Toyota AMA National Arenacross Series Notes package, Baltimore

One thing’s for sure with this year’s AMA National Arenacross Series is that title sponsor, Toyota, has made a BIG impression on the athletes and fans of the nation’s premier arenacross series, Toyota AMA national Arenacross Series. According to track announcer Tim Cotter, Toyota hasn’t been content with just getting their name out there on some banners and Tuff Blocks. “Toyota sends some of their staff to each race and sets up a tent with drinks, snacks and energy drinks ¿ an unlimited supply for the riders and their friends and family in the pit area,” said Cotter. “It’s been really exciting having Toyota there showing an intimate interest in the racers, race officials and fans.”

And if that’s not enough, Toyota’s also kicking in with brand new trucks for BOTH the winners of the Toyota AMA National Arenacross Series Arenacross class title AND the Toyota AMA Regional Arenacross Series Arenacross class title.

Keep an eye on a friendly-natured welterweight bout this weekend between North Carolina’s Jim Neese and Indiana’s Shawn Clark. The two battled hard, and we mean HARD at Dallas last week. Neese parked Clark on one occasion, Clark returned the favor later. Both left the track high-fiving and setting the stage for a Baltimore Lites showdown that should be awesome. Cotter added that the veteran Neese “may have logged more arenacross laps than anybody in America!”

Tons of press for Baltimore’s 1st Mariner Arena this weekend. As the final touches are getting put on the track for today’s 3 p.m. media conference, several pro racers and area amateurs will be on hand to conduct a riding display for local television. Then tomorrow morning folks in the Baltimore area can tune into WBFF (FOX) and WJZ (CBS) as both stations will be doing “Live” morning programs from the 1st Mariner Arena track beginning at 6:30 a.m. and featuring both Brock Sellards and Jeff Northrop. In addition, Chad Johnson will be on Baltimore’s ESPN Radio at noon on Friday.

With weather in the 60s in Baltimore, racers are taking advantage of some local tracks to tune up for this weekend’s event. One racer in particular, Adrian Wilson (Chestertown, Md.), will be racing his first arenacross on Sunday. Wilson was the subject of a cool feature story in today’s Baltimore Sun. Wilson, 25, races a lot out at Budds Creek. Check his story out at: www.baltsun.com. (Note: Type “Adrian Wilson” into the search box.)

Speaking of good battles, with Neese and Clark as the under card, the heavyweight bout in Baltimore between series point leader Chad Johnson (Yamaha) and Dallas 1-1 finisher Brock Sellards (Thor/Honda/TUFF RACING) is going to be epic. And not just in Baltimore, from here on out as Johnson holds onto a 17-point lead over the hard-charging Sellards.

Over the break Sellards flew to California and borrowed buddy Danny Smith’s bike and van, went to Pro Circuit and built the bike up to race speed in Pro Circuit’s parking lot! “I got there in the morning, unloaded the bike and, since there was nobody in the spot right next to me I started working on it right there. Put on new bars, grips, levers, hot start, graphics, re-did the whole carb, changed the gearing ¿ pretty much stayed there until dinner time getting it all done!” Sellards said that he rode every day he was out in California, came home and spent three days with his wife and family for Christmas, then went down to Georgia to ride with Ezra Lusk and Davi Millsaps.

Cotter added that other guys looking solid after the break as well were Sellards’ Thor/Honda/TUF Racing teammate Jeff Northrop and ROCKSTAR Suzuki’s Greg Schnell ¿ both of whom are chasing points leaader Johnson as well. “There’s renewed hope for a number of racers,” said Cotter. “Brock, without question, worked hard during our holiday break ¿ as did Jeff Northrop. Jeff’s been silent pretty much all year long, but he looked real fast at Dallas. And Greg Schnell’s consistently been right around the box, so keep an eye on him to break through in Baltimore this weekend.”

Zach Ames is another racer to watch in Baltimore. Ames pulled the AMA Arenacross class holeshot on Saturday in Dallas and has been riding real well lately.

Good to see Jeff Willoh back and racing the Toyota AMA Regional Arenacross Series. Willoh’s looking to get in on that championship Toyota truck chase. He missed the first round (Reno, Nev.) but dominated Salt Lake City, going 1-1 in the AMA Arenacross class. The Toyota AMA Regional Arenacross Series action picks back up this weekend at the Toledo (Ohio) Sports Arena. Tickets for that are available at the Toledo Sports Arena box office and at www.ticketmaster.com.

And just a reminder that next week is on of the BIGGEST Toyota AMA National Arenacross Series races of the year ¿ literally. The floor of the Guthrie (Okla.) Easy E Arena makes for a massive riding surface, akin to a hybrid arenacross/supercross track. “We’ve been racing AMA Arenacross in Guthrie forever it seems,” said Thor/Honda/TUFF Racing boss Dave Antolak. “It’s a neat one to go to because of the size. It’s the biggest of all the tracks, almost as big as a supercross. All of the riders say that it’s their favorite track we go to.” For ticket information, please visit www.arenacross.com or contact the Lazy E Arena box office at (405) 282-RIDE.

And finally, longtime AMA Arenacross racer Chris Riesenberg’s MX trailer ¿ filled with all his bikes, tools and gear ¿ was ripped off recently. Oklahoma City Police Department’s Officer Pierce, himself a motocross rider, has stepped in to personally help Chris (#448) get his stuff back. Anybody with information on this crime is urged to contact Officer Pierce at (405) 235-7300.