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2002 Costa Mesa Speedway Race Results


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Costa Mesa Speedway
Orange County Fairgrounds - Costa Mesa, CA


Freestyle Motorcycle Jumping
Costa Mesa Speedway
September 28, 2002
By: Ryan Evans


Current National Champion Chris Manchester rode a flawless race to win the Scratch Main in front of a huge crowd at Costa Mesa on Saturday night.

Manchester drew the pole for the main event, next to him in gate two was Gary Hicks, Dukie Ermolenko was in gate three, Josh Larsen was in gate four, and "Flyin" Mike Faria was lined up on the outside. Manchester, Hicks, and Larsen led the charge into turn one, but Manchester was on the precious inside groove and he pulled into the lead on the back straight while Hicks secured second ahead of Larsen. Manchester cruised the rest of the way to earn his second Costa Mesa Scratch Main of the season. Hicks finished second, Larsen was third, Faria finished fourth, and Ermolenko was fifth.

The field for the Handicap Main was made up of an atypical number of low-yardage riders. Four riders lined up on the 20 yard line while two more were lined up on the 30. Randy DiFrancesco beat the other three riders on the front line into turn one and took the lead. Behind him, John Cook, making his first appearance at Costa Mesa in 2002, was trying to make the outside work with the assistance of a 22" rear wheel. Cook had made it work in his heat and semi en route to easy victories in those two races. The main event was a different story, however, as Cook slowly drifted backward throughout the race as the outside line had worn thin by the end of the night. At the front, DiFrancesco was hooked up on the pole and simply pulled away from the field. His eight solid laps carried him to his second main event victory of the year. Andy Northrup finished second, Eddie Castro was third, Josh Larsen was fourth, and Bobby Krips finished fifth.

The first rider eliminated from the Denim Doctor Challenge was Northrup and he was followed by DiFrancesco after a close battle with Cook. Cook was the next rider eliminated and he thrilled the crowd when he rode up the steep side and over the top of the landing ramp that had built for the Freestyle Jumpers. Hicks and Ermolenko were the last two riders remaining and it was Hicks who jumped into the lead and held on to win.

The first attempt to start the Support Main Event had an abrupt and scary ending in turn one. Hideaki Ota and John Stunkard bumped each other and the contact sent Stunkard headed straight toward the wall. Luckily, Stunkard was able to separate from his machine before it made a hard impact which considerably shortened its wheelbase. Stunkard got up and was able to restart, but he would start from the penalty line.

On the second try, last week's winner, Rod Lenz, jumped into the lead from the pole starting position, but he was chased by Rudy Laurer. Laurer stayed within striking distance of Lenz, but couldn't get by as Lenz took the win for the second week in a row. Ota finished third, Malcolm Roe was fourth, and Stunkard was fifth.

DeWayne Stark held the lead at the start of the Support B Main Event. His lead didn't last long as Shane Kump went by on the inside coming out of turn four. Tom Rossano fought through traffic and closed in on Kump. Kump hung on, however, to earn his first main event victory of the year. Stark was third, Carl Gazafy finished fourth, Doug Lupo was fifth, and Brent Smith finished sixth.

Saturday night brought two new faces to the world famous bullring. Merle Craven flew in from New York to race. Craven won his Support Heat which transferred him into First Division for the evening. He looked very smooth and led his Handicap Heat for a couple laps before drifting wide and allowing the pack to go by on the inside. In his Scratch Heat he found some grip exiting turn two and took a soil sample of the race track. Craven said that he enjoyed the experience and hoped to make another trip next year.

The other new face was 1995 Junior National Champion Jimmy Fishback, son of the legendary Jim "The Animal" Fishback. Fishback hadn't raced speedway in six years and despite racing in the past, he had never raced at Costa Mesa before. He looked very smooth in winning his Support Heat and led his Handicap Heat before eventually finishing out of a transfer position. Fishback stated that he will definitely be racing speedway in 2003. His return provides Southern California with another talented young rider, which is a much-needed commodity.
Saturday provided the entertaining Freestyle Jumpers who attracted another large crowd to the track. They performed a wide variety of jumps which brought loud cheers from the crowd. This Saturday is the Warren Russell Cup and it is the final regular evening on the schedule at Costa Mesa. The following Saturday is the U.S. National Championship.


RESULTS
 
Support B Consolation
181 - Michael Novratil    	10
212 - Steve Dziadus             10
102 - Jim Lavender               0
197 - Kim Stevens                0
107 - Monte McKeon              10
169 - Dan Wensloff               0

Support B Main Event
228 - Shane Kump                 0
296 - Tom Rossano               10
244 - DeWayne Stark              0
176 - Carl Gazafy               10
126 - Doug Lupo                  0
103 - Brent Smith               10

Support Consolation	(restarted)
178 - Eloy Medellin              0
214 - Steve Murray              10
174 - Tomasz Hampel             10
106 - Robert Fiesler             0
133 - Craig Collier             10
269 - Ed Martinez                0
163 - Rohn Zellner              10   (non starter - restart)

Support Last Chance      (restarted)
196 - Rod Lenz
338 - Dave Delbridge
165 - Randy Kreps
148 - Chris Metoyer

Support Main Event	(restarted)
196 - Rod Lenz
182 - Rudy Laurer
240 - Hideaki Ota
180 - Malcolm Roe
249 - John Stunkard  (penalty line)

Denim Doctor Challenge
  3 - Gary Hicks
 15 - Dukie Ermolenko
 94 - John Cook
 12 - Randy DiFrancesco
166 - Andy Northrup

Handicap Main Event
 12 - Randy DiFrancesco       	20
166 - Andy Northrup             30
 14 - Eddie Castro              40
  2 - Josh Larsen               50
 24 - Bobby Krips               20
139 - Shaun Harmatiuk           20
 94 - John Cook                 30
 89 - Danny Perkins             20

Last Chance
 15 - Dukie Ermolenko
166 - Andy Northrup
 11 - Bobby Schwartz
  6 - Shawn McConnell

Scratch Main Event
  1 - Chris Manchester
  3 - Gary Hicks
  2 - Josh Larsen
  9 - Mike Faria
 15 - Dukie Ermolenko

 

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