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2006 Gary Roberts Column

The Northern California Speedway 2006 season is well underway and we are unfortunately back to one track. But that is only part of the Northern California Speedway bad news.

During the off-season there was good news of a second track starting at Woodland, which would run on Saturday nights. But on the eve of their opening night, local residents developed concerns for the noise and its now in the hands of lawyers. grrrrr . . . .

To make matters worse, the new track that began last year at Carson City did not feel it could compete with Woodland, so the promoter dropped his 2006 plans.

Fast Fridays at Auburn is still alive and well, although rider turn out is disappointing this year. The other bad news this year is of serious injuries to riders.

Bobby Hedden has definitely retired following his back injury last season. He is however part of brother Tommy’s pit crew and Tommy’s performances this season have certainly moved up a notch.

Bart Bast injured his ankle and collarbone in an early season race. Bart struggled to compete in the first National Championship event, only to ensure that he can compete in the National next year. Get well Bart.

Then in late July John Cook sustained a broken back in a motocross event and is on a long recovery road, which has spelt the end to his long and successful speedway career.

A very sad piece of news in July was that long time speedway rider, motocross rider, flat track rider, road racer and recently successful super motard rider, Paul Orlandi passed away, following a 2 year battle with cancer.

There is some good news:

It was good news for the British League when Northern California rider Chris Kerr was signed up by the new Redcar Premier League team. Their gain is unfortunately Northern California’s loss, but Chris, like Hamill, Hancock, Werner, Janniro, Ermolenko and Correy, is doing his bit to keep the American flag flying in world speedway.

So what can we hope for in the rest of the 2006 season? Let’s hope that Woodland can sort out their neighbors’ noise concerns and get up and running soon, that Bart and Cookie recover quickly from their injuries, that a multitude of Auburn’s younger generation decide they want to take up Youth Speedway! That should do it.

Gary Roberts - groberts@iee.org


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