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2002 North America Speedway History
Part 2

2002 Part 1 - 2002 Part 3 (Nor Cal)

AMA National Series Results are here

Fast Fridays announced that the wildcards for the AMA National Series are:

Bryan Yarrow
Chris Kerr
Randy Kripps
Alan Christian
Billy Hiles
Randy Difrancesco
Tommy Hedden
Ivan Sevart

These same riders will be the wildcards for all 3 rounds.  A pre event qualifier will determine which riders fill the 15th and 16th slots in the National Round event.   After the first rounds the 15th and 16th finishers will go back into the wildcard pool for the second round and finishers 1-14 go straight to the National Second Round event.  The same process will be used to fill the 15th and 16th slots for the third round.

Starting position draw held for 2002 AMA National Speedway Series

On July 17 AMA Sports conducted the "draw" for starting positions in round one of the 2002 AMA National Championship Speedway Series, and riding numbers have been assigned accordingly to the first 14 riders who have accepted invitations to compete in the series.

The riding numbers for the August 14 opening round of the series are as follows:

No. 1 - Billy Janniro, Vallejo, CA
No. 2 - Bart Bast, Auburn, CA
No. 3 - Greg Hancock, Balboa Island, CA
No. 4 - Eddie Castro, Ojai, CA
No. 5 - Chris Manchester, Reno, NV
No. 6 - Ryan Fisher, Norco, CA
No. 7 - Josh Larsen, Monrovia, CA
No. 8 - Eric Carrillo, Newark, CA
No. 9 - Bobby Schwartz, Costa Mesa, CA
No. 10 - Gary Hicks, Riverside, CA
No. 11 - Scott Brant, Riverside, CA
No. 12 - Bobby Hedden, Folsom, CA
No. 13 - Billy Hamill, Monrovia, CA
No. 14 - Mike Faria, Reno, NV
No. 15 - TBD
No. 16 - TBD

The 15th and 16th riders for the field, along with two reserve riders, will be determined by a five-heat pre-qualifying round. Pre-qualifying will open the action when the 2002 AMA National Championship Speedway Series kicks off on Wednesday, August 14, at Arrowhead Speedway at the Orange Show Fairgrounds in San Bernardino, California.

The series will continue on Friday, August 16, at Fast Fridays Speedway in Auburn, California, which will also host the series finale on September 20.


PICKERINGTON, Ohio - AMA sports, in cooperation with Fast Fridays Motorcycle Speedway and Arrowhead Speedway, has announced expansion of its National Speedway Championship program.

The 2002 AMA National Speedway Championship - historically a season - ending, ONE Night event will adopt a tripleheader format, with two events in August ant the series finale in September.

The 2002 AMA National Championship Speedway Series will open on Wednesday evening, August 14, at San Bernardino, California. Round two of the series will take place 48 hours later, on Friday, August 16 at Fast Fridays Motorcycle Speedway in Auburn, California. The series finale will also be staged in Auburn, September 20, which for several seasons has hosted the AMA's premier Speedway events.

"We are delighted to be working with two premier Speedway venues to launch this exciting new series," said AMA Vice president Bill Amick. " The traditional sudden - death format or our championship is undeniable exciting, but the series format will be fairer to the riders and also allows us to showcase their talents in the sport's premier markets of Northern and Southern California.

Speedway Motorcycle Racing is one of the oldest forms of motorcycle competition, and features powerful, methanol - burning dirt track machines on short dirt ovals. The machines are lightweight and have no brakes, which makes for spectacular broadsides as riders negotiate tight corners in frantic four - lap sprints.

Speedway is viewed as a niche motor sport in America, and there are only about 100 "first division" riders racing domestically. But the US makes up in quality what it lacks in quantity, and has an impressive record in international competition. Since 1980, US riders have won five speedway World Championships. Two of those champions, Californians Billy Hamill (1996) and Greg Hancock (1997) will headline a stellar field for the 2002 AMA National Champion Speedway Series.

Hancock and Hamill are among the world's elite Speedway competitors, and will take time from their Grand Prix and league commitments in Europe to return home for the AMA - sanctioned series. Invitations have also been issued to a pair of exciting young American internationals, Billy Janniro and Ryan Fisher, who are Hamill's teammates at Coventry, England Elite Speedway league.

The European - based contingent will be formidable, but will have their hands full with home - based riders such as former National Champions Mike Faria, Bobby Schwartz, Bart Bast and Chris Manchester.

Under a new format developed for the 2002 AMA Championships, 14 riders will be seeded into a 16 - rider field for the series opener. The final two positions, plus two reserve positions, will be awarded to the top finishers in a "first half" pre-qualifying program.

Once the field has been trimmed to 16 riders, there will be a series of 20 qualifying heats with four riders in each heat. Each rider will race five times and will meet each of the other 15 riders once.

Points earned in the 20-race qualifying rounds will determine seeding into the championship round, where the winner of the "A" main will be the overall event winner. AMA National points will be awarded to all riders who qualify for the championship round at each of the three AMA Nationals.

June Update

2002 AMA National Championship Series

This year the AMA National Championship will be determined, not by a one night event as has been the case in the past, but by a 3 round series.

