Crossing the Arena

The AMA Arenacross dirt bike racing series came to the Bank of Kentucky Center March 20-22. For’ three nights, riders wowed the crowd with pulse-pounding speed and heart-stopping leaps of faith.

On March 20, eight races were showcased.

When the board went sideways and the gates dropped, the arenacross riders hurled themselves around the short, fast-paced track. Each rider looked for that ever important hole-shot. Those who gained it left the others in their dirt trail. The events began with the introductions of a few leading riders. The current points leader Jeff Gibson was among those spotlighted.

After the introductions and pre-race interviews, the races were underway.

Exhaust fumes filled the air and the whine of dirt bike engines echoed through the BOKC. Over the whoops and through the turns, each rider shot over the finishline.

Kevin Johnson came out on top in the first race.

There were six more races and the winners in order were, Chad Johnson, Nathan Skaggs, Gibson, the ‘last chance’ winner was Jim Neese. The 250 lite-bike race winner was Cory Green and the 450 Main Event winner was Gibson. The races were exciting and kept the crowd cheering, but what really amazed everyone were the intermission events.

For the first break, a group of young riders raced around the track. The winner was rewarded with a kiss from’ Lindsey Scheltema or otherwise known as, Ms. Arenacross.

The mechanics challenge encompassed four of the riders’ mechanics racing to see who could change the back tire of their bikes the fastest. The mechanic for Nathan Skaggs came out on top.

From a mechanics race to a foot race, four riders exchanged their bikes for tennis shoes as they ran around the track. Some resorted to throwing track markers while others just pushed each other to the ground.

The next intermission involved three freestyle motocross riders defying gravity and cheating death with every trick. They threw backflips and heel clickers, all while riding dirt bikes. They amazed the crowd and had the other riders on their feet as they watched from the pits.

The last race of the night featured every rider in the 450-class, 16 in all.

The race started with a bang as 16 riders fought for the hole-shot. Capturing the hole-shot and staying in front entire 20 laps was Gibson.

The only thing the riders saw was Gibson’s back as he shot through the gap and took the lead.

Gibson crossed the line well in front of the pack but was followed by his TUF Racing teammate, Josh Demuth. Rounding out the podium was Chad Johnson. For the second time of the night, Gibson came out on top.

As Gibson and the TUF Racing team celebrated, the fans filed out to get autographs from the riders. No matter if they were on the podium or wrecked trying to get there, each rider had a smile on his face as pictures, shirts, hats, programs and other merchandise were signed.