Â™s so tight and close in there. Sometimes the only way to pass someone is to rub a little. After getting injured last year, it made me a lot hungrier to win the championship. I have been working really hard to get back up to speed. I am stronger than ever now and even more determined to win the championship that I should have won last year.Ã¢Â€Â
Now third in the overall points, Johnson is closing the gap on the runner-up position. After the gate dropped in Arco Arena, he found himself in third place, amidst the thick of the pack. With two riders in front and a pack of hungry racers pushing from behind, he had to battle hard to get out of the traffic. Johnson escaped the pack mid-race to finish in second place behind teammate Bowers.
Ã¢Â€ÂœI came around the first turn in fifth place, and tried working through the pack,Ã¢Â€Â said Johnson. Ã¢Â€ÂœOnce you get out of the bar-banging stuff where everyone is trying to protect their lines, youÃ¢Â€Â™re really not going forward like you need to be. Only once you get freed up, can you make up any time. My KX450F was working great, I just need to get better starts.Ã¢Â€Â
Working Through the Pack
Davenport got off to a rough start, coming around the first corner mid-pack, but never stopped charging toward the front. He continued to maneuver through the thick traffic, gaining ground every lap. He eventually worked himself into fourth place, but ran out of time before having the opportunity to make the pass on third.
Ã¢Â€ÂœThe biggest thing is getting a good start,Ã¢Â€Â said Davenport. Ã¢Â€ÂœIf you donÃ¢Â€Â™t put yourself in a good spot to begin with youÃ¢Â€Â™re chasing your tail the whole race. The start didnÃ¢Â€Â™t go how I wanted. If I would have gotten a little better start I know I would have made the podium. I worked my way up from the back into fourth and could see third, but just ran out of time. It would have been sweet to get the BabbittÃ¢Â€Â™s sweep again this weekend.Ã¢Â€Â
Heading Back East
Next week the BabbittÃ¢Â€Â™s Monster Energy TiLube Kawasaki team heads east, back across the country for Round 9 of the AMA Arenacross series in Wichita, Kansas. Bowers is looking to extend his winning streak to five in a row, while Johnson and Davenport will also be working to bump up to second and third, respectively, in the season standings to give team BabbittÃ¢Â€Â™s Monster Energy TiLube Kawasaki a full sweep in the 2011 AMA Arenacross series.
AMA Arenacross Series
Arco Arena – Sacramento, Calif.
February 26, 2011
Arenacross Class Results (Saturday)
1. TYLER BOWERS, DANVILLE, KY., MONSTER ENERGY/TILUBE/BABBITTS KAWASAKI
2. CHAD JOHNSON, RHINELANDER, WIS., MONSTER ENERGY/TILUBE/BABBITTS KAWASAKI
3. Kelly Smith, Ludington, Mich., Yamaha
4. GRAY DAVENPORT, LEHI, UTAH, MONSTER ENERGY/TILUBE/BABBITTS KAWASAKI
5. Kevin Johnson, Spring, Texas, Yamaha
6. Jeff Gibson, Blacklick, Ohio, Honda
7. Nathan Skaggs, Chilicothe, Ohio, Honda
8. Cory Green, Nowata, Okla., Suzuki
9. Willy Browning, Pleasantville, Ohio, Honda
10. Greg Carter, Renton, Wash., Honda
Arenacross Points Standings
1. TYLER BOWERS, DANVILLE, KY., MONSTER ENERGY/TILUBE/BABBITTS KAWASAKI, 252
2. Jeff Gibson, Blacklick, Ohio, Honda, 230
3. CHAD JOHNSON, RHINELANDER, WIS., MONSTER ENERGY/TILUBE/BABBITTS KAWASAKI, 220
4. GRAY DAVENPORT, LEHI, UTAH, MONSTER ENERGY/TILUBE/BABBITTS KAWASAKI, 171
5. Zach Ames, Prospect, Ohio, 165
6. Cole Siebler, Emmett, Idado, Honda, 153
7. Nathan Skaggs, Chilicothe, Ohio, Honda , 146
8. Kelly Smith, Ludington, Mich., Yamaha, 144
9. Kevin Johnson, Spring, Texas, Yamaha, 127
10. Cory Green, Nowata, Okla., Suzuki , 118