The 2014 Garmin Arenacross tour came to an end last night at the Wembley Arena, in London. It certainly was special to see our niche sport inside of one of the most popular venues in the UK – the promoters deserve props for that. Although the pro champion was decided at the previous round, the racing was still superb throughout the night at the finale.
Neville Bradshaw took the holeshot in the first pro heat, aboard his Putoline Apico Honda, but his lead was short-lived, as Fabien Izoird forced the issue up the inside. However, the champion then made a mistake, which relegated him to last and gave the lead to Kristian Whatley! Whatley then established a comfortable cushion over his teammate, Daniel McCoy, and went on to claim the victory from McCoy, and Bradshaw in third.
In the second pro heat, Carl Nunn took the holeshot, but Thomas Ramette stole the lead in the first rhythm section. Tyler Villopoto moved into second too, which was good for the Oakleaf Kawasaki rider, as he has really struggled recently. There was not much change at the front of the pack in this one, as Thomas continuously extended his advantage until he took the win! Cyrille Coulon took second in the end, ahead of Angelo Pellegrini and Tyler Villopoto in fourth.
Kristian Whatley took the holeshot in the third pro heat, and attempted to repeat his performance from heat one. But, Fabien Izoird moved straight into the lead. Cyrille Coulon was the man on the move early on in this one, as he stormed past Bradshaw in the whoops for third. Coulon eventually took second too, as he found a way around Whatley. But, the Frenchman was not done, as he made a run at Izoird. However, Fabien still took the win from Coulon and Whatley.
The fourth and final pro heat was up next, and Chris Bayliss took the holeshot! However, Ramette made a pass for the lead early on, again. Bayliss slipped back through the pack gradually as this race wore on, as things started happening very quickly for him. McCoy was second for a long time in this one, but Pellegrini cleaned him out late in the race; the Australian recovered for sixth though. Ramette took another win from Pellegrini and Biela, when the checkered flag fell.
Finally, it was time for the final pro main event of the year, and the race that everyone had been waiting for. Thomas Ramette was undoubtedly the favourite heading in, as the speed he showcased in the heats was unrivalled. Thomas took the holeshot in the main, ahead of Coulon, McCoy and Pellegrini. Angelo dropped back to sixth early on, which allowed Whatley to latch onto the back of the lead group. Although Coulon again attempted to make a run at Ramette, he just didn’t have enough in the tank to really challenge him.
In the end, Ramette took his first Garmin Arenacross main event win, ahead of his fellow Frenchman, Coulon, and Daniel McCoy. Angelo Pellegrini, Fabien Izoird, Neville Bradshaw, Romain Biela, Steven Clarke and Luke Arbon rounded out the top ten!
Charlie Putnam took the lead early on in the Rookie main event, ahead of Ben Harrison and Mitchell Lewis. Although Charlie held the lead for a large portion of the race, it was clear that Mitchell was the fastest, as he was all over the leading duo. At one point, there was less than a second separating the top three – it was great racing! But, Lewis eventually pulled the pin and got around both riders, and then went on to take the win! Harrison ended up second (he made the pass when Putnam missed the triple) with Putnam in third.
The Big Wheel 85 main event was next up, and Aaron Booker took the holeshot in that one. Brett Pocock started second, but quickly dropped to fourth when Marcus Phelps and Dylan Woodcock got around him. Meanwhile, both Kimber and Caudwell went down in turn one. Undoubtedly, this race was the highlight of the night – the action was fast and furious! Whilst Phelps tried to get around Booker, Woodcock slipped up the inside of them both in one turn and took the lead!
It was not long until Phelps moved into the lead though, and he went on to take the victory, and the title, as a result. Booker claimed second, ahead of Woodcock, Pocock and Harry Kimber, who had a great ride through the field.
Preston Williams took the holeshot in the Small Wheel 85 main event, but Kurt Griffiths quickly moved into the lead. Ben Burridge was shadowing Williams in third, but just couldn’t find a way around him. Kurt took an impressive win, in a dominant fashion, from Williams and Burridge, whilst Thomson and Collings rounded out the top five. Todd Leadbitter took the win in the 65 main event in a dominant fashion, from Lindsay and Williams.
So, that’s a wrap! The 2014 Garmin Arenacross tour has come to a close; it was certainly one of the better indoor seasons that has taken place in the UK, as the series seems to be on the rise! Now, the focus will shift to the great outdoors, which will begin in just a couple of weeks time.
Words: Lewis Phillips
Image: Nuno Laranjeira/e22 Sports