AMA Arenacross Notebook

Louisville’s Broadbent Arena Presents Two Nights of Bar-to-Bar Action

With a quarter of the season completed, the 2009 AMA Arenacross Series has given the thousands of fans some of the most memorable on-track action in series history. As Mahindra Tractors/Tuf Honda’s Jeff Gibson and Spinechillers/Storm Lake Honda’s Nathan Skaggs battle it out atop the standings, reigning series champion Chad Johnson, perennial front-runner Brock Sellards, and fast newcomer Michael Willard follow with intensity.

As this weekend’s round in Louisville approaches, the inner walls of Broadbent Arena are bustling with activity, but not with the sound of dirt bikes. The AMA Arenacross Series track crew, the unsung heroes of the series, is hard at work, moving in dirt and sculpting the technical layout that challenges riders each and every week. Led by head operator B.J. Dalsing, the three man crew rounded out by Pete Henderson and Shawn Schaefer have well over 20 years of combined experience building arenacross tracks.

At each of the 11 rounds, 150 truckloads dump over 1500 yards of dirt on various arena floors. In many cases, the crew is only allotted one day to move in the dirt, build the track, and put the finishing touches on the layout to make it race ready.

“Our crew is the best in the business at what they do,” explained Series Director Jayme Dalsing. “They will work around the clock to get to the finished product if needs be. If one thing were to go wrong with the move in or track maintenance we may not have a race.”

A common misconception throughout the sport is that the series uses the same dirt for each race. In actuality, stockpiles of dirt are housed near the arena at every city the AMA Arenacross Series visits.

“It would be impossible to take 150 trucks with us all over the country,” added Dalsing.

While in storage, the dirt is well maintained in an effort to preserve its consistency from year to year. Tireless effort is put in by the track crew to keep track of this process, hoping to keep the dirt from becoming too dry or too wet. When the series travels to cities where it snows and rains frequently, this can become a real challenge.

Once the track has been built and is ready to ride, the AMA Arenacross Series operations staff headed by Mike Bailie, along with Andy Willard, Zach Culp, Brandon Whipple, and Travis Whipple, put on the finishing touches. Their efforts give the entire layout the aesthetic appeal and great look as the race begins. A semi truck dedicated to the housing of tuff blox, banners, starting gate, and the all important finish line travels with the series throughout the season.

This weekend, the crew prepares Broadbent Arena for two nights of racing. A part of the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center, Broadbent is no stranger to racing with a 1/8th mile oval used for kart racing. The arena was a past home Louisville Icehawks and Louisville Riverfrogs hockey teams, but its 6,600 seating capacity is used primarily for equestrian events and fair activities.

The first gates drop on the Louisville Arenacross on Friday at 7:30 p.m. and continuing on Saturday at the same time. Amateur Day concludes an exciting weekend of action on Sunday, beginning at 10 a.m.