AMSOIL Arenacross Most Intense Interview of the Week - TiLUBE TUF Racing Hondas Ben Lamay
First-Time Overall Winner in AMSOIL Arenacross Brings Momentum into Tacoma
ELLENTON, Fla. (April 15, 2016) - The Race to the Championship is approaching its stretch run for the 2016 AMSOIL Arenacross season and after welcoming the series'' newest winner last weekend in Salinas, California, the tension is higher than ever heading to the third round of the playoff Saturday night in Tacoma, Washington, and the Tacoma Dome.
TiLUBE/TUF Racing Honda''s Ben Lamay has been one of the hottest riders in AMSOIL Arenacross in recent weeks, amassing three Main Event wins over the course of the past three rounds. That surge in momentum culminated last weekend in Salinas with the first overall victory of his AMOSIL Arenacross career in difficult wet conditions. With several years of Monster Energy Supercross experience under his belt, Lamay is accustomed to the intensity that AMSOIL Arenacross brings and he''s emerged as a title contender in his very first season of competition.
AMSOIL Arenacross caught up with Lamay to talk about his journey to that breakthrough win and his mindset for the final three rounds of the Race to the Championship.
Lamay persevered through wet conditions in Salinas to claim his first career overall win.
Photo: ShiftOne Photography
Ben, talk about your breakthrough afternoon in Salinas. You''ve been inching towards an overall win and it finally all came together. How did it feel to finally get on top of the box?
The season has been going pretty good for me. I got three Main Event wins so far and they all came weekend after weekend. I started in Lafayette [Louisiana], won in Ontario [California] and then I won in Salinas, so I kind of had the ball rolling in my favor. Salinas was great. I liked the bigger track, I liked the wet conditions, and I qualified first, so that was good for gate pick [heading into the Heat Races]. Everything has just been going really good. The bike is awesome and everything just kind of fell in my favor on Sunday in Salinas.
What has been the key to your progression in AMSOIL Arenacross this season. You came into the championship with years of Monster Energy Supercross experience, and although AMSOIL Arenacross is a different style has that experience benefitted you?
The biggest thing for me has been learning to race so close to other riders. It sounds stupid, but [you need to] able to focus on your race and your lines, and not worry about the guy that''s coming up the inside or having to square him up, or even jumping handlebar to handlebar. In supercross you''re still doing the same thing, but you have a little bit of leeway. If you don''t make a pass you have double the length in straightaways and a lot bigger corners, so it''s a lot more forgiving in supercross. In arenacross there''s [little] forgiveness. You either do it or you don''t. That''s been the biggest thing for me, just learning to ride my own race next to other guys. Now that I''m comfortable with that my speed has been coming and my starts have been getting better. I''m starting to fill in my shoes I guess you could say. Now I can start to really progress and start winning races.
What do you think it will take to keep the momentum going? Do you have a championship in mind? Is your plan to keep charging to where you have a chance for the title in Las Vegas?
The plan is I want to win every race, or as many as I can. On Saturday in Ontario in the first Main Event I was in third and with two laps to go I got into [Travis] Sewell and ended up stalling it. I ended up finishing last, so I threw away a ton of points there and possibly the championship. I don''t know [if I lost the championship], but I''m now 20 points down. Up until that I was thinking let''s just worry about the championship in the long run and take what comes, but now since I''m so far back I don''t even think about the championship. I''m just worrying about every start, every race, and doing the best I can. Whatever happens happens. To answer your question, no I''m not thinking about the championship. I''m just thinking about winning every Main Event I can.
Lamay has been one of the hottest riders in AMSOIL Arenacross.
Photo: ShiftOne Photography
It''s unique that all of your wins this season have come in the second Main Event. Is there something to that for you? Is it how you''re approaching each race or is it purely coincidence?
I''ve noticed that to, but I don''t know what the deal is. We [the team] kind of made a joke about it that ''we need to get you figured out in Main Event 1.'' In Main Event 2 I''m always there. My conditioning and my fitness is not a problem. It never has been for me. I don''t know, I guess it''s just maybe being not quite warmed up enough, or not quite in the moment, or not pissed off enough. I don''t know what it is, but I need to figure out the first Main Event and make it a lot easier on myself for the overall.
What has it been like racing alongside a teammate like Jace Owen, who also has Monster Energy Supercross experience, and for a team like TiLUBE/TUF Racing Honda, which has won multiple AMSOIL Arenacross titles? Has that benefitted your adjustment and progression?
It''s definitely cool having Jace on the team. I''ve known him not too long, but we''ve raced in Germany for a couple of years and we''ve been in supercross a little bit. To have him as a teammate is really nice and it makes the environment really fun to be at the races. And with the team winning championships for so long up until now, they know. Dave [Antolak], the owner, when I had the mistake in Ontario - I was so pissed I felt like hurting somebody - he told me don''t worry about it. Just to keep working because anything can happen. I''m still in it and haven''t thrown it away yet. Stuff like that [is huge]. My mechanic has worked with all the guys that have won in the past, so they know all the little tricks here and there. It''s nice to be able to have a team that has all the experience of winning and has been through the ups and downs. They know when to attack and when not to attack, so it definitely has made my life easier in my first year racing arenacross.
You mentioned you''re not thinking about the championship but what is your goal from here on out, starting with Tacoma this weekend?
My main thing that I''ll be focusing on is being more aggressive. I haven''t really done that this season yet, and now needing to make up points I''m going to kick it into gear and start doing what it takes. If I have to [get aggressive] with some riders in order to move up, that''s while I''m going to do. I''m just going to really focus on being more aggressive and being up front, no matter what it takes.
The third round of the Race to the Championship from the Tacoma Dome will kick off tomorrow, Saturday, April 16, starting at 7 p.m. PT / 10 p.m. ET.
The outside venue in Salinas catered to Lamay''s Monster Energy Supercross experience.
Photo: ShiftOne Photography
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