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2011 American Team News

Sheffield Tigers v. American Touring Team 10.13.11

From: Steve Graham - stephenagraham@hotmail.com
Sunday, October 14, 2011 8:38 AM

On Thursday, October 13, the American Touring Team faced the powerful Sheffield Tigers at their historic home track, Owlerton Stadium. Sheffield Stadium is billed as "the fastest track in British Speedway," and it did not disappoint. The Americans came into the match out manned, even with the additions of Ryan Fisher and Ricky Wells. Kenny Ingalls was also supposed to go for the ATT but was a little dinged up and, with 3 important matches in Scotland over the weekend, smartly elected to pass on the race.

Sheffield Tigers : 70
1. Shane Parker 3,2',3,3 = 11+1 Paid Maximum
2. Hugh Skidmore 1,3,3,2',2 = 11+1
3. Ricky Ashworth 3,2,3,3 = 11
4. Emilliano Sanchez 2',1',R,3 = 6+2
5. Josh Auty 2',3,2,2' = 9+2
6. Simon Lambert 2',1,1',2' = 6+3
7. Ashley Birks 3,3,2',2',1' = 11+3
8. Chris Thomas 1,1',1 = 3+1
9. Tuff McBride 0,2,0 = 2

U.S.A Team : 44
1. Ryan Fisher 2,3,2,3,R,3 = 13
2. Mikey Buman 0,0,1,0,0 = 1
3. Eddie Castro 0,0,1,0 = 1
4. Kenny Ingalls R/R (RW-1) (RF-2) (AN-0) (MB-0) = 3
5. Ricky Wells 1,1,1,2,1,0 = 6
6. Austin Novratil 1,0,0,6!,1 = 8
7. Michael Raines Fx,0,0,1' = 1+1
8. Rocco Scopellite 3,6!,2' = 11+1 aid Maximum
9. Russell Green 2',0,1 = 3+1

When the end came the Tigers saw off the ATT 70-44. The format was a slight alteration from normal team meeting with each team running 9 riders instead of the usual 7. Chris Thomas and Tuff McBride turned in their American passports for the evening and became members of the Sheffield Tigers.

The team arrived at the track 3 hours early only to find a hideous looking surface that made everyone wonder if there would even be a race. There had been stock car racing on the surface a few days prior with huge holes on the outside line. Add to that it had been raining for the past couple of days and the track was pretty much a muddy mess. The track crew worked hard on the track and, at race time, it still looked unrideable but then, amazingly, after a couple of heats, a gorgeous racetrack emerged from all that muck thus creating a fast and smooth racing surface for the duration of the evening.

The Tigers were led by "The Messiah", Shane Parker, riding his last match as a Tiger. The love of their captain could be felt all through the stadium and he returned the love with a 11+1 from 4 rides. Hugh Skidmore, Ashley Birks and Ricky Ashworth also chipped in 11 each for a well balanced attack that the American were not going to overcome.

The Tigers attack included 13 bonus points with Josh Auty at 9+2, Emilliano Sanchez at 6+2 and Simon Lambert at 6+2. That is some serious team balance.

The Yankee Tigers were Chris Thomas, who looked to be having a blast out there, kicking in a 3+1 and Tuff McBride who also contributed 2.

The American Touring Team was, of course, led by "Flyin" Ryan Fisher who delivered 13 from 6 rides. Ryan really was flying all night and was reaching incredible speeds on the D shaped race track. Fellow Yank, Ricky Wells, had a tougher go than expected with 6 from 6.

Rocco Scopellite had a paid max at 11+1 including a 6 point tactical ride in Heat 8, which is exceptional for this smooth young rider. To keep things in perspective though, his tactical came at the expense of the 2 Yankee Tigers. Michael Raines was his co-rider in that heat and went down briefly but recovered to take a 4th.

Austin Novratil has 8 points on the night with 6 coming in the same manner as Scopellite's. Austin bagged his tactical in Heat 14 where his partner, Rocco Scopellite, showed good riding smarts when he got the hole shot but immediately after coming out of turn 2, started looking for Austin. He trailed Austin going home, doing exactly what a team rider is supposed to do.