The dates are:

Aug 14  Arrowhead Speedway, San Bernardino, Round 1
Aug 16  Fast Fridays, Auburn, Round 2.
Sep 20  Fast Fridays, Auburn, Round 3.

Each round will comprise 14 nominated riders plus 2 qualified riders, plus 2 qualified reserves.

The qualification process for the 2 qualified riders and 2 qualified reserves is as follows:

There will be 2 heat races each comprising 5 riders, the winner transferring to a main, the second and third going to a semifinal. Top 2 out of the semi final go to the main. Winner and runner up of the main take slots 15 and 16 in the championship event. 3rd and 4th place riders are reserves to the championship event.

The championship event will be a regular 16 rider 20 heat, championship format, followed by A B C and D main event races.

Rider selection is by invitation. The first four invitations have been sent out to Messers Hamill, Hancock, Janniro and Fisher. Hamill and Hancock have confirmed acceptance and will attend all 3 rounds.

More details to follow.

Legends, Sephton, Craven and Buman are July 13 A.P.E. Standouts

(July 17, 2002) It was a special evening to remember, as the Legends of New York Speedway turned out for a fun night on a smooth track. It was a real sight to see Robinson, Stone, Payne and Pierce ride again. They looked very good, considering the fact that most of them had not ridden for at least 13 years.

Action Park is steadily growing in terms of attendance and is heading into the July 27 U.S. Speedway GP Series round with plenty of positive momentum.
Report by Jason Bonsignore


Support B
1. Mikey Buman 5
2. Casey Donholt 30
3. Heber Belles 20
4. Carl Van Horn 10
5. Henry Hanzo 0

Support A
1. Merle Craven 50
2. Marc Gauthier 30
3. Russ Cornell 60

Division 1 Scratch Main
1. Tom Sephton
2. Cam Rafferty
3. Dave Oakden
4. Jeremy Parsons
5. Mikey Robinson

1. Norm Robinson
2. Rick Stone
3. Jim Pierce
4. Rodney Payne

As Local Interest Grows, Kelley, Mowins and Weicht Post July 13 Division Wins at Indianapolis

(July 17, 2002) Bigger crowd, more racers and a couple of great intermission shows. Once again we ran a quick show: 23 total events, including our intermissions, in two hours and 20 minutes. Started at 7:00 pm sharp and finished before 9:30 pm.

It's amazing how many people have complimented us on our format, especially concerning the amount of races in a short time frame.
We had a neat little intermission show consisting of Tyler Shepard (The Wheelie Wizard) and Roger Riddel (Mr. Backwards). Mr. Riddel wants to come back in August and attempt jumping six cars while riding backwards on his Harley. It was pretty neat to see a guy flattracking riding backwards!
Report by Jon Ard

UAW Local 933 Night

Division 1
Eddie Kelley
Greg Comstock
Joe Garrison
Morgan Hedrick
Russ Crawford

Division 2
Jeff Mowins
Gary Moeckel
Lee Bailey

Division 3
David Weicht
Brad Amburgey
Allan Rush
Ralph Chudy
Chris Seel

Chris Boone
Tyler Shepard
Lester Wiggins
David Owens

Tyler Shepard
Jamie Ledford
Gary Mayer
David Owens

Justin Ard
Austin Woods
Olivia Valancia
Wesley Russell

Rafferty Wins Champion Speedway's July 7 Scratch Main

(July 14, 2002) The Fourth of July fireworks carried over to Sunday's scratch main event at Champion Speedway as the track surface started to develop a blue groove which contributed to some very fast and exciting racing.

The main event had Dave Oakden in the number one gate, Cam Rafferty in number 2, Jerry Harman, Jr. in the three gate, Tom Burge in number 4 and Tom "The Gater" Sephton starting from gate 5 after winning the LCQ to transfer. The original start found Sephton a little to eager to pull the trigger and after touching the tapes, he was sent back 10 yards to the penalty line. The restart had Rafferty getting the gate but contact between Rafferty and David Oakden in the first corner brought out a restart, with Oakden being sent back 10 yards for the initial contact. The third restart saw Rafferty getting the gate on the field and pulling away from the other riders to cross the line in front of the former East Coast champ Tom Burge (second), Jerry Harman, Jr. (third), the evening's handicap feature winner David Oakden in fourth and "The Gater" in fifth.

Jason Bonsignore's Champion Speedway again provided an excellent surface and close, exciting racing all evening.

Report by Mike Doty


Support B Main
1. Mikey Buman (250 Kawasaki)
3. Casey Donholt
4. Jay Casslebury
5. "Badger" Bob Bruzek
6. Heber Belles

Support A Main
1. Conrad Parshall
2. Merle Craven
3. Mike Buman
4. Josh Carr
5. Marc Gauthier
6. Keith Hawkins

Last Chance
1. Tom Sephton
2. Jeremy Parsons
3. Mikey Robinson
4. Merle Craven

Scratch Main
1. Cam Rafferty
2. Tom Burge
3. Jerry Harman, Jr.
4. Dave Oakden
5. Tom Sephton

Handicap Main
1. Dave Oakden
2. Tom Burge
3. Jerry Harman, Jr.
4. Tom Sephton
5. Mike Buman

6. Cam Rafferty

Rafferty Brings His 'A Game' to Square Deal

(July 14, 2002) Anticipation of an exciting main event was in the air Saturday night, July 6 at SDR Raceway. The fast, AMA-sanctioned quarter-mile track was smooth with plenty of traction.

