This weekend in Portland, Oregon marks the onset of the 2017 Race to the Ricky Carmichael Cup! What a season it has been up to this point. Jace Owen stormed out of the gate winning the first five main events in a row, before Gavin Faith finally broke the streak. From there, things have gotten very interesting as Yamaha teammates Chris Blose and Matt Goerke have also been able to knock down main event victories. Other main event winners include Owen's teammate, Ben Lamay, Travis Sewell and Daniel Herrlein. As we reset the points for the final five rounds, seven racers in the top ten have won main events!
This will be the third running of the Race to the Ricky Carmichael Cup and in it's short history we have seen some unbelievable occurrences. Two years ago eventual champion Kyle Regal and Jacob Hayes locked horns and the 2015 championship was literally decided by a clash of steel and a large blast of smoke! Rewind to May of 2016 as Team Babbitt's teammates Gavin faith and Chris Blose brought the title down to the final lap of the final main event of the year.
The excitement of the Las Vegas finals is always special. However, every single main event during these last five weeks is going to be an action packed thriller as the stage is set for the 2017 championship. The question has to be asked; "Who has the momentum?" The quick answer would be Jace Owen as he has led the points from the opening gate drop. That said, Jace had a difficult weekend in New Orleans as new faces graced the podium and first time winner Daniel Herrlein took top honors. A sneaky suspect in the middle is Travis Sewell who won the second main event in NOLA and is getting "hot" at just the right time. If you remember the pre season interview he did with arenacross.com Travis admitted he was coming off of an injury and it might take him a while to fully get up to speed. It isn't certain that Mr. Sewell has a master plan, but he sure did look smart as he won the last main event of the regular season before the reset!
As we look ahead to Portland, it is like starting the season over again for the top 10. The nerves and the tension from January will be back in full force as everyone tries to once again gain the early advantage. Following Portland is a very important weekend in Reno for the double header! On one hand, somebody could have a very big weekend if they get hot and dominate, or we could see four different winners and really blow things up. From there it is on to Sacramento in the Golden 1 Center where a slew of local California racers could show up and provide an extra obstacle for the championship contenders. The penultimate round in Denver will set the stage for the finale in Las Vegas. Denver is more than just a simple set up race, it's also Military Appreciation night! This will also be the prime opportunity for points to be gained or lost with two main events, and one last Rocky Mountain ATV MC Head to Head Challenge event left to run.
Finally, Las Vegas. While it may seem impossible to top the nail biting championships of 2015 and 2016; this season has all the ingredients to be the most exciting championship final yet. In the two previous years there were really only two racers with a shot at the title coming into the last main event. When you look at the mid season wins of Blose, Goerke, Owen, Sewell, Herrlein, LaMay and Faith it is definitely up in the air!
Sit tight and hold on! Five races to go to decide who will earn the 2017 Ricky Carmichael Cup!