With one night remaining on the 2009 AMA Arenacross Series schedule, Friday night at the Bank of Kentucky Center turned into an evening of champions as both the AMA Arenacross and AMA Arenacross Lites Midwest Regional Championships were handed out in Highland Heights, Ky. Mahindra Tractors/Tuf Hondaâ€™s Jeff Gibson, of Westerville, Ohio, raced to his series-leading sixth victory of the season en route to finalizing his run at the premier class title. In the AMA Arenacross Lites class, Orient Express Suzukiâ€™s Dave Ginolfi, of Lake Hopatlong, N.J., rode safely to take his first career Arenacross title.
Gibson has been the picture of consistency throughout the entire 2009 season. The Ohio rider could always be found inside the top 10, with a season-worst finish of 11th place. He kicked-off the season with seven consecutive podium finishes, including two victories in that stretch. Gibson would continue his impressive run by garnering four additional wins. Once he moved into the points lead, Gibson never relinquished his hold on the top of the standings. The championship also marks the third straight title for the Tuf Honda team with its third different rider during the three-year span.
On Friday night, the veteran competitor blasted into yet another great start, grabbing an early advantage over his competitors and refusing to look back throughout the 25-lap main event.
â€œThis is just awesome,â€ exclaimed Gibson. â€œItâ€™s been a long season and Iâ€™ve been fortunate to have things work out for me. My bikes have been amazing all season and I could not have accomplished this without the help of my Tuf Honda team. Iâ€™m proud to be an Arenacross champions and itâ€™s a pleasure to be part of such a fantastic series.â€
In another stellar effort, Gibsonâ€™s teammate Josh Demuth, of North Richland Hills, Texas, helped give the Mahindra Tractors/Tuf Honda team a sweep of the first two podium spots on Friday with an impressive runner-up finish. Reigning series champion Chad Johnson, of Rhinelander, Wis., finished third aboard his Babbittâ€™s Monster Energy Kawasaki.
In the AMA Arenacross Lites main event, Reynard Modifications Suzukiâ€™s Cory Green, of Nowata, Okla., outlasted Western Regional Champion Tyler Medaglia, of Ottawa, Canada, and his GPF/Babbittâ€™s Kawasaki. The Suzuki rider was able to get a good start out of the gate and piece together 20 solid laps en route to his third overall win of the 2009 season. GPF/Babbittâ€™s Kawasakiâ€™s Kyle Brown, of Lake Odessa, Mich., brought home third.
Ginolfi, who held a virtually insurmountable 37-point entering the evening, rode smart throughout the main event. The New Jersey native was impressive throughout the regional championship and avoided trouble to assure himself of a solid top ten finish and the coveted championship.
With the title decided, the race is on in the standings for second place. Currently, Triple Effect Kawasakiâ€™s Brock Sellards, of Sherodsville, Ohio, holds onto the runner-up spot by five points over Johnson.
Night two of the Highland Heights Arenacross continues tomorrow at 7 p.m. from the Bank of Kentucky Center.
AMA Arenacross Class Results (Highland Heights, Ky.)
1. Jeff Gibson, Westerville, Ohio, Honda
2. Josh Demuth, North Richland Hills, Texas, Honda
3. Chad Johnson, Rhinelander, Wis., Kawasaki
4. Michael Willard, Thornville, Ohio, Kawasaki
5. Nathan Skaggs, Chillicothe, Ohio, Honda
6. Brock Sellards, Sherodsville, Ohio, Kawasaki
7. Keith Johnson, Albuquerque, N.M, Yamaha
8. Codi Adams, Batavia, Ohio, Kawasaki
9. Jim Neese, Julian, N.C., Suzuki
10. Cory Green, Nowata, Okla., Suzuki
AMA Arenacross Class Lites Results (Highland Heights, Ky.)
1. Cory Green, Nowata, Okla., Suzuki
2. Tyler Medaglia, Ottawa, Canada, Kawasaki
3. Kyle Brown, Lake Odessa, Mich., Kawasaki
4. Jim Neese, Julian, N.C, Suzuki
5. Kevin Johnson, Albuquerque, N.M., Yamaha
6. Devon Pilkington, Virginia Beach, Va., Yamaha
7. Ronnie Stewart, Easton, Pa., Suzuki
8. Dacoda Sarochuk, Randolph, Utah, Kawasaki
9. Dave Ginolfi, Lake Hopatlong, N.J., Suzuki
10. Matt Cottrill, Chillicothe, Ohio, Yamaha
AMA Arenacross Class Points (After Race 16 of 17)
1. Jeff Gibson, Westerville, Ohio, Honda â€“ 328
2. Brock Sellards, Sherodsville, Ohio, Kawasaki â€“ 270
3. Chad Johnson, Rhinelander, Wis., Kawasaki â€“ 265
4. Nathan Skaggs, Chillicothe, Ohio, Honda â€“ 254
5. Josh Demuth, North Richland Hills, Texas, Honda â€“ 251
6. Gray Davenport, Lehi, Utah, Kawasaki â€“ 229
7. Michael Willard, Thornville, Ohio, Kawasaki â€“ 215
8. Codi Adams, Batavia, Ohio, Kawasaki â€“ 185
9. Keith Johnson, Albuquerque, N.M, Yamaha â€“ 172
10. Willy Browning, Rushville, Ohio, Suzuki â€“ 138