The scratch main found the Tri-City Spring #51x ridden by Craig Estelle drawing the number one gate, two-time handicap feature winner Poorman's Trucking Chris Strong (#93) drew gate 2, and Tom Burge, the 20-year veteran of FTW Racing (#15) lined up in gate 3. The Tony B's Tire & Auto #427 of Cam Rafferty started from the fourth position. There was no advantage at the tapes as all four riders gated equally well. As they entered turn 1, a blanket could have covered all four! Rafferty pulled a slight advantage around the outside exiting turn 2 and continued to stretch his lead to the checkered flag followed by Estelle, Burge and Strong.
It was a successful night of racing for Team 427, as Cam scored 14 out of 15 points in the heat races in transfering to the main. Congratulations to all the racers who participated in making this a great show.

Report by Mike Doty


D1 main
1. Cam Rafferty #427
2. Craig Estelle #51
3. Tom Burge #15
4. Chris Strong #93

D2 Main
1. Lee Bailey
2. Alex Heath
3. Dave Richards
4. Duane Smith

Juniors (on junior speedway bikes)
1. Corey Brookes

Pee Wee (50cc class)
1st Danny Oakden

Sephton, Bruzek Are Firecracker Championship Winners

(July 14, 2002) Speedway fans in western New York were treated to another fun evening on July 6 at Action Park East. The APE racing surface is now rounding into form.

Quick results: The Support class was won by Bob Bruzek.

Last Chance: Gene Bonsignore was leading it before being knocked down by Joel Parsons. Parsons later fell, allowing Rick Sherwood to capture the win followed by Mike Buman.

Scratch Main: Firecracker Championship final
1. Tom Sephton
2. Mikey Robinson
3. Jeremy Parsons
4. Gene Bonsignore
5. Rick Sherwood

Next week (July 13) is 180 Energy Drink Night and the begining of Legend's Weekend. The first 100 spectators through the gate will get a free can of 180. Don't miss the return of East Coast greats "Rowdy" Rick Stone and "Stormin" Norman Robinson!


Nick Fafard Wins 2002 Quebec Championship

(July 14, 2002) Native son and I.C.E. series top gun Nick Fafard won the 2002 Quebec Championship on June 29 at picturesque St. Alex Speedway. Riding a new short stroke Jawa, Fafard took the win in front of an enthusiastic crowd at St. Alex.

Casey Franic was second in the final, followed by Marc Gauthier and Michel LeMay. Philip LeMay won the Support final.

Indianapolis Kicks Off 2002 Season with Round One of the Extraride Speedway Shootout Series

(July 5, 2002) Speedway took another giant leap forward in Indianapolis, as the Indianapolis International Speedway launched its 2002 season on June 29.

The track attracted riders from Wisconsin, Michigan and New York, presenting three divisions of speedway racing, as well as a pee wee flat track class and a 250cc flat track class.


Division One
1. Eddie Kelley
2. Greg Comstock
3. Joe Garrison
4. Morgan Hedrick
5. Greg Starcevick

Division Two
1. Bob Richards
2. Eric Miller
3. Gary Moeckel
4. Lee Bailey
5. Mark Engle

Division Three
1. John Greeley
2. Ralph Chudy
3. Lynn Zimmer
4. Kevin Mears

50cc Flat Track
1. Tyler Whitecotten
2. Justin Ard
3. Chase Lankford
4. Michael Knipp

250cc Flat Track
1. Lester Wiggins
2. Ron Anderson

"The Gater" Gets into Groove at Champion

(July 2, 2002) The Champion Speedway crowd on June 30 was the largest of the 2002 season. The fans responded to the spectacular freestyle jumpers and a quality speedway program. East Coast points champion, Tommy "Gater" Sephton, dominated the Scratch Main and international star John Cook pumped up the volume by winning the Handicap Main from the 70 while passing everyone on the outside, in the process logging what were possibly the fastest laps ever recorded at Champion Speedway.

Merle Craven again won the Support A final after moving back to the 30

George Lazor and Bobby Krips were unable to ride due to injuries.


Support B
2. Bob Bruzek
3. Jay Casslebury
4. Casey Donholt
5. Scott Swinehart
6. Carl Van Horn

Support A
1. Merle Craven
2. Mike Buman
3. Lee Bailey
4. Russ Cornell
5. Alex Heath

Last Chance
1. Jeremy Parsons
2. Gene Bonsignore
3. Mike Robinson
4. Fred Legault

Scratch Main
1. Tom Sephton
2. John Cook
3. Cam Rafferty
4. Mikey Robinson
5. Jeremy Parsons

Handicap Main
1. John Cook
2. Tom Burge
3. Jeremy Parsons
4. Tom Sephton
5. Lee Bailey
6. Fred Legault

Report by Jason Bonsignore

Lazor, Cook and Freestyle MX Add Up to Big Fun at APE

(July 2, 2002) Action Park witnessed the largest crowd of the year on June 29, with great racing and a freestyle motocross show from FMX EAST. The crowd was really into it and the atmosphere was electric.

