Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha, in association with Rock River and Cycle Trader, rebounded with both riders in the second round of the 2017 AMSOIL Arenacross series this past weekend in Grand Rapids, MI, in front of a packed crowd.
Chris Blose bounced back from an underperformance at the first round of racing in Cincinnati and put his Yamaha on the box in both main events with a pair of second place finishes. Matt Goerke had another decent performance and showed race winning potential throughout the night, but his starts were a detriment to his overall finish and he had to settle for third overall on the day.
“The day went pretty good from practice to the races. You know, the track here is really soft and rutted, so I knew kind of surviving through practice was key. I’m not going to risk it when the track is that sketchy. I’ll wait ‘till the races to risk it all. But, tonight went pretty good. I got off to good starts; we’ve been practicing starts all week. It’s an all new bike, for me at least, so we’ve been having to work out bugs to get me more comfortable and get the bike better. Tonight went good, went two-two, and hopefully we can rebound and get the win next weekend in Baltimore,” said Chris Blose.
“Today practice went great, I was up front – top three both practices. My starts were off today. I felt good on the track, it was very sketchy. I couldn’t push tonight, I just tried to be consistent and smooth which I was, it’s just tough when they’re getting the holeshots and I’m fourth or fifth and have to roll the finish line on the first lap. I feel good, we’re gonna work on it this week and get the starts down and I feel like I’ll be right there,” said Goerke.
Goerke looked comfortable from the first practice session onward after getting his bike dialed in throughout the week down in Florida; He qualified in third position overall out of both practice sessions just behind Gavin Faith and Jace Owen. Blose turned the sixth fastest time throughout the combined qualifying sessions and put himself in position for a decent gate pick in the first AX class heat race of the night show. The Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha, in association with Rock River and Cycle Trader, teammates were seeded into the same heat as they ended up directly next to one another on the gate. Blose was able to get the jump on Goerke, but they both managed to put the Yamaha power to the ground and come around the first corner within the top five. The Arizona native on the #2 machine held strong in second position for the duration of the ten laps, keeping the pressure on Faith in first. Goerke made the move into third past Team Babbit’s / Monster Energy / AMSOIL Kawasaki’s Travis Sewell and secured the position for the remainder of the race. They both earned themselves a spot in in the RM/ATV MC Head 2 Head Challenge with smooth, consistent rides on a track that was quickly deteriorating throughout the evening.
The RM/ATV MC Head 2 Head Challenge didn’t go as planned for either of the Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha, in association with Rock River and Cycle Trader, riders as they didn’t make it out of the first round. Blose was matched up against the TiLube / Jack Link’s / TUF Racing Honda of Ben Lamay in the first round of the knockout system. The two of them battled in close contention throughout the first lap, but they got a little too close in the corner before the catapult and it sent Blose to the ground. Goerke was squared up against the red plate holder and Lamay’s teammate, Jace Owen, and he lost out on the start and was never able to make up the ground. Both riders weren’t able to transfer into the latter rounds of the RM/ATV MC Head 2 Head Challenge, but they saved their energy for the races that matter – the main events.
The bellowing screams of the crowd intertwined with the explosive combustion of engines as the first main event got underway in Van Andel Arena in front of an energetic crowd. Both of the Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha, in association with Rock River and Cycle Trader, riders grabbed a start within the top five, but it was Blose who came away with the better end of the bargain. He was in second place throughout the first lap, but he wasn’t able to hold off the charging Honda of Jace Owen and he had to forfeit the position to the Illinois native. Meanwhile, Goerke was making his way forward progressively throughout the race after crossing the finish line in fifth the first time around. Blose was able to keep Owen honest for the remainder of the fifteen laps, but it wasn’t until Jacob Hayes made a mistake at the front of the field that things really tightened up. The dropping of the Team Babbit’s / Monster Energy / AMSOIL Kawasaki out of the lead promoted Blose to second and Goerke to third and that’s where they would finish the race. In the second main event, Blose got off to another start on his Yamaha rocket ship, putting himself within contention for the podium almost immediately. Goerke wasn’t able to get the jump that he needed to battle for the win and he was forced to roll across the finish line in sixth position on the opening lap. Blose put a move on Gavin Faith in the early stages of the moto and promoted himself to second position while Goerke simultaneously worked his way through traffic. The Floridian managed to make moves from sixth to fourth by the halfway point of the race, working his way around Cameron McAdoo whilst also taking advantage of Faith dropping down the field. Both of the Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha, in association with Rock River and Cycle Trader, riders put in smooth lap times on a track that was incredibly chewed up by the latter stages of the second main event. Blose was only a hair away from challenging Owen for the victory and Goerke gave up too much time early on to get back on the podium, but it was still a successful night for the team as both riders finished second and third, respectively, on the overall podium.
AMSOIL Arenacross will take the series to Baltimore, Maryland this weekend for the third round and the first two night event of 2017. The Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha, in association with Rock River and Cycle Trader, team will be hoping to keep both riders on the podium and take their first victory of the season when the gate drops in the Old Line State.