It may be Round 10 for the 2015 AMSOIL Arenacross season but the series is just starting on Saturday in New Orleans where the Top 10 riders in points through Round 9 start anew with just five points separating 10th from first place.
Kyle Regal leads the field thanks to a sweep in Southaven that helped him hold on to his first-place lead of one point entering Round 9. But he's going to need more podiums and overalls now that his 140 point lead over 10th place Cory Green is down to five. Just behind Regal in second is Goerke with five points and in third and fourth-place each with four points is Jacob Hayes and Bobby Kiniry.
The "Race to the Championship" twist in the Arenacross series started two years ago resets the points for the Top 10 riders after Round 9. The rider in first place gets six points, second place gets five points, third and fourth place start with four points, fifth and sixth get three points, seventh and eighth get two points and ninth and 10th start with one point.
Both Goerke and Hayes had the lead earlier this year but consistent riding by Regal helped push him into the lead. Nearly all riders dealt with some misfortune at one point or another. Chris Blose has dealt with crashes, Hayes has run into difficulty and Kiniry has as many finishes outside the Top 10 as he does podiums.
Gared Steinke - All Photos: AMSOIL Arenacross
MotoSport rider Gared Steinke also had his fair share of issues especially to start the year. If it wasn't a crash, he'd get caught up in the tangle of riders who did crash. Getting away from the pack is key in Arenacross because of the tight lanes. Whether it's grabbing the holeshot and getting out front or holding back, surveying the field and making your move in the middle of the race, it's all rider preference.
As the season went on things seem to settle down a bit as those in the Top 10 started churning out consistent racing. Goerke saved his best for last as he hung out in 10th place in points for much of the season but at the end of Round 9 he moved into eighth place giving him two points to start the "Race", tied with Gavin Faith, another rider who enjoyed five Main event wins, second to Hayes with the most, only to struggle with crashes.
"I feel really good coming into this week," Steinke said. "I rode twice this week and tested completely different shocks and lots of ignition changes."
Steinke said earlier this year the energy at the gate is way more intense for Round 10 - the start of the Race for the Championship - then it is at Round 1. Sure everyone wants to open the season with a win, but now in a quasi-playoff, riders will do anything to get that first win to start the new season. Additionally, the remaining rounds consist of only one night of racing unlike some of the previous rounds that offered four Motos over two nights of racing.
Round 10 is also the last round for the East Lites class which Dave Ginolfi won the Championship last week in Southaven. Scott Zont is in second with 75 points and Steve Roman and Jacob Williamson are tied for third with 65 points so the final spots on the Championship podium are at stake.
MotoSport rider Daniel Blair gets one more round of "practice" as he'll race in the East Lites class this weekend but competes in the West Lites class. Blair leads the West Lites series by 19 over Cody Vanbuskirk. After this weekend he'll have four straight rounds to defend his lead for the crown.
Arenacross Round 10 and the start of the "Race to the Championship" begins at 7 p.m. (EST) Saturday at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans. Buy tickets online or at the box office, 1501 Girod St, New Orleans, LA.
Arenacross Class Race to the Championship Points
- Kyle Regal (6)
- Matt Goerke (5)
- Jacob Hayes (4)
- Bobby Kiniry (4)
- Chris Blose (3)
- Travis Sewell (3)
- Gavin Faith (2)
- Gared Steinke (2) - MotoSport rider
- Steven Mages (1)
- Cory Green (1)
Eastern Regional Arenacross Lites Class Points
- Dave Ginolfi (132) - East Lites Champion
- Scott Zont (75)
- Steve Roman (65)
- Jacob Williamson (65)
- Daniel Herrlein (56)
- Steve Mages (47)
- Dylan Rouse (45)
- Dave Blanchet (41)
- Darian Sanayei (35)
- Mitchell Harrison (33)