All-time East Coast great George "Lazorbeam" Lazor was the man of the night after winning the Scratch Main. The win was particularly sweet for Lazor, as he had been knocked down earlier in his Handicap semi and had originally not planned to continue due to a suspected broken rib. But the injury did not slow him down. On the first start, there was a first corner pile-up which collected Californian Bobby Krips. Krips injured his shoulder but made the restart. On the second try, it was all vintage Lazor from pole to pole and a well-deserved win for the former New York State.

Two-time World Finalist John Cook walked away with the Handicap Main after working hard for five laps to pass veteran "Mean Gene" Bonsignore who had a solid showing after returning from several early-season injuries. Bonsignore tired on lap five, allowing Cook and Jeremy Parsons, who has been very strong, to sneak by.

Merle Craven won the Support A final after being moved back to the 20-yard line and "Badger" Bob Bruzek rode a smooth line to claim the Support B final.

Next Saturday, July 6, is The Firecracker Championship. It will be an all-scratch double-point Championship.


PW 50
1. Brandon Bruzek
2. Trent Story
3. Bobby Story

Support B
1. Bob Bruzek
2. Scott Swinehart
3. Carl Van Horn

Support A
1. Merle Craven
2. Chris Smith
4. Alex Heath
5. Jay Stalma (could not start)
6. Jim Fey (could not start)

Scratch Main
1. George Lazor
2. Mikey Robinson
3. John Cook
4. Bobby Krips
5. Tom Sephton

Handicap Main
1. John Cook
2. Jeremy Parsons
3. Gene Bonsignore
4. Joel Parsons
5. George Lazor
6. Bobby Krips (could not start)

Report by Jason Bonsignore

Diem Shakes Off Crash to Win at Square Deal on June 29; Carr Takes Support Main

(July 2, 2002) Square Deal Riders' second AMA sanctioned quarter-mile speedway event of the '02 season went off well, despite a printer malfunction which delayed the heat sheets and caused the event to be held up for several minutes. The track was once again consistent and dust-free, offering several racing lines even though weather had been hot and humid for several days prior to the event. A large enthusiastic crowd was in attendance for Southern Tier Harley-Davidson Night, putting SDR's expanded seating capacity to the test.

Two divisions with 8 riders each rode five qualifying rounds with the top four from each division going to a four-man main. The event also featured one junior speedway rider and pee-wees, for a total of 31 events.

Warren Diem recovered from a brutal crash to take the main event win. Diem fell entering turn three on the third lap of his last qualifying heat. Jerry Harman, Jr., who was running in fourth place, laid his bike down in an attempt to avoid Diem but collided heavily with the fallen rider. The ambulance was called to the track and for several minutes it seemed as though Diem would be transported to a local hospital for X-rays. In typical "Warrior" fashion, Diem was intent on riding the main event even when everyone else doubted if he would be able to continue. After forgoing the traditional main event "walk-out", Diem took the lead from the gate and didn't look back.

Division 1 Point Totals
1. Cam Rafferty 14
2. Warren Diem 11
3. Dave Oakden 11
4. Tom Burge 7
5. Jerry Harman, Jr. 7
6. Craig Estelle 6
7. Ronny Kemp 2
8. Joel Monell 1

D-1 Run-Off
1. Burge
2. Harman, Jr.

D-1 Main Event
1. Diem
2. Rafferty
3. Oakden
4. Burge

Dash for Cash (sponsored by Poorman's Trucking, Tony B's Auto and FTW Racing)
Six lap handicap

1. Estelle
2. Rafferty
3. Oakden
4. Burge
5. Diem
6. Harmon (f)

Division 2 point totals
1. Josh Carr 11
2. Conrad Parshall 11
3. David Clark 9
4. Kendall Brookes 8
5. Casey Donholt 8
6. Dave Richards 6
7. Byron Armstrong 5
8. James Hass 0

D-2 Run-Off
1. Donholt
2. Brookes (f)

D-2 Main Event
1. Carr
2. Parshall
3. Donholt
4. Clark (f)

Report by Tim Mathewson

Referee's report by Kelvin Herrala: First off, I would like to say how professional all of the riders at SDR have been and note how much respect they show for the sport. We had hard, clean racing all night on June 29. Having been a rider myself, I know what to look for and I make it clear to all of the riders at the riders' meeting what I expect from them.

A few examples: Ronnie Kemp was sent to the penalty line for touching the tapes in a heat. Jim Hass brought out the red flag with an off-track excursion and Warren Diem fell in a heat with Jerry Harman, Jr. bringing out the red; that race was ruled complete.

As referee, I made two mistakes during the event. First, I didn't turn off the red light after Diem fell; when the next race left the line, the riders saw a red light in turn four, causing a restart. I apologise to Casey Donholt, as he got the gate and his best start of the night. Second, Diem touched the tapes just as I was letting them go. I didn't throw the red because Diem was fourth into turn one, but in true Diem fashion, he was second going into 3. Judgment calls have to be made very quickly and I stand by my calls.

A six-man, six-lap inverted start handicap Dash for Cash was run after the scratch main. The top six D1 riders in points competed, with the sixth rider in points starting first, on back to number one in points, in 10-yard increments. The event was sponsored by FTW Racing and Poorman's Trucking. Tony B's Tire added an extra $100 as the race was lining up!

