The 12th and final round of the 2012 AMA Arenacross Series was a night of champions on Saturday as both Arenacross Class and Western Regional Arenacross Lites Class title winners were crowned inside the Target Center. After claiming 12 main event wins this season, Babbitt’s Monster Energy/AMSOIL Kawasaki presented by Maxxis’ Tyler Bowers, of Danville, Ky., secured back-to-back premier class titles after a strong runner-up effort. For the second straight season, HOK Kawasaki’s Chad Cook, of Oklahoma City, Okla., took home the Western Regional Arenacross Lites Class crown following a podium finish of his own.
Babbitt’s Monster Energy/AMSOIL Kawasaki's Tyler Bowers (Photo: Kawasaki Racing)
Babbitt’s Monster Energy/AMSOIL Kawasaki’s Chad Johnson, of Rhinelander, Wis., grabbed the holeshot in the 25-lap Arenacross Class Main Event, with Bella’s Cupcakes/Club MX Kawasaki’s Zach Ames, of Prospect, Ohio, and Bowers in tow. Not long after, Ames slipped past Johnson for the lead, which would prove to be the winning pass.
Johnson looked to keep Ames in his sights, but Bowers took over the runner-up spot in the whoops shortly thereafter. Once in second, Bowers pursued Ames relentlessly, maintaining a gap of less than a second throughout the entire main event. In the end, the eventual champion wasn’t able to make the pass, but still secured the title with his second-place finish.
Ames’ victory was his first of 2012 and also made him the fifth different winner in the Arenacross Class this season. Johnson followed Ames and Bowers across the finish to give Kawasaki a 1-2-3 sweep of the podium.
FMF Power/Poynt TUF Honda’s Jeff Gibson, of Blacklick, Ohio, entered the evening with a chance at stealing the Arenacross Class title from Bowers, but ultimately settled for a fifth-place finish.
For the third straight main event, BNTQ.Net/Tuf Honda Racing’s Kevin Markwardt, of Freeport, Ill., grabbed the early lead in the 18-lap Arenacoss Lites Class. He was followed by Reed and Reese KTM’s Michael McDade, of Edinburg, Pa., and Team Faith KTM’s Kevin Johnson, of Spring, Texas.
Coming into the evening, Markwardt sat just one point out of the championship lead, but it wouldn’t be long before Cook began his charge through the field. By Lap 5, Cook had moved into third and proceeded to move his way into second on the following lap.
With Markwardt in his sights, Cook pushed to close in on his rival, while McDade followed in third. At the halfway point, Markward experienced misfortune and dropped out of podium contention, ultimately losing the championship in the process. From there, Cook, Johnson, and McDade engaged in a heated battle for the win.
By the conclusion of the 18 laps, both Johnson and McDade had overcome Cook, who ultimately fell to third. Johnson held on to take his fifth Arenacross Lites Class win of the 2012 season.
With Markwardt falling to eighth by the end of the race, Cook secured the title by eight points.
In the final Dash for Cash of the season, Bowers helped cap off his championship-winning season with a victory in the four-lap sprint race, but it wasn’t without some luck. On the final lap, Ames and Gibson came together while battling for the win, allowing Bowers to assume the lead after both riders went down.