10 West Harbor Blvd.
Ventura, CA 93001
March 5, 2016 - Ventura Raceway
From Chris Ackerman
Photos: Dorcey Wingo
Results from Ventura Raceway and are Continued Below...
Ventura Race Report
By “Crazy” Chris Ackerman
March 5, 2016 – Ventura Speedway Season Opener Last night was the Season Opener at Ventura Raceway, featuring Speedway with Division 1, Support, Vintage, 150cc and Sidecars. Also featured on the program was Flat track and Quad racing.
It was a touch and go situation with an incoming storm threatening the whole event day. Even the morning of the race, there was talk of a cancellation but after much discussion and phone calls back and forth, Ventura raceway forged ahead.
As storm clouds were looming overhead, dropping light rain and mist, the racers headed out onto the track.
In Round One, Support started the show, with #192 “The Machine” Mitch Pierson took the checkered, with #163 “Rowdy Ron Davis and #299 “The Captain” Cameron Beck finishing 2nd and 3rd. Also featured in the Support class were #202 Chet Kohler, #109 Don Nemarnik, and #351 Pam “Pinky” Bennett.
Next up was the Vintage Class, with #240 Dan Waller, owner of Precision Motorcycle Service winning the heat, #55 Ron Brankov, riding a 1978 Twin Cam taking 2nd, and #247 “Old Man” Pat Smith, riding a 1970 2 Valve, took third. Also scheduled in this heat was #180 Malcolm Roe, on a 1973 2-Valve, but had bike issues immediately and was then out for the night. #68 Paul Herman, on a 1995 Jawa was also on the card, but failed to make it to the track on time. We will hear more about Paul later.
Pro Speedway was up next, with 6 time AMA USA National Champion, 5 Time US National Champion and 4 Time California State Champion, Billy “The Kid” Janniro wowing the crowd in Ventura, 2014 Long Track National Champ Austin, “On the Throttle” Novratil, #17 Robbie Sauer, coming back to Ventura with a great attitude, and finally the return of the legendary “Fast” Eddie Castro! As you know Eddie was forced into retirement last year due to cancer, but was recently given a clean bill, as the cancer is now in remission made his triumphant return to Ventura last night. The fans were blown away by the speed of these riders, and finishing order became Janniro, Novratil, Castro and Sauer. Next D1 heat featured the 2015 US National Champion Aaron Fox, Kurtis Hamill, Lucas Oil Team member Gage Geist and David Clark. In this heat Fox took the checkered, Gage Geist finishing 2nd and Kurtis Hamill taking the 3rd place finish, although he did a classic “baseball slide” on his bike, due to the weather and its effect on the track.
Next up, we went on the inner track to see our 150cc riders of #33 “Gorgeous Gavin Geist and #419 “The Shocker” Dakota Shockley. In round 1, Dakota, from Team Motorsport Junkies, took the win.
Finally, we saw our first hear of Extreme Sidecars. the team of #74 James “Smiley” Kinne and Dana Catone took the win, 2nd went to #12 of Charlie Davis and Ashley Gibbons and 3rd went to team #33 of Rick Garcia and Adam Duckett. The SuperBeast #14 of Jeff Rowe and Matt Davis were also on the track, but had bike issues, and could not finish the race.
In Round 2, Vintage came out first, where we finally got to see #68 Paul Herman come out, and blew away the competition. Next up were Sidecars, where the SuperBeast was back and took the win. In the Support heat, “the Machine Mitch Pierson went two for two and got another victory under his belt. Next up was another D1 heat, where we got our first view of #273 Dryden Gayle, but Janniro took the win again, as well in the next heat Aaron Fox took the checkered flag. In a bit on controversy, Austin Novratil touched the tapes and was excluded, instead of a penalty line infraction. The inner track was set up once again for the 150cc battle between Gavin Geist and Dakota Shockley, and in this heat, it was the Gorgeous one, Gavin Geist to took the win. Finishing off Round 2 was a return of the Vintage Class, where #55 Ron Brankov took the win and we got our first glimpse of #412 Bradley Rochlitzer, riding a 1976 - 890 2-valve, taking 2nd and #68 Paul Herman rounding out the heat.
After this the weather started to get a bit dicey, so Pit Steward Kevin Fife and made the decision, along with input from other riders and parents to make Round 3 our Main event round. Safety is always number one, so any riders who wanted to finish then were excused, and those that wanted to continue got ready. Some riders were having a lot of trouble seeing out of their goggles, and there were a lot of “Baseball slides” going on, but luckily there were no injuries.
Due to safety, it was decided to not have the 150’s go out and since each young man won a heat, a coin was flipped and 1st place of the night was awarded to #33 “Gorgeous” Gavin Geist and 2nd went to #419 “The Shocker” Dakota Shockley.
The Vintage main finishing order went to #68 Paul Herman, #240 Dan Waller and #55 Ron Brankov. Hopes were high to see Mitch Pierson to have a perfect night in Support, but do to the track getting worse, took a slide, along with #299 “The Captain” Cameron Beck, which made the win to “The Rowdy one” Ron Davis, who, the whole night did a great job of fast and hard racing. A well deserved win!
Sidecars were a non finisher with 4 teams out of the gate and right out of turn 1 there was a 3-way collision of #14, #33 and #12, with only team #74 of Kinne and Catone coming out unscathed.
Finally in our D1 Main, it was a battle to perfect scores for Janniro and Fox, but unfortunately Fox went down and was out. Janniro took the main, followed the incredible fast racing of Austin Novratil , Gage Geist and Fast Eddie Castro to round out the evening.
Special thanks goes out to Pit Steward Kevin “Rip” Fife for working closely before and during show time, to make sure all riders were informed and in their places, Jackie Stewart for her score-keeping duties, Danny Hull for another night in the striped shirt and Roger Herrara for handling safety and working with the Ventura staff out on the track. Thank you to all of the riders and parent sin the pit area, for working together and having great attitudes and keeping safety #1 in the face of rain and cold.
Our next visit to Ventura will be on Saturday June 18th a night where Costa Mesa is now dark, and the next weekend of June 25th will be the AMA National Series Round 2.. the Commotion by the Ocean 2016!
Division 1 Main Event
1 Billy Janniro
27 Austin Novratil
10 Gage Geist
14 Eddie Castro
46 Aaron Fox (non starter)
Division 1 Heat Points – Janniro 6, Fox 6, Castro 3, Novratil 2, Geist 2, Robbie Sauer 2, Kurtis Hamill 2, Dryden Gayle 1, David Clark 0.
“Crazy” Chris Ackerman - Assistant Race Director / Announcer