Just three points separate red plate holder Cedric Soubeyras (Team FRO Systems) from racing rival and reigning AX Pro champ Thomas Ramette (SR75 World Suzuki) as the UK Arenacross Tour heads to the showdown at the capital city’s SSE Arena in Wembley. Can this be the year for Soub? With four unforgiving fellow countrymen behind him, and tactics coming into play, he’ll have to stay out of trouble and make it to the finish line in time. There’s a title to be won and serious money up for grabs, so any off-track friendship will be put on hold for those vital and intense 14 laps.
There are double points on the last round, which means the Pro Hot Lap could play a pivotal role. Six points for first, four for second and two for third, could make the difference between winning or losing the championship. Fortunately for those top eight Pros, the hot lap is against the clock, rather than against those lucky, or unlucky, enough to go through to the Head-to-Head (H2H) last chance saloon. AX fans can also make a difference as the last place on the Pro final start grid is reserved for the rider voted through by the people; the Pro, or maybe Pro Lite, who didn’t make it through the H2H. To be clear, the top eight Pros, after the evening heats are finished, go through to the Main Event. They are joined by the last three standing from the H2H, and the non-qualifying rider who received the most ‘likes’ on the Arenacrossuk Facebook page. Voting opens as soon as the H2H is over but, fans need to be quick as there is, at most, a 10-minute window to put their fave through.
Any one of the top eight contenders has a mathematical chance of winning the series. The top five Frenchmen, namely Soubeyras, Ramette, Charles LeFrancois (Buildbase Honda), Fabien Izoird (Buildbase Honda) and Cyrille Coulon (SR75 Team Suzuki) are followed by a big Portuguese in the form of Hugo Basaula (Shocktech Kawasaki) and Australian hardman Dan Reardon (I-Fly JK Yamaha), with another Frenchman, Adrien Escoffier (MVR-D St Blazey Husqvarna) in eighth.
But the Brit Pack shouldn’t be discounted and any one of them could easily upset the order of play and keep the French indoor racing specialists at bay. They can’t win the championship, but they will be hungry for AX glory at the final round, and have always risen to the Wembley challenge. Former two-time British MX champ Elliott Banks-Browne (Geartec Husqvarna) is the only Brit to have podiumed this season, whilst Team Green Holeshot Kawasaki stablemates Jack Brunell and Adam Chatfield have tasted Arenacross success in the past. Ashley Greedy (Team FRO Systems) and Matt Bayliss (Wooldridge Demolition) both have the speed, and could hang it all out for one last time
The final of the 2018 Power Maxed Arenacross Tour takes place at the SSE Arena, Wembley, London, this Saturday the 17th of February. Doors open at 6.30pm, with the show opening getting underway at 7.30pm.
Tickets from £17, are available via www.arenacrossuk.com or directly from the Arena Box Office on 0844 815 0815.