Arenacross

Ben Lamay takes first win in Salinas

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Ben Lamay takes first win in Salinas
On a historic afternoon in which AMSOIL Arenacross made its first foray to an open-air venue at Salinas Sports Complex, Mother Nature provided some of the most challenging track conditions in the history of the sport for the second round of the Race to the Championship.

A weekend of rain in California's central coast ultimately condensed each Main Event to 12 laps, from 15, and in the end produced intense action on the track. When all was said and done, it was TiLUBE/TUF Racing Honda's Ben Lamay who emerged with his first overall win thanks to a tiebreaker over Team Babbitt's/Monster Energy/AMSOIL Kawasaki's Chris Blose, the championship leader. In the Western Regional Arenacross Lites Class Championship another new winner prevailed, with DrivenMX/MEPMX KTM's Jared Lesher capturing the win with his first career podium result.

Prior to the Main Events, the RMATV/MC Head 2 Head Challenge set the stage for what was sure to be an exciting battle for the overall win. For the third consecutive race it was Team Babbitt's/Monster Energy/AMSOIL Kawasaki's Gavin Faith and Blose who went bar-to-bar for the win, with Faith taking the victory and additional championship bonus point for the first time in the Race to the Championship.
Ben Lamay takes first win in Salinas
Chris Blose maintained control of the points lead with a runner-up finish. Photo: ShiftOne Photography
The opening Arenacross Class Main Event of the afternoon saw TiLUBE/TUF Racing Honda's Jace Owen grab the holeshot, only to stall his motorcycle in the first turn. That allowed Faith to take over the early lead ahead of Rockstar Energy Drink Husqvarna Factory Racing presented by FMC and OTSFF rider Gared Steinke and Blose. The early advantage was big for Faith as he quickly opened a lead, while Blose made the pass on Steinke to take over second on Lap 2.

As the 12-lap Main Event soldiered on, Faith continued to set sail out front while Blose settled into second. However, on Lap 8 Steinke came under fire from Lamay, who started fifth and battled his way into third over the course of two laps. When the checkered flag flew Faith concluded an impressive outing more than eight seconds ahead of Blose, lapping the field all the way up to seventh. Lamay was third, with Steinke fourth and Team Babbitt's/Monster Energy/AMSOIL Kawasaki's Jacob Hayes finishing fifth despite dropping as far down as 10th in the running order.

When the second Main Event got underway Owen once again got a stellar start, narrowly holding on to the lead ahead of Faith, Lamay and Blose. Faith wasted little time in putting himself back in control and took the top spot on Lap 2, bringing Lamay along with him into second and dropping Owen to third. Over the next couple laps Blose went to work on Owen for the final podium spot, successfully making the pass by Lap 4.
Ben Lamay takes first win in Salinas
Gavin Faith saw a win slip away following a crash while leading in the second Main Event. Photo: ShiftOne Photography
Faith was building another dominant ride out front and appeared to be on his way to a near-flawless afternoon until a big mistake on Lap 8 in the increasingly difficult rhythm section put him on the ground. That gave the opening Lamay needed to assume control of the lead, with Blose moving into second and Hayes into third just ahead of Owen. Faith remounted in fifth and instantly put on a charge in hopes of redeeming himself.

Lamay carried on to his second Main Event win of the Race to the Championship, just over three seconds ahead of Blose. Hayes, Owen and Faith were side-by-side on the final lap in a thrilling battle for third, with Hayes coming away with the position ahead of Owen in fourth and Faith in fifth.

When the points were tallied Lamay (3-1) and Blose (2-2) ended tied for the overall win, but Lamay's triumphant effort in the second Main Event gave him the edge in the tiebreaker to secure his first overall victory in AMSOIL Arenacross. Faith's Head 2 Head Challenge win minimized the damage from his crash in the second Main Event, finishing just one point back in third (1-5). Hayes finished fourth (5-3), with Owen fifth (7-4).

On an afternoon when the Race to the Championship standings had the potential for a major shakeup with the weather conditions, Blose stood tough and maintained control of the points. He added one point to his advantage over Faith and now has a three-point lead after two of five rounds in the Race to the Championship. Hayes moved from fourth to third, 15 points back, with Owen fourth (-16) and Lamay fifth (-22).
Ben Lamay takes first win in Salinas
Jared Lesher earned his first career win and podium result in the Arenacross Lites Class. Photo: ShiftOne Photography
As the field roared out of the gate to start the 12-lap Western Regional Arenacross Lites Class Main Event it was Team DirtBike Mike/KTM Sports Center of Little Rock KTM's Brandon Marley who grabbed the early lead ahead of Lesher and TZR/Woodstock KTM's Cody VanBuskirk. Both Marley and Lesher were able to open a gap over the field in the tricky conditions, while VanBuskirk came under pressure from MX Athletics/Racetech KTM's Carlen Gardner, with Gardner getting the upper hand to take over third on Lap 4.

Marley and Lesher were never separated by more than a few tenths of a second and battled side-by-side on Lap 5, with Marley fending off the challenge. On Lap 7 Lesher's persistence paid off and he moved into the lead. Marley then crashed and fell out of contention, allowing Gardner to take over second and VanBuskirk third. Lesher pulled away in the closing laps to take the first win and podium finish of his career, with Gardner in second. Bent Lever Tire Center/U of MX Suzuki's Devin Harriman completed the podium after making a pass on VanBuskirk on the final lap. Shawnee Motor Company/Justified Cultures KTM's Cheyenne Harmon rounded out the top five.

Despite missing out on the podium for the first time in five races, VanBuskirk still added to his points lead in the Western Regional Championship and now sits three points ahead of Team DirtBike Mike/KTM Sports Center of Little Rock KTM's Ben Nelko, who finished sixth. Harmon is third, 10 points behind VanBuskirk.