Mikey Buman and Eddie Castro both had rough nights with only a point apiece but that wasn't completely surprising considering their roles riding at the 2 and 3 spots. The Team used rider replacement for the missing Kenny Ingalls and collected a total of 3 points from that position, which certainly didn't help the cause.

Michael Raines went down twice, recovering once and ended up with 1+1 from 4 and ever consistent Russell Green has 3 paid 4 from 3 rides.

It was great seeing racing at the track where Americans Shawn and Kelly Moran did much of their business. It his a historical track and certainly didn't disappoint anyone. More than a couple of American riders came off the night saying it was their favorite track thus far...which is a miracle considering what it appeared to be when the Team showed up.

Once again "Sudden" Sam Ermolenko was there to add his support and advice to the team. Sam's support has been so great and so much appreciated. When Sam speaks, these kids actually do listen

Next stop is Leicester for an American style race on Sunday. The team will also be heading to Stoke on Saturday to take in a National League Challenge match between the Stoke Potter and the Birmingham Bulls.


U-21 Young Brits v. American Touring Team 10.11.11

From: Steve Graham - stephenagraham@hotmail.com
Sunday, October 13, 2011 8:38 AM

When the schedule was set for the American Touring Team, the match on Tuesday, October 11, against the U-21 Young Brits at Wolverhampton looked to be the most competitive and it did not disappoint. The final score was Young Brits 46 American Touring Team 44 and it was that close the entire time. There was never more than a 4 point gap the entire meeting.

British U21 : 46
1. James Sarjeant 2,2',3,2,1' = 10+2
2. Ashley Morris 1',3,3,1 = 8+1
3. Jamie Pickard 1',0,1,3 = 5+1
4. Tom Perry 2,2,3,3,2 = 12
5. Richard Franklin 3,1,1,0 = 5
6. Darryl Ritchings 3,0,F,1 = 4
7. Brendan Johnson R,1,F,1 = 2

American Touring Team : 44
1. Kenny Ingalls 3,3,3,3,3 = 15 MAXIMUM
2. Mikey Buman 0,1,2,2' = 5+1
3. Austin Novratil 3,3,2,2,Fx = 10
4. Russell Green 0,2',0,2 = 4+1
5. Eddie Castro 2,0,2,1 = 5
6. Rocco Scopellite 1',1,0,0 = 2+1
7. Michael Raines 2,Fx,1',0 = 3+1

The weather was very questionable prior to the start of the match, with a heavy mist coming down, but when it was time for the tapes to go up, the mist had stopped, the temperature was quite comfortable for racing and the crowd was estimated to be between 1500 and 2000. The Monmore Green faithful have always embraced American riders and tonight was no exception.

The Young Brits were led James Sarjeant who had 10 paid 12 in 5 rides, riding at Number 1 and Tom Perry who collected 12 from 5 riding at the 4 position. "Super Ash" Ashley Morris chipped in 8 paid 9 riding in the difficult Number 2 slot.

The Americans, to no one's surprise, got a perfect 15 from 5 from NoCal Kenny Ingalls, currently of the Workington Comets. It certainly looked like Kenny was all the back from his nasty broken leg and he owned that track winning by nice margins in most of his heats.

Every match always produces a surprise or two from this Touring Team and tonight was no exception. Austin Novratil finally came out of his funk to deliver a sparkling performance by winning 2 heats and coming 2nd in two others. He was nominated for a Heat 15 ride but went down when a throttle malfunction ended his great evening. It was nice to see Austin have such an excellent evening and he was all smiles after the meeting.

Mikey Buman also had bike troubles to begin the evening and had to borrow a bike from Jamie Dixon just to get on the track. After a bad first heat, Mikey got himself sorted out and then got 5 paid 6 in the next three heats riding at Number 2.

Captain "Fast" Eddie Castro managed 5 on the evening followed by Russell Green with a 4 paid 5, Michael Raines with 3 paid 4 and Rocco Scopellite with 2 paid 3.

This was a highly competitive match with the Young Brits featuring 4 Dudley Heathens riding on their home track, 2 Stoke Potters and a Newport Wasp. The crowd was really into the match the entire time and, while much of the racing was processional, there was some good dicing going on with more than a few passes.

