U.S. Bank Arena played host to the first race of the 2017 AMSOIL Arenacross Championship in Cincinnati, Ohio where Team Babbitt’s/Monster Energy/AMSOIL Kawasaki presented by AP Designs was set to defend its championship. As the first Main Event was underway, reigning champion Gavin Faith quickly raced his KX™250F into third on Lap 1. Teammate Jacob Hayes was glued to Faith’s rear wheel in fourth and continued to pressure for the podium. Faith quickly passed his way into second but was faced with a gap to the leader that he was not able to overcome, crossing the line second, followed by Hayes in third. During qualifying, the newest team member, Travis Sewell, was involved in an incident where he and another rider collided, forcing him out of the race. With last gate pick for the Last Chance Qualifier, Sewell rode hard but missed out on a qualifying position by inches.
At the gate drop of the second Main Event, Faith rounded Turn 1 in fourth and by the second lap had raced into third. Hayes started at the front of the pack but was taken out by another rider in the second turn and remounted at the back of the field. Hayes spent the rest of the moto pushing towards the front and was able to race his way into seventh by the checkered flag. In the closing laps of the race Faith was on the rear wheel of the second place rider and on Lap 11 was able to make the pass. Faith ended the night second overall (2-2) with Hayes earning fifth overall (3-7).
“I started off the night exactly where I wanted to be, qualifying first,” said Faith. “My shoulder is still healing from my surgery so I haven’t had much time on the bike heading into the season. Despite that I felt really good on bike, I just need my fitness to come back to where it needs to be. This is only the first round so I can play it a bit conservative and focus on the championship.”
“It feels great to be back racing,” said Hayes. “I know I’m capable of more but I haven’t been behind a starting gate since June so this is a good base to start the championship with. I’m looking forward to getting back into the swing of things and I can’t wait for Round 2!”