The race was a real crowd-pleaser; not one person left the stands the entire evening and the pits were full after it was all over. Number 51 Craig Estelle won from the line, going wire-to-wire and taking home some big money.

Kelvin Herrala
AMA # 316562

Strong and Cook are Tops at APE's Southern Tier Harley Night

(July 2, 2002) Thanks to Southern Tier Harley for a great evening of racing on June 22. The crowd and track keeps getting better every week at Action Park East. The program was again finished by 10:00 pm.

Chris Strong raced well to win the Handicap Main and John Cook was electrifying on a 22-inch rear wheel taking the Scratch main win. The fans are having a blast with speedway back in Greene, NY.


Support Main
1. Marc Gauthier
3. Casey Donholt
4. Alex Heath
5. Bob Bruzek
6. Carl Van Horn

Handicap Main
1. Chris Strong
2. John Cook
3. Mikey Robinson
4. Joel Parsons
5. Jeremy Parsons
6. Jerry Harman, Jr.

Scratch Main
1. John Cook
2. Tom Sephton
3. Tom Burge
4. Jeremy Parsons
5. George Lazor

Report by Jason Bonsignore

July 1, 2002 Dukie Ermolenko will host the Firecracker Derby at Victorville on the Fourth of July. The schedule will deviate from Sunday night to Thursday to celebrate Independence Day. The program will be all First Division and an all-scratch format. Dukie will also increase the First Division purse for the special occasion. National Champion Chris Manchester will be at Victorville as well as "Flyin'" Mike Faria and Ryan Fisher, with each making his first appearance at the track.

June 26, 2002 July 3rd will bring three visitors to Arrowhead Motor Speedway. Chris Manchester will make his second appearance of the season. Along with Manchester will be one of the original San Bernardino track's all-time fan favorites, three-time National Champion "Flyin'" Mike Faria. Faria will be making his debut at the track, which opened in 2001. Joining Manchester and Faria next week will be 2001 Arrowhead Season and Track Champion Ryan Fisher, who will be returning from England. Fisher currently rides for the Coventry Bees in the British Elite League and will be competing in the World Under 21 Semifinals next month.

June 3, 2002

Coventry Bees rider Billy Janniro will be making an appearance at Arrowhead Motor Speedway Wednesday, June 5. Janniro swept to wins in the 25 Lap Main Event and the Scratch Main Event last Friday at Auburn.
Ryan Fisher scored 12 points and won a runoff to finish third in the World Under 21 Qualfier in Belgium Saturday while Eric Carrillo made a respectable showing by scoring 4 points and gaining valuable experience. Ryan will be competing in the Semi-Finals of the qualification for the 2003 Grand Prix on June 15. The semi-finals of the World Under 21 Championship will be held in July.
There may not have been speedway in Southern California Memorial Day Weekend, but Josh Larsen kept himself busy by traveling to New York and winning the Spring Classic Series at Action Park and Champion. Larsen is currently the points leader at Costa Mesa.
Speedway returns to Victorville this Sunday, June 9 after the successful Spring Classic. Promoter Dukie Ermolenko is excited about starting his regular season at the banked oval. There will also be Freestyle Motocross Jumpers in Victorville on June 23.

Diem Back in Winning Groove at SDR Season Opener

(May 31, 2002) The SDR event on May 25, 2002 had two divisions with eight riders each. A total of 26 events (including pee wees) were run. While the numbers might have been less than impressive to some, the quality of the racing was awesome.

Warren Diem, Cam Rafferty, Tom Burge, David Oakden, Jerry Harman, Jr. and every one of the support riders put on a superb show on the long track. Diem, who has not ridden locally since being banned from Champion just before the end of the season in 2000, looked as impressive as ever, even though he had not been on a quarter-mile track for years.

The support class was equally impressive, with Brian Hollenbeck and David Clark dominating.

And for anyone keeping score: Jerry Harman, Jr. rode two different bikes at Square Deal on May 25 and didn't blow up either one!

Report by Tim Mathewson

Division One
Heat totals
(five rounds)

Estelle 14
Deim 13
Raffferty 13
Oakden 8
Harmon 5
Burge 3
Strong 3
Greene 1

Main Event:
Division One
1. Diem
2. Estelle
3. Oakden
4. Rafferty (fell, remounted)

Division Two
Heat totals
(five rounds)

Clark 12
Hollenbeck 12
Smith 10
Donholt 8
Richards 8
Grenga 5
Belles 3
Hanzo 0

Division II Run-off for Main
Richards (F)

Main Event (restarted)
Division II
1. Hollenbeck
2. Smith
3. Donholt
4. Clark

May 20, 2002

Josh Larsen will be flying to New York for the Spring Classic Championship Series at Action Park and Champion Speedway over Memorial Day Weekend. Larsen has plenty of experience at Champion, having won the 2000 U.S. Open, but he and most of the rest of the field will be taking to Action Park for the first time.
Costa Mesa will be closed on May 25 for the Memorial Day Holiday. Speedway returns to the world famous oval on Saturday, June 1 with the ever-popular Freestyle Motorcycle Jumpers. This has proven to be a successful attraction as they have never failed to produce a standing-room-only crowd.
A scheduling conflict has been rectified between Arrowhead and Victorville. Both venues had scheduled events for Thursday, July 4. However, Arrowhead Promoter Charlie "The Edge" Venegas has switched his date to Wednesday, July 3. Could the back-to-back dates attract riders from Northern California?
Thanks to a generous sponsor, Scott Brant will be a regular at Auburn this year. Brant won both main events last Friday night.
Ryan Fisher will be racing in a qualifying round for the World Under 21 Championship in Belgium on June 2.

