Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha, in association with Rock River and Cycle Trader, had a weekend of ups and downs during the third stop of the 2017 AMSOIL Arenacross series in Baltimore, MD where Royal Farms Arena played host to the first multi-night weekend of the season thus far.
Chris Blose retained the speed that he showed in Grand Rapids as he qualified third and second, respectively, throughout the racing action on Friday and Saturday. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to put it together in the main events and had to settle for finishes outside the top five as well as the top ten throughout the weekend. Matt Goerke laid down a good pace in both qualifying sessions and placed on the edge of the top five both nights, and he was able to translate that speed into race pace as he finished both nights of racing within the top five overall.
Friday night brought a fair bit of consistency for the Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha, in association with Rock River and Cycle Trader, teammates. The pair were seeded into the first heat together, but it was Blose who was able to put himself out front from the early stages of the race. Josh Osby and Hunter Sayles were leading the race for the first couple of laps with Blose in tow, but the Arizona native was able to make his way into the lead by the fourth lap. He subsequently set the fastest lap of the race and sailed ahead to an uncontested victory. Meanwhile, Goerke had to work his way forward from a sixth place start which left him at a disadvantage from the drop of the gate. Throughout the opening laps, the Floridian found his way around Sayles. He clocked solid times and eventually moved into fourth around Osby with only a couple of laps to go.
Saturday night’s heat races were a little bit more chaotic for the Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha, in association with Rock River and Cycle Trader, team. Both riders were contesting the first heat race of the evening yet again, and things didn’t get off to the best of starts for Goerke. He experienced a bit of opening lap misfortune and was forced to take a trip to the LCQ for the first time this season – which he would go on to win in dominant fashion. Blose was able to knock out another solid start and found himself around second position on the first lap. He dropped back to fifth place, but kept charging forward as he hounded Gared Steinke for the majority of the race. Blose put a move on the Kawasaki rider in the waning moments of the race and earned himself the last RMATV MC Head 2 Head spot.
Friday night’s RMATV MC Head 2 Head Challenge went better than it has gone all year for the Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha, in association with Rock River and Cycle Trader, team. Matt Goerke put on one of his best displays in the head-to-head format thus far as he took it to the series leader, Jace Owen, in the third heat. Goerke went on to face Steinke and was able to withstand the pressure from the MotoSport Hillsboro Kawasaki rider to secure a spot in the final. He was matched up against the defending champ, Gavin Faith, and just came up short of winning the RMATV MC Head 2 Head Challenge. Meanwhile, Blose made his way into the second round after he bested Heath Harrison in the second heat, but he wasn’t able to make his way past Faith in the second round. On Saturday night, Blose was the sole representative of the team as Goerke was forced to race the LCQ. He flew the Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha, in association with Rock River and Cycle Trader, colors proud as he exacted revenge on the Team Babbit’s / Monster Energy / AMSOIL Kawasaki of Gavin Faith and won the first heat. Blose moved on to face Jace Owen with a chance to head to the finals, but he came up just short and would be sent back to the semi just a touch earlier than he would have liked.
Friday night’s main events started with a bang as Blose and Goerke both grabbed a start within the top ten. Blose put himself in the better position between the two Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha, in association with Rock River and Cycle Trader, teammates as he came across the line in fourth position, just behind his championship rival, Gavin Faith. The pair of them worked their way past Daniel Herrlein in the early stages of the race in an attempt to keep Jace Owen in check at the front of the field. Meanwhile, Goerke was back in ninth after a subpar start put him at the heart of the carnage. He held strongly onto ninth position for a couple of laps in succession until he eventually forced his way into eighth position past the Kawasaki of Steinke. At the midway point of the race, Goerke turned the fastest time out of anybody as he diced through the field. By the time the checkered flag was out, he had picked off a handful of riders, putting him in fifth position to end the main; Blose was able to hang onto third. The second main event produced a similar result off the start as the Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha, in association with Rock River and Cycle Trader, duo sat fifth and sixth after the first lap was completed. Goerke found himself in a battle with Heath Harrison right out of the gate as the two of them swapped positions on the opening laps. Blose circulated in fifth a little further up the track, but he soon came under pressure from his teammate. Goerke had left Harrison behind and he was able to make a move on Blose in order to promote himself into the top five. The Floridian withstood the pressure from around him for the remainder of the race, throwing down a consistent pace. At the last breath of the moto, he stole fourth position from Gavin Faith in commanding style. Blose ended up relinquishing one more position to the Tilube / Jack Links / Honda of Ben Lamay, putting him in seventh position to end the race. Both riders just barely missed out on the overall podium, and were looking to get back to where they belong come Saturday night.
Main events didn’t get off to the most fortunate start on Saturday night; Goerke suffered another mediocre start and Blose only completed four laps in the first race. The Arizona native was running in third position from the drop of the gate, but he was unfortunately forced to retire on the fourth lap. Goerke banged bars back around the edge of the top ten, eventually finding a consistent home in eighth position for the majority of the race. He was able to find his way around the Woodstock KTM rider of Cody Vanbuskirk with only a handful of laps to go, putting him in seventh position when the fifteen laps concluded. In the second main event of the night, Goerke was finally able to get out to the start that he’s been looking for this year. He sat behind the Kawasaki duo of Gared Steinke and Gavin Faith, respectively, for the opening lap. Faith was able to make a move into the lead and a couple of laps later Goerke followed him to the front past Steinke. The Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha, in association with Rock River and Cycle Trader, rider threw down the fastest lap of the race on the seventh lap, sitting a mere two seconds behind the leader. The two of them shared an equal pace, therefore not giving Goerke the opportunity to challenge for the lead. Blose’s poor luck continued as he found himself in thirteenth position on the opening lap. He ground away at the competition as he steadily worked his way through the field throughout the continuing laps. Blose had gained three positions by the midway point of the race, putting him in tenth position behind the KTM pair of Isaac Teasdale and Heath Harrison. Throughout the second half of the moto, he was able to dispose of them as he put smooth laps together, eventually ending the night with an eighth place finish. Goerke’s 7-2 was enough for a second overall, which was the silver lining in an otherwise underwhelming weekend.
AMSOIL Arenacross will move to Nashville, TN this weekend for the fourth round of the 2017 season. The Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha, in association with Rock River and Cycle Trader, team will be looking to come back strong with their first overall victory of the season when the action gets underway in the Volunteer State.