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2001 North America Speedway History
Part 2

2001 North America Speedway History - Part 1

Subject: AMA Speedway planning meeting
Date: Tue, 13 Nov 2001 10:36:57 -0800

The following are notes taken at the November 11, 2001 AMA meeting that I attended, as a spectator. They do not reflect minutes to the meeting.  They are notes on subjects that were of interest to me.  Gary Roberts

Fast Fridays, Auburn, CA
AMA sanctions collected were $2500
Good season, sponsorship and attendance were up.
20 events planned next year.

Sideways Saturdays, Sacramento, CA
Major problems with Cal Expo, not going back
Plan to move back to Dixon in 2002 and plan 12 events

Arrowhead Speedway, San Bernardino, CA
Goal to really work on getting a So. Cal. Junior program going
Plan 20 events in 2002

Champion Speedway, Binghamton, NY
Ran 9 events in 2001
Bought Action Park East

Square Deal Riders, NY
4 events in 2001, 6-8 planned next year

Indianapolis Speedway, IN
Have been holding open practices

Review of the rules for 2002:
Referees need latitude.
Long discussion on who pays for ambulance rides, then what AMA insurance covers. More info will be given to riders
Duane Yarrow brought up a question, which I am sure he quickly regretted, on what to do if a scratch race is stopped. Conditions for 1 calling the race, 2 re-running the race, and 3 the level of discretion to be left to the referee. This was debated ad nausium, votes were taken. Since most arguments had been heard, chairman Bill Amick (AMA VP for track racing) postponed further discussion until the rest of the agenda was completed.

2002 Qualification for the 2003 World Championship GP Series:
The World Championship qualifying system has completely changed. There is now no American Final, and no Overseas Final. The much reduced qualification process allows 3 Americans to enter. Invitations to be sent to all European based American riders and all top US resident riders, to see who wants to be considered. But those 3 will join 64 riders who will be competing for 2 places in the 2003 GPs. In the past a dozen or so riders had a crack at getting into the GP via the GP Challenge. Not anymore. Most GP riders are now entered by their sponsoring team, not by qualification process. This may be construed as removing the opportunity for a rider to demonstrate his ability in the qualification process. The other way of looking at it is that riders now have all season to demonstrate their ability to team owners, and the team owner will select the rider(s) they believe can best represent the team. I guess this is the small price to pay, for being involved in what is now a very popular sport in Europe. This is the kind of problem we all dreamed of, 5 years ago.

2002 US National Championship Series:
The AMA is trying to organize a National Series. Some people want a 16 rider series, some want a 20, there are lots of open questions. Qualification for the series will be by points, discussion took place as to whether qualifying points could only be at AMA tracks. For this to proceed, the AMA must have letters of intent, plus deposit and sanction fees from promoters by Nov 26, and for it to happen there must be at least 3 tracks competing.

I believe this is the best way to go. Last year the AMA tried to drive this process through and it failed. This year, they are trying to lead and its up to the tracks to demonstrate their commitment to the Series. I hope it happens.

Junior Speedway:
Currently Northern California has over 30 junior Speedway riders. So. Cal. has half a dozen. Charlie Venegas is very keen to resurrect Junior Speedway in So. Cal. as his key to future success. Charlie is interested in getting the bikes built up and actively marketing the sport in San Bernardino. John Cook is involved.

Discussion on junior speedway bikes. In some areas of Europe, particularly Scandinavia, 80cc seems to be the new weapon of choice.

Alternatively in the UK and Germany, 12-15 year olds are racing 350s and 500s.

I think we are at an important crossroads at the moment. I cant help but think that the route we have taken so far has been correct. The results speak for themselves, Hamill, Hancock, Janniro, Fisher, all rode 250cc 4 strokes. I wonder if the 80cc 2 stroke is the best way to prepare a kid to ride a 500. We are in a place where we could make the wrong decision.

There are a number of benefits of a the 80cc class. The cost of 80cc parts is much less than 250 Weslake parts. New and used 80cc engines are abundantly available. The 80cc route will undoubtedly be a way to bring new riders in, by the bus load, but how will current Speedway track promoters cope with that? The peewee racing at Fast Fridays was so successful that kids only get to ride every other week.

Bill Amick listed classes that could be used by juniors.
8-10 yrs old 60cc
10-12 yrs old 80cc
13-15 yrs old 250cc
14-16 yrs old 500cc

One extremely important fact that Bill stated is that the AMA insurance does NOT cover a kids under 12 years old, riding a 250cc machine. This is something that we definitely need to review, to inform participants and parents about, since our failure to adhere to it leaves us open to all kinds of trouble.

This whole business needs a lot of careful directing, to prevent it becoming over complicated, over expensive, unsafe to kids etc.

Around this time, I had to leave, so did not ascertain the conclusion to this discussion, nor did I catch the answer to Duane's question, if it happened.

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

Date: Fri, 3 Aug 2001

New Division One Rider at Fast Fridays.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

Prepare yourselves for the appearance of a Brand New Division One rider tonight at Fast Fridays!!!

Bartlomiej Bardecki will be making his first US appearance, amply assistance by no less than John Cook as his mechanic.

23 year old Bartlomiej is from Poland and is visiting the US for four weeks and wants to get a few rides in while he is here.

Back home in Poland, this year he has been riding in the top Elite League, having moved up at the end of last season from the Polish Premier League.

His background is VERY impressive.  In 1997 he was European Under 19 Champion, and an Under 21 World Finalist.  Last year he was the fourth highest ranked rider in the Polish Premier League.

I met him on Wednesday night when he and John Cook were setting up his machine for tonight's event.  John has known him a couple of years, from when he rode as reserve on the Polish Elite team that John was riding for.  His English is good, he's a nice guy and he is very fast. The only thing he has no experience of, is riding on small tracks.  His experience has all been on Polish quarter mile tracks. So his first challenge is to master the small track and the close competition.

Don't expect him to come out and win everything on his first appearance.  Most of his Division One top competitors will have upward of a decade more experience on the Auburn track than he has.  But I expect to see him make a lot of progress over the next 4 weeks.

Why is John Cook not racing?  He is saving himself for the Intercontinental Final, in Sweden, the weekend after next.  I say, Good Luck, Cooky!

To me this is another of those little signs I keep getting that American Speedway is seen by people in Europe as something not to be ignored.   If we can send over 3 World Champs in one decade, we must be doing something right over here.  Don't be surprised if you see more European riders coming over here to take a look!

Gary Roberts - groberts@ix.netcom.com


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