10 West Harbor Blvd.
Ventura, CA 93001
AMA Speedway National Championship Series Round 1
June 17, 2017 - Ventura Raceway
From Steve Evans
Results are Continued below.
BECKER SENDS AN AMBITIOUS STATEMENT BY WINNING AMA NATIONAL ROUND 1 AT VENTURA
Luke Becker once more made a huge statement for his bright future in speedway by winning Round 1 of the 2017 AMA National Championship at Ventura, California on 17 June.
Becker entered the Main event with the number one gate choice, having joint top scored in the heats with Billy Janniro, who was in turn aiming for his fifth straight Ventura win. Both won their semis but Becker got the nod on gate choice after defeating Janniro in heat 7. Becker picked the much favored outside gate, which won 14 of the 23 races on the night. Janniro took gate 3, Max Ruml 2 and the evergreen Eddie Castro 1. Becker made an electrifying start and roared into the lead, but Janniro responded with a deep dive into turn 3 to attempt a sensational sweep to the front. Janniro came unstuck and slid off the bike, causing the race to be stopped and an exclusion for the defending champ, ending his brave bid for five in a row at the seaside track. The re run once more saw Becker make a fast start with Max Ruml behind and Castro in third. The field got spread and Becker raced home to a hugely popular win on the fast European sized track, well timed with his imminent departure to the UK to partake in Team USA's 2017 World Cup campaign.
For the fifth straight year the Speedway Grand Prix race format was in use as 16 riders duked it out through 20 heats to get to the semi finals. Heat 1 saw Gage Geist get the start with one of his famous fast gates. Dillon Ruml overhauled him for the lead and then Becker in turn passed his Team USA team mate Ruml and win, to set the flavor for the night. Austin Novratil led home Fox in heat two. Heat three saw the first shocker of the night; Eddie Castro got a terrific start with Gino Manzares second, Broc Nicol third and Janniro a stunning last out of turn 1. Janniro worked industriously to first pick off Fox and then get by Manzares on the last lap for second place, all while the 58 year old cancer surviving local hero Castro won with relative ease. Ryan Fisher in his first US appearance since the 2013 Monster World Invitational immediately showed his cards by leading home Max Ruml in heat 4.
Manzares opened up round 2 with a win over Dillon Ruml and Fox in heat 5. Heat 6 was simply a mind blowing stunner. Novratil made the start from Nicol with Max Ruml third. Ruml looked out of contention before finding fast outside drive and blasting by both of his rivals in the space of half a lap from what looked like an impossible margin. Becker won heat 7 from his mentor Janniro with the defending champion finally looking mortal at Ventura and on the ropes. Fisher went two for two and joined Becker as unbeaten with a win over Castro in heat 8.
Heat 9 was billed an epic with Janniro, Fisher, Novratil and the younger Ruml all drawn together. Janniro immediately looked like himself again with a dominant win, Dillon Ruml putting in another stellar ride ahead of his World Cup debut in two weeks by keeping Fisher in third. US National Champion Aaron Fox got his night going better by beating Castro in heat 10. Heat 11 was another epic in the making, Max Ruml getting a superb start and going flag to flag for the win, meantime Becker had to work hard to steal second from Manzares. Broc Nicol's night came to life after a slow start with a win in heat 12 over Russell Green,
Dillon Ruml led home brother Max in heat 13, their respective scores of 9 and 10 already assuring them of semi final places. Janniro won heat 14 over Robbie Sauer and Hayley Perrault who was having another landmark night in her rising career with a National Championship debut. Becker got back to winning ways in heat 15, coming from third to defeat Fox and Nicol, who later fell whilst Fisher was third place for the second heat in a row. Manzares himself made up for a slow start in heat 16 by picking off Geist and Dan Faria to pick up a much needed win.
The final round saw Nicol record his second win of the night over Dillon Ruml, but his 7 point haul would be an agonizing one point miss on the semi finals. Fisher was back to winning ways in heat 18 from Manzares. Novratil scored a much needed win in heat 19 over Becker to secure the last semi final spot. The spot was earned over Fox on count back (most wins) after a heat 20 last place from the US Champ. Janniro won heat 20 over Max Ruml and Geist, moving him onto 13 points with Becker.
