You’d think with 20 main-event wins and 10 overall victories on the season that winning his third-straight Arenacross Championship would have been another stroll down easy street. Ha! It was anything but for the 22-year-old from Danville, Kentucky.
With Arenacross making drastic chances to its racing format for 2013, the series organizers got exactly what they wanted – a title fight to the bitter end, which pretty much came at Bowers’ expense. Along with some other changes (random “briefcase” starts, head-to-head bracket racing, etc.), the most significant change was using the first six rounds of the series as sort of a “qualifier,” then resetting the points for those who qualified, making the last four rounds of the series a sprint “Race to the Championship,” much like how golf does it with its “FedExCup Playoffs,” NHRA Drag Racing Series does with its “Countdown to the Championship,” and NASCAR does with its “Chase for the Sprint Cup.” The top rider (in this case Bowers) after round six is awarded six points, second place five points, third place four points and so on down the line. All the qualified riders from fifth place on back are given one point each.
It’s not a bad system for many. After all, it keeps things interesting for the fans and gives all the qualified riders from second place on back a second chance to win the title. However, it kind of, well, sucks if you’re the points leader, especially if you have a big points lead like Bowers had.
But having to pretty much start all over again more than halfway through the season wasn’t the only obstacle Bowers had to overcome over the course of the 10-round series, he also had to deal with a broken collarbone. Before round six (the round before the start of the Race to the Championship), Bowers snapped his clavicle while practicing in California while training with teammate Zach Ames. For most, that would have been a season ender, but not for Bowers. Instead, he immediately had surgery, had the busted bone plated and went racing again, without missing a beat and without telling anyone. Had any of his competitors known of his injury, they might have attacked a little bit harder, which would possibly make the difference between winning and losing the title.
The first five rounds might have gone silky smooth for the Monster Energy/Amsoil/Babbitt’s Kawasaki rider, Bowers, but the last five rounds was anything but. Still, it’s challenges and adversities like these that makes champions what they are – champions. And that’s what Bowers is for the third time.
Bower ended up beating out fellow rival and former Arenacross Champion Jeff Gibson by just three points. And it all came down to the final 20-lap race of the season in Denver.
After that dramatic night at the Denver Coliseum, we caught up with Bowers and talked with him about the season.