Lance Kobusch Ends Kyle Peters Winning Streak in Kicker AMA Arenacross
Written by admin on January 14, 2022
Tulsa, Oklahoma—The 2022 Kicker AMA Arenacross Series kicked off the first two rounds in Loveland, Colorado, on Friday and Saturday, at the Budweiser Events Center. The series saw the return of the Phoenix Racing Honda team, and defending champion, Kyle Peters, along with Cullin Park, Mike Alessi and Kyle Bitterman… to name a few. The opening rounds also debuted a handful of newcomers to the series, bringing a lot of talent with them.
Round One was held on Friday, January 7th, at the Budweiser Events Center. The first heat of the qualifying races for the 250 Pro class kicked off the event. Lance Kobusch made his professional debut at the Kicker AMA Arenacross Series and took first place in the first heat, followed by newcomer Ben LaMay in second, and Heath Harrison, the former mechanic for Phoenix Racing Honda, in third. Harrison finished ahead of teammate Cullin Park who finished fourth in the heat.
Heat two was won by defending champion, Kyle Peters, followed by Michael Hicks in second and Kyle Bitterman in third. The final heat was a battle between Mike Alessi, Chase Marquier, and newcomer, Izaih Clark. Alessi came out on top followed by Marquier in second in and Clark in third.
The 450 Pro qualifying racers were up next which saw Peters win the first heat, followed by Lamay (2nd) and Marquier (3rd). Heat two was won by Kobusch, with Hicks (2nd) and Matthew Curler (3rd) not too far behind. Alessi took another heat win in the final heat of the 450 Pro qualifier, with Park coming in second and Bitterman right behind him in third.
The first main race of the season, the 250 Pro class, was stacked with talent. Peters continued his winning streak into 2022, but not as easily as he’d been doing in 2021. The talent behind him was impressive and looked to be at any turn that someone else could challenge the lead. Ultimately Peters finished in first place, followed by Hicks in second and Kobusch in third.
When it came time for the Round One 450 Pro Main event, it was clear that the other competitors were ready to give Peters all they had to win the event. Kobusch took the early lead for the first few laps before Peters was able to pass him on a turn and take the lead for the next several laps, and it started to look like he was going to run away with it. But on the final turn before the final lap, Kobusch passed Peters and battled the last lap before going on to win the main. This marked Kobusch’s first main win in a pro class and ended Peters’ winning streak.
Round Two was held on Saturday, January 8th, at the Budweiser Events Center. The round kicked off with the qualifying races for the 250 Pro class. The first heat of the qualifier was won by Hicks, followed by Marquier (2nd) and Lamay (3rd). Peters won the second heat, followed by Alessi (2nd) and teammate, Harrison, in third. The final heat of the 250 Pro qualifying race was won by Clark, with Kobusch coming in second and Bitterman in third.
The second qualifying event was the 450 Pro class. Hicks won the first heat, continuing to show some excellent riding on night two of the weekend. He won ahead of Lamay (2nd) and Harrison (3rd). Kobusch won the second heat, followed by Alessi in second and Nate Mason in third. Peters won the final heat for the class in front of Clark (2nd) and Bitterman (3rd).
The round two main races were up next, and Bitterman pulled out to an early lead for the first three laps, before Peters pulled ahead and cruised to the top of the podium from there in the 250 Pro main class. Bitterman ultimately fell to fifth place for the event, after Hicks and Kobusch worked their way up from the middle of the pack to finish in second and third, respectively, behind Peters.
The 450 Pro main race was the last for round two, and the weekend. Bitterman pulled out to an early lead again before Peters took over on the third lap. Hicks started the race in fifth place and worked his way up to second by lap four, and from there it was a tight battle between Hicks and Peters for first place. On the final turn before the finish line, Hicks tried to cut inside Peters to take the win, hitting Peters bike during the effort, causing them both to briefly stop. Peters was able to narrowly escape with the win, a tenth of a second ahead of Hicks, as they crossed the finish line.
While Peters was able to win three of the four main events of the weekend, the opening round showed a lot of talent amongst the professionals, both returning racers and newcomers. With eight more rounds to go and a lot of talent following the series, it’ll be anyone’s race on any given night and certainly make for a lot of excitement.
2022 Series Standings
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Main image by Jack Jaxson