The Race to the Championship continued next weekend with AMSOIL Arenacross' return to the scenic Pacific Northwest. The Tacoma Dome in Tacoma, Washington, will host the third round of the playoff on Saturday, April 16.

Main Photo: Lamay took a historic win during a wet afternoon in Salinas.
Credit: ShiftOne Photography

Arenacross Class Results - Main Event 1
1. Gavin Faith, Fort Dodge, Iowa, Kawasaki
2. Chris Blose, Phoenix, Kawasaki
3. Ben Lamay, Forney, Texas, Honda
4. Gared Steinke, Woodland, Calif., Husqvarna
5. Jacob Hayes, Liberty, N.C., Kawasaki
6. Kyle Regal, Lake Elsinore, Calif., Husqvarna
7. Jace Owen, Matoon, Ill., Honda
8. Travis Sewell, Westville, Ind., KTM
9. Cody VanBuskirk, Harvard, Ill., KTM
10. Connor Pearson, El Dorado, Calif., Kawasaki

Arenacross Class Results - Main Event 2
1. Ben Lamay, Forney, Texas, Honda
2. Chris Blose, Phoenix, Kawasaki
3. Jace Owen, Matoon, Ill., Honda
4. Jacob Hayes, Liberty, N.C., Kawasaki
5. Gavin Faith, Fort Dodge, Iowa, Kawasaki
6. Kyle Regal, Lake Elsinore, Calif., Husqvarna
7. Travis Sewell, Westville, Ind., KTM
8. Kyle Bitterman, West Pelzer, S.C., Husqvarna
9. Gared Steinke, Woodland, Calif., Husqvarna
10. Cody VanBuskirk, Harvard, Ill., KTM

Arenacross Class Overall Results (Main Event Results)
1. Ben Lamay, Forney, Texas, Honda (3-1)
2. Chris Blose, Phoenix, Kawasaki (2-2)
3. Gavin Faith, Fort Dodge, Iowa, Kawasaki (1-5)
4. Jacob Hayes, Liberty, N.C., Kawasaki (5-3)
5. Jace Owen, Matoon, Ill., Honda (7-4)
6. Kyle Regal, Lake Elsinore, Calif., Husqvarna (6-6)
7. Gared Steinke, Woodland, Calif., Husqvarna (4-9)
8. Travis Sewell, Westville, Ind., KTM (8-7)
9. Kyle Bitterman, West Pelzer, S.C., Husqvarna (11-8)
10. Cody VanBuskirk, Harvard, Ill., KTM (9-10)

RMATV/MC Head 2 Head Challenge Results (Bonus Points)
1. Gavin Faith, Fort Dodge, Iowa, Kawasaki (2 points)
2. Chris Blose, Phoenix, Kawasaki (1 point)
3. Jacob Hayes, Liberty, N.C., Kawasaki (1 point)
4. Austin Politelli, Menifee, Calif., Kawasaki (1 point)
5. Ryan Breece, Athol, Idaho, Yamaha (1 point)
6. Gared Steinke, Woodland, Calif., Husqvarna (1 point)
7. Ben Lamay, Forney, Texas, Honda (1 point)
8. Jace Owen, Matoon, Ill., Honda (1 point)

Western Regional Arenacross Lites Class Results
1. Jared Lesher, Ball Ground, Ga., KTM
2. Carlen Gardner, Paso Robles, Calif., KTM
3. Devin Harriman, Brush Prairie, Wash., Suzuki
4. Cody VanBuskirk, Harvard, Ill., KTM
5. Cheyenne Harmon, Colleyville, Texas, KTM
6. Ben Nelko, Aliquippa, Pa., KTM
7. Ashton Hayes, Rockford, Mich., Suzuki
8. Robbie Wageman, Newhall, Calif., Yamaha
9. Dylan Rouse, Florence, Ky., KTM
10. Dillon Cloyed, Papillion, Neb., Honda

Race to the Championship Standings
1. Chris Blose, Phoenix, Kawasaki - 99 (3 Main Event Wins)
2. Gavin Faith, Fort Dodge, Iowa, Kawasaki - 96 (8 Main Event Wins)
3. Jacob Hayes, Liberty, N.C., Kawasaki - 84 (8 Main Event Wins)
4. Jace Owen, Matoon, Ill., Honda - 83 (1 Main Event Win)
5. Ben Lamay, Forney, Texas, Honda - 77 (3 Main Event Wins)
6. Travis Sewell, Westville, Ind., KTM - 69 (5 Main Event Wins)
7. Gared Steinke, Woodland, Calif., Husqvarna - 67
8. Kyle Regal, Lake Elsinore, Calif., Husqvarna - 58
9. Cody VanBuskirk, Harvard, Ill., KTM - 30
10. Daniel Herrlein, Bethesda, Ohio, Honda - 1

Western Regional Arenacross Lites Class Standings
1. Cody VanBuskirk, Harvard, Ill., KTM - 99 (1 Main Event Win)
2. Ben Nelko, Aliquippa, Pa., KTM - 96 (2 Main Event Wins)
3. Cheyenne Harmon, Colleyville, Texas, KTM - 89 (1 Main Event Win)
4. Jared Lesher, Ball Ground, Ga., KTM - 73 (1 Main Event Win)
5. Carlen Gardner, Paso Robles, Calif., KTM - 73
6. Scott Zont, Algonquin, Ill., KTM - 63
7. Dylan Rouse, Florence, Ky., KTM - 58
8. Dave Ginolfi, Midvale, Utah, Husqvarna - 56
9. Brandon Marley, McEwen, Tenn., KTM - 35
10. Dillon Cloyed, Papillion, Neb., Honda - 33

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