Junior Speedway Rider Exchange Program

(May 17, 2002) Tom Mabry of Napa, California, whose son, J.T., is a rising star in the junior ranks is interested in organizing a rider exchange this summer.

The elder Mabry has had preliminary discussions with Jason Bonsignore about a group of California junior riders visiting New York this summer. The weekend of July 26-27 has been mentioned as a possible time frame.

If any East Coast speedway families would be interested in hosting a visiting junior rider from California this summer, please contact Tom Mabry at (707) 255-7600 (work) or (707) 255-7253 (home) or be e-mail at speedwaychamp99@aol.com. An exchange program of this type can only help speedway on both sides of the continent.

Race Report from May 11 Indoor Team Event at Hamburg, New York

by Duncan Luke

(May 17, 2002)The final score on May 11 in Hamburg, New York of 34-32 in favor of the U.S. is indicative of the close competition throughout a contest in which the riders deserve great credit for putting on a show under difficult circumstances.

The tight dimensions of the track, about 130 yards with very tight turns, meant that it was critical that the race surface be firm and consistent if good, safe racing was to be possible. Unfortunately, this was not the case. The material used to construct the track was stored outside the building and got soaked before it could be installed. Efforts to dry it once it was installed were only partly successful and the result was a spongy track that became more uneven as the event wore on.

As a result, in the interests of safety, the referee shortened the program and went straight to the final nominated riders heat after race 11 was completed. Unfortunately, this proved to be one heat too many and a bad crash in it caused the meeting to be abandoned.

Mercier into turn one on the second lap when Mercier picked up traction and drove into Parsons. The impact took both riders across the track and into the temporary safety fence, demolishing it in the process. Fortunately, Parsons escaped with only damage to his bike but Mercier was badly shaken and required treatment from the medical staff and for a time it looked as if his injuries might be more severe than the three cracked ribs he suffered.

The home side twice took four points leads, only for the Canadians to fight back onto level terms. In the end, it was a simple mechanical failure which decided the result. A broken chain brought Fred Legault to a halt in heat 11 when he had a third place finish locked up. This allowed the Parson brothers to take a 4-2 win and this was the margin of victory as it was the last race completed.

Jeremy Parsons led the Americans with a paid maximum and received strong support from Tom Burge who only dropped one point. Jerry Harman, Jr. notched a spectacular win when he hit the fence at the finish line and crashed heavily but earned the victory as he was still in contact with his bike as he slid over the line.

However, it was Joel Parsons who proved to be the trump card for the home side, with a strong performance from a reserve berth that made the difference in the final score.

The Canadians suffered a major blow before the meeting began due to the absence of Nick Fafard. Injuries to Andy Harris and Gaetan Carignan further complicated things for them. John Mercier had a very impressive meeting until his final race crash and spearheaded the Team Canada effort. He was well supported by Jeff Orosz, who took two wins after a slow start, and by Joe Heye. Veteran Fred Legault used his experience to ride to the track conditions and steadily picked up the points on offer without ever getting into trouble.

The small crowd and difficult track conditions have to make the possibility of a similar event in the future very doubtful.


Jeremy Parsons 8
Tom Burge 8
Joel Parsons 8
Jerry Harman, Jr. 4
David Oakden 3
Bruce Nelson 2
Chris Strong 1

John Mercier 10
Jeff Orosz 8
Joe Heye 7
Fred Legault 5
Andy Harris 2

Gaetan Carignan 0

April 25, 2002

Costa Mesa will open its 34th season next Saturday Night and it will mark the return of 1985 U.S. National Champion Alan "Crazy" Christian. Promoter Brad Oxley informed me that Alan is on the program May 4. Alan is truly a legend in American Speedway and owns one of its most incredible records. Alan won 13 consecutive Scratch Mains at Costa Mesa to open the 1980 season. This is speedway's version of Joe DiMaggio's 56 game hitting streak. A record that will most likely never be broken. On top of actually winning the mains themselves, Alan finished either first or second in 39 straight scratch races when you consider heats and semis. I believe that the last time Alan competed at Costa Mesa was the 1991 U.S. Nationals.
I'm sure the hardcores will be excited to see Alan back in action. It will be interesting to see how he matches up against the likes of Mike Faria, Bobby Schwartz, and Shawn McConnell, as well as the younger contingent of Josh Larsen, Chris Manchester, and Gary Hicks.

JBR's Summer of '02: U.S. GP Series, Champion on Sunday, New Booster Club, Junior Bike Rentals

(March 30, 2002) Along with the reopening of Action Park East (see below), JBR has announced an ambitious slate of projects and programs for the summer 2002 racing season.