Semi final one featured Becker, Fisher, Manzares and Castro. Becker launched into the lead from Fisher and Manzares but on turn 3 Fisher lost control of the bike and was launched off at speed. Meantime, Fishers wayward bike bounced into the path of Manzares who had no chance to lay down. Manzares was on the deck for a few minutes but got up for the re run, which the unhurt Fisher was excluded from. The re run saw Becker win over Castro from Manzares, who's borrowed equipment and bruised body meant third place and an unlucky end to the night.
Semi final two saw Janniro against both Rumls and Novratil. Janniro won his fourth straight ride with Max Ruml claiming the other main event spot in a close battle with his brother.
Becker leads the standings on 18, three ahead of Janniro and Max Ruml.
Aside from the AMA National Round, four other divisions were included in the show. The Support Class saw William McCloskey win both of his heats with Hayley Perrault and Mike Lane taking the others. Mike Miller won the LCQ to join the above three in the Main. McCloskey looked like to be on course for a perfect night but Perrault had other ideas, bringing the crowd to its feet with a confident pass for the win. Dan Waller won all three Vintage races including the Main, closest competition was from returnee Ken Thiebaud. Glenn Geist beat Harley Fisher an a 150 exhibition match race.
The Sidecars proved popular as ever. Robert and Lori Curry won heat 1 with Joe Jones and Tom Summers taking the next two. Bryan Motis and Johnny Bach won the Last Chance. The final was a true storybook ending. Curry and Curry, who were in majestic form, launched into the lead but were hotly pursued by Jones and Summers. After several attempts a last lap outside back straight sweep saw the #1 team fly into a lead they held to the flag. This was a very emotional win for Jones and Summers after Summers suffered serious injuries at this race last year.
With a good sized crowd on hand, the Ventura AMA Round is now in its fifth year. Given the enthusiasm and support from promoter Jim Naylor and operations manager Cliff Morgan, this race is here to stay. Grand Marshall was RC Jones who was acknowledged for his contributions to American Speedway for over 2 decades on the www.speedwaybikes.com website.
Next bike action at Ventura is this Saturday, 25 June featuring Speedway, Flat Track and Sidecars. Meantime, the AMA National Championship Series moves 100 miles up the 101 Freeway to Santa Maria Raceway on July 29th for the first ever round at the fabulous Central California facility. A second big track round followed by two short track races in Industry and Auburn will truly crown an all round champion this year!
AMA National Speedway Championship Series Round 1;
1st Luke Becker – GM -(3 3 2 3 2 3 3) 19
2nd Max Ruml – GM - (2 3 3 2 2 2 2) 16
3rd Eddie Castro – Jawa -(3 2 2 1 1 2 1) 12
4th Billy Janniro – Jawa- (2 2 3 3 3 3 Fx) 16
5th Dillon Ruml –Jawa - (2 2 2 3 2 1) 12
6th Gino Manzares – Jawa - (1 3 1 3 2 1) 11
7th Ryan Fisher – GM - (3 3 1 1 3 Fx) 11
8th Austin Novratil – GM -(3 2 R 0 3 0) 8
9th Aaron Fox – GM - (2 1 3 2 0) 8
10th Broc Nicol – GM - (0 1 3 F 3) 7
11th Gage Geist – Jawa- (1 1 1 2 1) 6
12th Russell Green - Jawa- (1 1 2 0 1) 5
13th Dan Faria – Jawa - (1 0 1 1 1) 4
14th Robbie Sauer – Jawa - (0 0 0 2 0) 2
15th Hayley Perrault – GM - (0 0 0 1 0) 1
16th Bobby Schwartz – Jawa - (0 0 0 0 0) 0
170 Hayley Perrault
150n William McCloskey
141 Mike Lane
323 Mike Miller
323 Mike Miller
294 Peter Pecorilla
159 Kevin Fiore
171 Kenny Hansen (non starter)
240 Dan Waller
63 Ken Thiebaud
27 Bob Waller
109 Don Nemarnik
2 Bryan Motis / Johnny Bach
64 Dillon Osborne / Blake Kroncite
44 Jeff Medberry / Niki Davis
1 Joe Jones / Tom Summers
31n Robert Curry / Laurie Curry
2 Bryan Motis / Johnny Bach
64 Dillon Osborne /Blake Kroncite
1. Luke Becker
2. Max Ruml
3. Eddie Castro
4. Billy Janniro (Fx)
Semi Final 1
1. Luke Becker
2. Eddie Castro
3. Gino Manzares
4. Ryan Fisher (Fx)
Semi Final 2
1. Billy Janniro
2. Max Ruml
3. Dillon Ruml
4. Austin Novratil