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Arenacross Championship Set for Championship Rounds at Cooper Steel Arena This Weekend

Noah Maddox
Posted 3/8/24

The final rounds of the Arenacross Championships at Cooper Steel Arena in Shelbyville are set to begin on March 8th and 9th. We talked to Tristar MX owner Bobby Snyder on how the sport has grown here already.

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Arenacross Championship Set for Championship Rounds at Cooper Steel Arena This Weekend


The final events in the inaugural year of Arenacross Championships in Shelbyville are set to take place on Friday and Saturday, March 8th and 9th, inside of Cooper Steel Arena. 

Bobby Snyder, owner of Tristar MX, has brought Arenacross to Shelbyville for the first time, and as the conclusion of the very first year draws near, the excitement is palpable.

“I think it’ll be fun, have some people out there cheering for all the kids racing,” Snyder says, “We are excited to be here in Shelbyville, and excited to bring in racers from all over.”

After having the inaugural outdoors season earlier in the fall, Snyder helped open Round One of the Arenacross Championship here in Shelbyville on November 11th of last year with racers from a multitude of different states around the country showing up.

“We started in November, a brand new series in its first year,” says Snyder, “and we even have racers coming in from Nevada to race our series. We usually have at least 13-15 states represented every round.” 

“The growth has been tremendous.”

Arenacross is similar to another form of motorcycle racing, the Supercross, but there are some important distinctions. For one, Arenacross is kind of a blend between indoor Motorcross racing events and Freestyle MX, but put together into a multi-hour long performance with some incredibly fast-paced races that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Outside of the races, the crowd experience is well worth the price of admission. 

According to Snyder, Arenacross is a “smaller scale Supercross” with man made obstacles and jumps that aren’t “as big for distance” but are exhilarating nonetheless. 

Of course to host an Arenacross tour, you obviously will need a track worth racing on. That is where Sonny Deegan comes in to fulfill the need and vision set forth by Snyder when he first started.

The goal starting out this year was to provide racers in the area with a real deal arena cross track, full scale, not a small track,” Snyder says, “He builds next level tracks. They are big but they are some of the safest tracks to ride on.”

“We are just trying to give the racers what they are looking for,” Snyder adds.

Drivers perform big air jumps in a standard Arenacross race.
Drivers perform big air jumps in a standard Arenacross race.

What the racers are looking for is a full scale track, as Snyder says that some of the smaller venues just are not challenging enough to a lot of drivers. 

The series is under the AMA umbrella as well. AMA stands for the “American Motorcyclist Association.” According to Snyder, it is a sanctioning body that comes up with the rulebook that they adhere to. AMA provides coverage to racers and promoters as well as supplying rules, and a nice perk is that everyone is under the same rulebook. This is especially helpful when it comes to classifying the different motorcycles, as much like Formula-1, how you build the vehicle is almost as important as who you have driving said vehicle. 

“There are limited classes, and the rules clearly outline what you can and can’t change on your bike,” Snyder explains, “Open classes, seat heights, wheel sizes, they define every class, all 30 of them in our case.”

Another perk with AMA, other than the fact that most professional circuits are sanctioned under it, is that they offer contingencies as well. For example, Honda is one of the name-brand manufacturers associated with the Shelbyville Arenacross circuit, and according to Snyder, there are some significant perks for the racers.

“A brand will give you X amount of dollars to race if you place in the Top 3,” he says, “You race our series, and your manufacturer will pay you based on your results if you place on the podium.”

That sounds like a sweet gig, but finishing on the podium is no easy feat. 

Snyder also went into detail on how this upcoming final weekend of the circuit is expected to go on both Friday and Saturday.

“Friday doors open at 4 pm. with practice running from 5-9 pm. The format is the same as Saturday, grouped by engine size and rider ability,” he explains, “Keep circling through, so we’ll usually end up getting 3-4 practice sessions per class.”

“Saturday we start practice at 10 am. with each class being broken up by skill level and engine displacement size,” Snyder continues. 

“We will have anywhere from 30 to 50 races depending on the number of entries. Heat races determine the starting gate in main if we don’t have more than 15 racers. If we have more than 15, finishing in the top 6-7 guarantees a spot in the main while the rest go into LCQ. We begin the opening ceremonies at about 4:00 p.m. Then we should get through the main events and end around 8-9 pm.”

For this upcoming event, the majority of that timeline, if not all of it, stays the same. The only adjustment is the fact that Snyder will be putting together round six and round seven into one Saturday, so the final day might last a bit longer than usual.

“There are going to be two main events on Saturday,” he says, “Since the weather is abnormally warm out, outdoor is moving up their scheduling because of that. This is the final indoor weekend.”

Snyder wraps things up by talking about how he even got involved with Arenacross and why he was and is so intent and interested in starting and growing this circuit.

“My boys race. I have two sons that race, and then when my youngest is old enough he’ll race as well,” Snyder expounds, “I own a rifle company in Clarkesville and I just wanted to use that to help have something cool for the kids to run.”

“The kids were the focus behind starting Tristar.”

In this inaugural Arenacross season, the kids have been the focus, but that isn’t to say that the other ages have been thrown to the wayside. In fact, quite the opposite has occurred in the older age groups.

“Our age range is from four years old to 60,” he says, “We usually have quite a few in the 50+ class, four or five every round, however, mainly it is from ages 6-17. Those are our biggest classes.”

“These kids are avid competitors trying to make a living out of this. It is a full points series with championships at the end,” Snyder continues, “They are all competing for a championship on Saturday.”

As Snyder dove into detail on how the upcoming weekend is going to work, the tone in his voice picked up to where you could really tell there was a palpable excitement. Then that excitement quickly turns to gratitude when he talks about the things he has learned so far.

“Just the learning, it’s always good to learn something new and get peoples perspectives on things,” he says, “Just to see the growth of the series and knowing that we are doing something benefiting the sport on a local level, that’s really cool.”

“One of the biggest things since we started though has been the growth. It is awesome to see all the riders from all around come to race,” continues Snyder.

“Loretto is where they race the Amateur National Championships,” he concludes. “We have a lot of Loretto racers that race our series.”

Tickets for the weekend are on sale online and will also be sold at the doors. The gates open at 4:00 p.m. on Friday and at 7:00 a.m. on Saturday. Free tickets will also be redeemable to the first 100 people who use a special promo code, TGACMA2024, when ordering tickets online at eventbrite.com. For more information go to tristarmx.com.

Arenacross, AMA, Motorcross, Bobby Snyder, Cooper Steel Arena