Among the events slated for '02 is the inaugural U.S. National Speedway Grand Prix Series. Two rounds will be contested in New York, on July 26 at Champion Speedway and July 27 at Action Park East.

Champion Speedway will race on Sunday nights in 2002, returning to a format used in the 1980s.

A new booster club, the Eastern Speedway Fan Club, has been formed under the auspices of JBR. Members will receive discounts on merchandise, a free adult admission to Action Park East and Champion and a variety of other incentives.

Finally, in an attempt to jump-start junior speedway in New York, JBR will offer a rental/lease option on a number of half-scale Honda 125 speedway bikes.

For more information on these and other news items from JBR, contact Jason Bonsignore at (585) 723-9746.

Square Deal Releases 2002 Speedway Dates

(February 20, 2002) After a successful inaugural program last year, Square Deal Riders has released its 2002 speedway schedule. The Harpursville, NY based club will offer speedway on the following dates:

May 25...PW 50 Raffle
June 29
July 6
August 3
August 24
September 21
October 19 (day race)
October 20 (rain date)

Square Deal Raceway also invites all speedway fans to tail-gate in the track's back straightaway picnic area.

Directions: I-88 to Exit 5 to Route 7 east to Spear and Allen Roads.

For more information, call (607) 693-2634 or log on to www.sdrraceway.com.

JBR Announces 2002 Speedway Dates

(March 3, 2002) Jason Bonsignore recently released the complete schedule for 2002 at Champion Speedway and the newly-renovated Action Park East in Greene, NY. Speedway fans in western New York will now have a smorgasbord of dates and venues from which to choose. So get out your pencils and start marking up those calendars!

CHAMPION SPEEDWAY: 2002 Schedule - Presented by Cole's Construction
Ticket prices: $8.00 for adults; $2.00 for kids 6-12; kids 5 and under/parking/programs free
Directions to Champion: Exit 64 off NY Route 17 to end of Route 434.
Call (607) 687-7819 or (585) 723-9746 for more info.
* indicates special event prices

May 26...East Coast Spring Classic Round 2
June 2...Omar Lightner Cup / D.A.R.E. Night
June 9
June 16*...Father's Day Special - all kids under 12 free - PLUS!Appearance by 1997 World Champion Greg Hancock
June 23
June 30*...Freestyle motocross jumpers
July 7
July 14...Scott Smith & Sons Legends Night
July 21...RSC Trike Shop / Celebrity Challenge Night
July 26*...U.S. National Speedway Championship GP Series - Round 1
August 4*...Freestyle motocross jumpers
August 11...Southern Tier Harley Night
August 18
August 25...Best Pairs Championship / Golden Greats
September 1*...U.S. Open Speedway Championship Series Round 2
September 22...East Coast Speedway Fall Classic Series Round 2

ACTION PARK EAST: 2002 Schedule - Presented by Cole's Construction
Ticket prices: $8.00 for adults; $2.00 for kids 6-12; kids 5 and under/parking/programs free
Directions to Action Park East: Take Route 12 off NY Route 81 to Airport Road. Call (585) 723-9746 or (607) 687-7819 for more info.
* indicates special event prices

May 25...Grand Re-Opening - East Coast Spring Classic Round 1
June 1
June 8...Cole's Construction Night
June 15...Appearance by 1997 World Champion Greg Hancock
June 22...Harley Night
June 29*...Freestyle motocross jumpers / Double Points Night
July 6...Firecracker Championship
July 13...Legends Night / Golden Greats match races
July 20
July 27...U.S. National Speedway Championship GP Series - Round 2
August 3*...Freestyle motocross jumpers
August 10
August 17
August 24*...New York State Championship / Golden Greats
August 31*...U.S. Open Speedway Championship Series - Round 1
September 21...East Coast Speedway Fall Classic Series - Round 1

Indianapolis International Speedway Will Host Seven Dates in 2002

(March 3, 2002) Speedway is taking off in Indy, as Jon Ard and the National Speedway Alliance host seven events at the newly constructed Indianapolis International Speedway.

For more information, call the National Speedway Alliance at: (317) 545-2518, or e-mail Jon Ard at jonnyspeedway@aol.com.

ALSO...Learn more about Indy's speedway boom by logging on to the National Speedway Alliance's new Web site, www.nsaspeedway.com. (Note that you'll need Microsoft Explorer to view this site most effectively.)


June 29...Dreyer Motorsports Night
July 13...UAW Local 933 Night
August 3...Southside Harley-Davidson & Buell Night
August 17...Easyriders of Indy Night
August 24...Eagle Creek Aviation Night
September 14...American Sportbike Association Night
September 28...Greenwood Honda - Kawasaki Night

Michigan's Got Speedway? Hell, Yes!

(March 3, 2002) Speedway is growing by leaps and bounds in Michigan, reports Mark Engel, point main for speedway in the Wolverine State.
Engel asserts that the rich motorcycle culture of Michigan has been fertile ground for speedway in recent years. There are now well over 20 speedway riders in the state, including a number of accomplished flat trackers who switched over to speedway or added a speedway bike to their dirt sliding arsenal. Among the veteran dirt trackers to discover the joys of speedway are the Crawford brothers, Russ and Dan, as well as Astrodome indoor short track legend and Michigan resident Ronnie Rall.
Much of the speedway racing in Michigan is done on quarter-mile and half-mile tracks, under the auspices of AMA District 14.
Engel, who races regularly in Michigan and Canada, has staged a number of demos throughout the state and has exhibited a speedway promotional booth at indoor ice races in Flint and Kalamazoo. He is also working with the famed Flint Motorcycle Club to build a speedway-only track for the club. Another speedway track is also in the planning stage in Port Huron, MI.

