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2023 Loveland, Colorado, Arenacross Race Recap

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Text and photos by Jacob Souder

A nearly full house of race fans showed up to watch the best AMA Arenacross Championship riders in the country race at the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland, Colorado. The night held several great battles in various classes throughout the night and several races came down to last lap, last corner duels. The whoops were especially tough, which really had a lot of riders struggling. 

There was great, competitive racing all night long, but the “Fast 4” (Kyle Peters, Kyle Bitterman, Izaih Clark, and Chandler Baker) did take their respective heats with comfortable leads and very few lead changes. 

The “1v1” race was one of the more interesting races of the night. It’s a true sprint, with only three laps and two competitors chosen by the fans in the stands. The base $500 purse was built to $1k by the fans, so there was a fair amount of coin on the table. Can we say a dash for cash! Carlos “Flying Taco” Short from North Carolina ended up taking the win plus a cool grand in this action packed three lap “Mano a Mano” sprint. The Flying Taco had to battle Blake Smith for the money, and they fought very hard, though they both had areas they were stronger than the other. Smith got holeshot and led until the first trip through the whoops, where Short used his superior whoop speed to take over the lead. Things heated up on the second lap when Smith passed Short in turn two and ran him wide, which meant Short had to shut off or crash. Short backed off, but immediately regrouped with a blistering charge through the whoops and returned the favor in the last corner, running Smith wide. Smith didn’t back off and went down, leaving Short to take an easy final lap, the win, and the dinero. 

The main event was the first time we got to see the “fast 4” all on the track at the same time. Iziah Clark took the holeshot and led the first lap and a half, but North Carolina’s Kyle Peters showed why he wears the #1 plate, put in a clean pass on lap two and slowly but surely opened a gap, eventually winning the race over six seconds. Behind him, the battle was just getting started! After being passed by Peters, Clark seemed to lose a little momentum and fell prey to Bitterman. Bitterman was riding perfect, but Clark regrouped while he was following and eventually made it back by a few laps later. Once in front of Bitterman, Clark actually closed on Peters for a lap or two, but Peters picked up the pace in the final laps. All three were separated by several seconds at the finish. Honorable mention goes to Chandler Baker, who was a very close fourth for the early stages of the race but went down. He remounted and pushed hard for several laps, closing on Clark and Bitterman, but backed off a little at the end when he saw the gap was just too large.





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