It's not how any Champion wants to win a Championship but Kyle Regal takes it nonetheless.
Taking second-overall behind MotoSport rider Gared Steinke, Regal rode past a sputtering Jacob Hayes in Moto 2 and realized the championship was his - just finish.
Regal and Hayes entered Round 15, the final Championship deciding round, held Friday in Las Vegas tied in points. Hayes won the previous two rounds, Regal the two before that. Seemingly, whoever emerged with a third would get the title. But like it's been all season, consistency counts.
And like it's been all season, crashes helped pave the way for who crosses the finish line first. In Moto 1, Chris Blose who swept Round 10, the start of the "Race to the Championship" format that reset the points for those riders in the Top 10 after Round 9, grabbed the holeshot in front of Regal, Steinke and Hayes. Behind them a mess of riders went down.
Hayes got around Steinke pretty quickly and tried getting past Regal who held his line pretty close. On Lap 6, with Regal closing in, Blose crashed coming out of the whoops taking Regal to the ground. Hayes immediately went from third to first, as Bobby Kiniry moved into second, and Regal got back up to get into third. Blose called it a Moto.
On Lap 10, Regal made the pass on Kiniry for second and closed in on Hayes but couldn't make the pass before the checkers dropped. Hayes struck first and held the advantage for the Championship if it came down to a tie-breaker. Steinke finished fourth.
Moto 2 started out similarly to Moto 1 with another pileup but this time Steinke pulled out in front grabbing the holeshot and leading wire-to-wire for his second Main event win of the year. Behind him, Faith, Steve Mages, Regal and Hayes battled it out when Hayes' Championship hopes died on the first lap. Check out the collision:
Hayes banged into Regal in a turn sending Regal to the dirt and white smoke out of Hayes tailpipe. The collision resulted in a broken water pump and Hayes puttered around a few laps before his night and title hopes ended. Regal finished ninth but got second-place overall and won the 2015 Arenacross Championship.
"It was crazy on that first lap," Regal said. "I knew Jacob was close but I came into the corner before the finish and just got taken out. I've never been hit that hard in my life. I just tried to get up as fast as I could and went to work. After a few laps I passed Jacob as he was rolling the jump, so I knew something was wrong with his bike. I knew that was the championship right there, but I had to make sure I put in 15 laps to take the checkered flag and make it official, and here we are. Not necessarily the way I wanted to win it, but I'm just so happy and can't thank my team enough."
Gared Steinke celebrates Moto 2 win and his first career Arenacross overall victory - All Photos: AMSOIL Arenacross
Steinke's win gave him the overall, his first career Arenacross victory which helps erase last week's result in Fresno when a mechanical failure ended his night in Moto 1. Steinke finished the year in ninth, a point behind Kiniry.
Regal beat Hayes by four points for the Championship and Faith rounded out the Championship podium in third moving up from fifth-place. Cory Green who snuck into the qualifying Top 10 just a few rounds prior to the "Race to the Championship" cutoff, finished his year in fourth, a point behind Faith and a point in front of Matt Goerke who rounded out the Top 5 to end the year. Goerke finished 10th and 15th in Las Vegas dropping him from third heading into Round 15 to fifth in the standings.
On the same night, Arenacross also held the first ever Lites Class East/West Shootout with West Lites Champion and MotoSport rider Daniel Blair going up against East Lites Champ Dave Ginolfi. Blair started second behind Steve Mages and just as Blair looked to take the lead on Lap 1, a crash taking out half the field forced a restart. This time around it was newcomer Ryan Breece, who took third overall in the Arenacross class last week for his first race of the season, taking the holeshot with Blair in tow.
Breece pulled away for the win but Blair was unable to hold on for another podium to finish the year giving up second to Daniel Herrlein then third to Mages and fourth to Ginolfi.
2015 Las Vegas Arenacross Results
Arenacross Class Results - Overall
- Gared Steinke (4-1) - MotoSport rider
- Kyle Regal (2-9)
- Steven Mages (9-3)
- Cory Green (8-4)
- Gavin Faith (11-2)
- Daniel Herrlein (6-6)
- Travis Sewell (5-8)
- Bobby Kiniry (3-10)
- Willy Browning (7-7)
- Jacob Hayes (1-14)
Arenacross Lites Class East/West Shootout Results
- Ryan Breece
- Daniel Herrlein
- Steven Mages
- Dave Ginolfi
- Daniel Blair - MotoSport rider
- Axell Hodges
- Jake Locks
- RJ Wageman
- Jonah Locks
- Scott Zont
2015 Race to the Championship Standings - Final
- Kyle Regal (164) - 2015 Arenacross Champion
- Jacob Hayes (160)
- Gavin Faith (147)
- Cory Green (146)
- Matt Goerke (145)
- Chris Blose (140)
- Travis Sewell (131)
- Bobby Kiniry (119)
- Gared Steinke (118) - MotoSport rider
- Steven Mages (102)