For more information on speedway in Michigan, contact Mark Engel at: (810) 791-6017 or by e-mail at ENGELMAN1@webtv.net.

For schedule information on speedway events in Michigan, log on to the AMA District 14 Web site.

February 18, 2002

Charlie Venegas has decided to kick off the 2002 speedway season sooner than expected.....and with a little twist. The riders will be competing on concrete. Edge Promotions will host the King of Concrete speedway race inside one of the buildings at the Orange Show Fairgrounds in San Bernardino on Saturday, March 9. Racing will start at 8:00 p.m. It will be two divisions with an all-scratch format and 27 riders have already signed up. Anyone who would like more information regarding this race can call Edge Promotions and (909) 883-1414.

February 9, 2002

Speedway Returns to Victorville in 2002!

Dukie Ermolenko has announced that he will be promoting speedway races in Victorville in 2002. Dukie has scheduled 10 events to be held on Sunday evenings at the Wheel 2 Wheel Raceway on the San Bernardino County Fairgrounds in Victorville. The season is tentatively scheduled to begin in April and a finalized schedule will be announced soon. Dukie has also planned two open practice sessions at the track on Saturday, February 23 and Saturday, March 2. This is the same location that hosted speedway in the 1980s and 1990s. However, the track has been turned 90 degrees. Wheel 2 Wheel Raceway is the brainchild of former First Division speedway rider John Aden. Aden has been promoting speedway midget races there and welcomed the idea of having speedway return to the race track. The re-opening of Victorville means that Southern California will have four tracks operating in 2002.
For more information regarding Victorville:
Call:(714) 952-8580 or e-mail: ermospeed1

Results from USA vs. The World -> USA vs. The World

Fast Fridays has announced some team information about the Nov 2 meet: USA vs. The World.

The World Team:
Robert Nagy H
Andy Smith GB
Armando Castagna I
Bartek Bardecki PL
Jackheim Kugelmann D
Scott Nicholls GB

Scott Nicholls and Andy Smith both qualified for Speedway's 2002 Grand Prix series.

Fast Fridays is still working on the US team.

AMA National Championship

Summary of results:
National Championship Final
1. Billy Hamill
2. Billy Janniro
3. Ryan Fisher
4. Chris Manchester.

1. Billy Janniro
2. Mike Faria
3. Bart Bast
4. Bobby Hedden

Full report on results page: 2001 AMA Nationals

AMA National Championship Line Up

Auburn, CA - September 21, 2001.

Riders are selected from 3 categories:

AMA European based riders:
   Billy Hamill
   Greg Hancock
   Billy Janniro
   John Cook

Riders (6) who qualified via points at Auburn and Cal Expo:
   Bart Bast
   Bobby Hedden
   Eric Carrillo
   Tommy Hedden
   Mike Faria
   Chad Felicio

Wild Cards (6) Southern California:
   Chris Manchester
   Charles Ermolenko
   Josh Larsen
   Ryan Fisher
   Bobby Schwartz
   Charlie Venegas

Rider numbers are:
    1. Fisher
    2. T. Hedden
    3. Faria
    4. Larsen
    5. Bast
    6. Schwartz
    7. Manchester
    8. Ermolenko
    9. Janniro
   10. Cook
   11. Hancock
   12. Hamill
   13. Venegas
   14. Carrillo
   15. B. Hedden
   16. Felicio

First round reserves:
   Bryan Yarrow
   Chris Kerr

The reserves for rounds 2-5 will be selected from the parallel running Young Guns of Speedway Shoot Out Event.

Fast Fridays will also present the YOUNG GUNS OF SPEEDWAY SHOOT OUT that will include our best young speedway racers.

Line up for this is:
   Bryan Yarrow
   Chris Kerr
   Ivan Sevart
   JJ Martynse

A heat will be run after each National Championship round and riders will score 3,2,1 and 0 for forth.
After 1st round, 1st and 2nd in each heat will be reserve riders for the following National Championship round.

See you all there!

Gary Roberts - groberts@iee.org

January 16, 2002

There is a lot of news to report from Southern California. There is mixed news coming from overseas as the Coventry Bees have extended the welcome mat to one American while escorting another out the door. Last week, Ryan Fisher signed a contract to ride for the Bees in 2002 and will definitely show Britain what the hype has been all about. Not all the news has been good out of Coventry, however, as Colin Pratt had the unenviable task of choosing between his World Champions, Billy Hamill and Greg Hancock, thanks to a new rule limiting each team to two Grand Prix riders. News came this week that it would be Billy Hamill who would remain with Coventry. The late decision will likely leave Greg out of the British League for the first time since 1988. However, he was quoted on his website (www.greghancock.com) that this would leave his calendar open to other meetings, including more in the U.S.


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