AMSOIL Arenacross entered its final night of competition for the 2017 season on Friday night inside Orleans Arena. Just eight points separated the top three riders in the Race to the Ricky Carmichael Cup, with reigning champion Gavin Faith leading rivals Chris Blose and Jace Owen. After the dust settled following pair of 250AX Class Main Events Faith not only stood atop the podium with the overall victory, but he also put the finishing touch on a second straight AMSOIL Arenacross title and hoisted the Ricky Carmichael Cup for the second consecutive year in Las Vegas.

 

In the AX Lites Class Regional Shootout a pair of champions were crowned in the Eastern and Western regions. In the Eastern Regional Championship Yamaha/Rock River bLU cRU rider Justin Cooper captured his first career title, while Team Babbitt's/GPF/Monster Energy Kawasaki/MMCR rider Ryan Breece emerged triumphant in the Western Regional Championship. Team Babbitt's/GPF/Monster Energy Kawasaki/MMCR's Jacob Williamson took the shootout win.

The key to Faith's triumphant night began with the RMATV/MC Head 2 Head Challenge, where the Team Babbitt's/Monster Energy/AMSOIL Kawasaki, presented by AP Design, rider outlasted Blose and his Rockstar Energy/OTSFF/Yamaha, in association with Cycle Trader and Rock River, machine. The additional championship bonus point added even more pressure on his contenders.

 

The first 250AX Class Main Event saw Owen surge to the early lead aboard his Team TiLUBE/Jack's Links/TUF Racing Honda, leading Blose, his teammate Ben Lamay, and Faith. Needing to gain points, Blose made an early move to take over the lead from Owen on Lap 1, while Faith moved past Lamay to take over third. On the ensuing lap Faith disposed of Owen and slotted into second, with less than a second sitting between he and Blose.

 

The Kawasaki rider stalked Blose for several laps and pulled the trigger on Lap 7, passing Blose in the whoops and immediately opening a lead of over a second before the completion of the lap. Once out front, Faith continued to add to his lead and took the checkered flag just over four seconds ahead of Blose, further padding his points lead. Owen was third, followed by Lamay and Team Babbitt's/GPF/Monster Energy Kawasaki/MMCR's Jacob Williamson.

 

The key to Faith's triumphant night began with the RMATV/MC Head 2 Head Challenge, where the Team Babbitt's/Monster Energy/AMSOIL Kawasaki, presented by AP Design, rider outlasted Blose and his Rockstar Energy/OTSFF/Yamaha, in association with Cycle Trader and Rock River, machine. The additional championship bonus point added even more pressure on his contenders.

 

The first 250AX Class Main Event saw Owen surge to the early lead aboard his Team TiLUBE/Jack's Links/TUF Racing Honda, leading Blose, his teammate Ben Lamay, and Faith. Needing to gain points, Blose made an early move to take over the lead from Owen on Lap 1, while Faith moved past Lamay to take over third. On the ensuing lap Faith disposed of Owen and slotted into second, with less than a second sitting between he and Blose.

 

The Kawasaki rider stalked Blose for several laps and pulled the trigger on Lap 7, passing Blose in the whoops and immediately opening a lead of over a second before the completion of the lap. Once out front, Faith continued to add to his lead and took the checkered flag just over four seconds ahead of Blose, further padding his points lead. Owen was third, followed by Lamay and Team Babbitt's/GPF/Monster Energy Kawasaki/MMCR's Jacob Williamson.

When the gate dropped on the second Main Event, Faith once again seized control and put his Kawasaki at the front of the field, closely followed by Blose and Owen. Faith didn't quite have the pace of the first Main Event and gave up the lead to Owen on Lap 1, bringing Blose along with him into second and dropping Faith into third.

 

In his chase of the lead Blose encountered misfortune, losing control of his Yamaha and flipping over the bars on Lap 2, which effectively ended his title hopes. That allowed Faith to move into second, while Lamay jumped into third.

 

Owen effectively maintained his lead out front, while Faith proceeded to protect his lead in the championship. Perhaps looking to potentially help his teammate in the championship battle Lamay closed in on Faith and got to within a few bike lengths of the Kawasaki, but the champ resisted the advance and remained in firm control of second.

 

Owen ended his 2017 season the same way he started it, with a Main Event win, and took the checkered flag 6.5 seconds ahead of Faith, who knew he simply needed to cross the finish. Lamay followed in third, with Williamson fourth and Team Babbitt's/Monster Energy/AMSOIL Kawasaki's Travis Sewell in fifth. Blose eventually reentered the race, two laps down, and soldiered home to finish 12th.

Faith's 1-2 results, combined with his win in the Head 2 Head Challenge, gave him his third overall win in the Race to the Ricky Carmichael Cup and clinched the championship along with it. Owen completed a breakout season in second (3-1), while his teammate Lamay helped put two TiLUBE Honda's on the podium in third (4-3). Williamson was fourth (5-4), with Sewell fifth (6-5).

 

When the final points for the season were tallied, Faith finished 10 points ahead of Owen, who moved from third to second. Blose completed the championship podium in third, 17 points behind Faith. In the two seasons since the introduction of the Ricky Carmichael Cup, Faith, a rider coached by The GOAT himself, is the only rider to have his name etched on the trophy. He's the first back-to-back titleholder since Tyler Bowers in 2013 and 2014. He also gave Team Babbitt's Kawasaki its seventh title in the past eight seasons.

When the 16-rider field of the AX Lites Class Regional Shootout lined up on the gate a champion had to be crowned in both the Eastern and Western region. When the gate dropped, Cooper was able to put his Yamaha out front ahead of Breece and Williamson. The action at the front of the field and the battle for the lead started immediately on Lap 1, when Breece seized control of the lead in the whoops. Williamson followed into second shortly after that.

 

Needing a win to keep his hopes of an Eastern Regional title alive, Williamson was on a mission and immediately applied pressure on Breece for the lead. After persistent pressure he took control on Lap 4 and immediately pulled away, establishing a multiple second lead in a matter of laps. Williamson continued to extend the lead aboard his Kawasaki and soon found himself more than five seconds out front.

 

While Williamson continued to make a statement out front, the battle for second intensified between Breece and Cooper, the respective championship leaders. Cooper was patient and bided his time to make a move, successfully passing Breece on Lap 12.

 

Out front, Williamson added to his advantage and cruised to the win 9.5 seconds ahead of Cooper, while Breece rounded out the podium in third.

Cooper carried a 15-point lead over Williamson in the Eastern Regional standings entering the finale, and ultimately gave up just one point to his main rival to secure the championship with his runner-up finish. In the intense Western Regional title fight, Breece entered the evening knotted in a tie atop the standings with Woodstock KTM's Hunter Sayles. Breece's podium finish, combined with a ninth-place finish by Sayles, helped him emerge with his first career championship.