The Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha, in association with Rock River and CycleTrader, team came into the eighth round of the 2017 AMSOIL Arenacross series surfing a wave of momentum after both riders landed on the overall podium in the Georgia Dome the previous weekend. The Landers center was set to host the the second two-night event of the series thus far since the third round of the championship took place in Baltimore.
The Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha, in association with Rock River and CycleTrader, teammates were able to carry the momentum from the overall podium in Atlanta directly into timed qualifying on Friday afternoon in Mississippi; Matt Goerke clocked the fastest lap time as the only rider to break into the nineteen second range and Chris Blose followed closely behind him in second position.
Blose kicked off the racing action for the team as he lined up for the first AX heat race of the evening, the Yamaha rider got off to a decent start but he was forced to settle into fourth position in the opening laps. He made quick work of his competition as he forced his way past Josh Osby and set the fastest lap time of the race shortly thereafter. Blose used the next two laps to slide past Travis Sewell and Hunter Sayles, advancing to first position where he would stay for the remainder of the race. Goerke managed a good jump out of the gate in the second heat race and he ran up front within the opening stages of the moto, but he experienced a crash that placed him out of a transfer position, setting him up for a trip to the LCQ.
Blose came into the RMATV MC Head 2 Head Challenge with a head full of steam and pulled off a win in his first bracket against the KTM of Jared Lesher. The Yamaha rider continued to lay it down in the next round against the Team Babbit’s Kawasaki of Travis Sewell, setting himself up for an intense final between himself and the current points leader, Jace Owen. He wasn’t able to get it done in the final round, but Blose had showed race winning potential every time he hit the track.
Meanwhile, Goerke battled back in the LCQ with an exceptional start on his fiery fast Yamaha that put him in first position. He never surrendered the position as he set consistently set the fastest lap times of the race, holding a decent gap over the Kawasaki of Gared Steinke. Goerke was able to maintain the lead for the entirety of the moto and salvage the best gate pick possible, gathering some confidence heading into the longer races.
The Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha, in association with Rock River and CycleTrader, duo put in decent results in the first main event. Neither of the riders were able to make their way onto the podium, but Blose managed to break inside the top five and Goerke followed close behind in sixth place. Both of the riders showcased the speed to finish much higher up the order, but had respective issues that prohibited them from landing on the podium. The second main event was an improvement for the team as Blose was able to get out to a solid start within podium contention; he put his Yamaha in third place and found himself in an early battle with his former teammate, Gavin Faith; the two of them swapped positions, but Blose was able to make it stick by the third lap and he promptly set his sights on Daniel Herrlein ahead of him. Goerke wasn’t as fortunate off of the line and through the first corner, eventually settling into sixth position in the opening laps. He was involved in a tense battle with Sewell throughout the early stages of the moto and repetitively knocked on the door of the top five. The Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha, in association with Rock River and CycleTrader, teammates weren’t able to progress any further throughout the remainder of the main event, and Blose was able to hold on for the podium finish. Goerke ended up sixth overall at the end of the night with his teammate just a couple spots ahead of him in fourth.
Blose continued his good run of qualifying form with a second place heading into the second night of racing and Goerke laid down a decent lap which put him in fifth position at the end of both timed sessions.
Blose represented the Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha, in association with Rock River and CycleTrader, team in the first heat race and did so in style. The Arizona native got out to an early lead ahead of Ben Lamay and set an unmatchable pace until the checkered flag, grabbing the win and putting himself in a good position before the RMATV MC Head 2 Head Challenge. Goerke shot out of the gate with a flash of blue as he came through the opening corner in fourth position. The Floridian rode with a determination and aggression that progressively pushed him toward the front of the pack, moving past Jacob Williamson in the early stages of the race. Goerke snuck past Steinke just past the midway point of the moto, but Owen had already amounted a sizable gap at the head of the field. The Yamaha rider settled for second place and placed himself in an advantageous position as the night moved on.
The Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha, in association with Rock River and CycleTrader, teammates both cleared the first bracket of the RMATV MC Head 2 Head Challenge; Goerke came out on top against Daniel Herrlein and Blose grabbed the advantage ahead of Travis Sewell. The Arizona native moved into his second race against Ben Lamay and wasn’t able to grab the win, sending him back to the semi until the opening main event. Meanwhile, Goerke outclassed the series leader, Jace Owen, and earned himself a spot in the final against Ben Lamay. He wasn’t able to snag the extra pair of points, but he did find his flow on the track and put himself in a good position for the main events.
Both riders sped off to an impressive start on their blazing fast blue steeds, but Blose experienced a bit of misfortune in the first corner; he subsequently dropped down to the rear of the field as Goerke fit into the final podium position on the opening lap. The Floridian made a move right off the bat as he forced his way into second past Josh Osby, attempting to keep the race leader of Owen within touching distance. Meanwhile, Blose battled back from dead last and was able to scrape his way through the field to an eventual twelfth place finish. Goerke matched the pace of the leader of Owen for the entirety of the race, but remained in second position until the checkered flag was flown. The second main event didn’t get off to the most advantageous start for the Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha, in association with Rock River and CycleTrader, team; Goerke had the better start between the pair with a fifth place and Blose rode with intensity on the opening lap to grab ninth place. Both riders were able to make progress throughout the fifteen lap main event, advancing up the field until they eventually found themselves fighting for the same position halfway through the race. Goerke sat comfortably in fourth and Blose kept him honest in fifth all the way until the checkered flag, at last finishing with both riders inside the top five. Goerke ended the night of racing with a second place overall and Blose had to settle for an eighth due to his troublesome first main event.
“Southaven didn’t go as planned, especially coming off of an overall win in Atlanta. On Friday, I went four-three for a fourth overall. Saturday night, I ended up stalling it in the first turn of the first main event after pretty much getting the holeshot. I was almost a lap down and I came back to twelfth position, and in the second main event I made a couple passes and got fifth. I’m looking forward to the race for the championship as my confidence and speed is there. I got my starts down now and I’m really looking forward to the upcoming rounds,” said Blose.
Goerke commented “I had a heat race crash and some issues Friday night, but I came back and turned it around on Saturday and it was better. I didn’t get great starts, which were needed on a tame track like the one we had in Southaven, but I was able to move forward and I ended up getting second overall on the night.”
As a result of both days of racing, the team had a decent weekend that cemented respectable positions heading into the race for the championship. The Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha, in association with Rock River and CycleTrader, team was able to stand on the overall podium yet again, and will be aiming to continue that streak as they head to the Smoothie King Center in one and only New Orleans this coming weekend.