Special mention for Michael Raines. Although his score did not reflect it, his gates were solid and he really showed flashes of speed out there on that track. If Michael keeps going along like this, the clock may be running on his days in SoCal.

All in all, it was a great night. The Team ran against what would be considered a good National League club, competed, and was one throttle malfunction away from winning the match. With added support from Sam Ermolenko, Ronnie Correy, Ricky Wells and super supporters Paul and Elsie, the Team couldn't have asked for much more.

There was also a second half of the program and a report on that will be coming soon.

Next stop...Owlerton Stadium, the historical home of the Premier League's second best club this year, the Sheffield Tigers. This match will truly be like grabbing a tiger by the tail with their very strong 1-7 and it being the last race of their beloved captain, Shane Parker.

How much do Sheffield's fans love Shane Parker? His nickname is The Messiah!


Grand Fours Challenge 10.08.11

From: Steve Graham - stephenagraham@hotmail.com
Sunday, October 9, 2011 8:38 AM

The American Touring team took to the track on Saturday, October 8, at the home of the Leicester (pronounced "Lester") Lions for the Grand Fours Challenge. Each team consisted of 5 riders, 4 programmed and 1 in reserve.

The Leicester facility is a brand new track this year and is a beautiful complex. Air fences and slight banking at both ends highlight this 321 meter course. For the fans, full concessions and multiple bars compliment the new, covered grandstand area with ample seating on the front straight and a long covered standing area down the back.

The weather was a pleasant 55 degrees with sprinkles on and off but never really impacting the racing.

The teams competing were the hometown Leicester Lions, a World Select Team, the American Touring Team and the Coventry Bees.

The team rosters and points were as follows:

Leicester Lions 35:

1) Kauko Neiminen (11)
2) Jan Graversen (7)
3) Lliya Bondarenko (7)
4) Magnus Karlsson (10)
5) Chris Widman

World Select 20:

1) Henning Bager (9)
2) Russell Green (3)
3) Jason Garity (3)
4) Jari Markinen (5)
5) Liam Rumsey

American Touring Team 3:

1) Mikey Buman (1)
2) Austin Novratil (1)
3) Eddie Castro (1)
4) Michael Raines (0)
5) Tuff McBride (0)

Coventry Bees 38:

1) Ryan Fisher (11)
2) Nick Morris (9)
3) Josh Auty (8)
4) Rohan Tungate (10)
5) Lee Geary

In a hotly contested contest between the Lions and the Bees, the America Touring Team got a real taste of what the upper level of the British Leagues are like, having to hit the track against a fully loaded Elite league team, the Bees, and the top riders from a Premier League club, the Lions.

The Americans came away with three points but all the boys came home safely and had a good time for the most part. It was unfortunate that Ryan Fisher couldn't make their ATT as he is under contract to the Bees and Ricky Wells and Kenny Ingalls both had previous commitments.

The top 2 scoring Americans, it turns out, were not even on the American team. Ryan Fisher was nearly unbeatable on the evening, bringing home 11 points while leading the Bees to victory while Russell Green tied for third in scoring on the World Select team.

The ATT's result was looking bleak near the end when, in the last round, the guys finally started figuring out a very tricky course. Mikey Buman started the scoring with a hard fought point in Heat 13, with captain Eddie Castro following with a point in Heat 14 and Austin Novratil bringing home a point in Heat 15. Considering the level of the competition, 3 points may not look like much but, in reality, it was earned and earned well.

Special mention goes out to Michael Raines. Although Michael didn't score, it certainly wasn't for lack of effort. He found the air fence twice. The first time he was having the heat of his life in Heat 7. Michael was in second, trailing only Ryan Fisher when, on the final lap, he slipped of the edge in turn 2 and slid out. It was a very impressive heat for the kid and showed that he can really run with some of the top British riders.

The second half of the show featured the Long Eaton Invaders and the American Touring Team members not programmed for the main portion of the show.

The riders ran 6 heats with all riders getting 3 rides each.

The teams and scores were as follows:

Long Eaton Invaders (16)

1) Chris Widman (7)
2) Liam Rumsey (3)
3) Jamie Dixon (1)
4) Lee Geary (5)

American Touring Team (20):

1) Russell Green (7)
2) Chris Thomas (2)
3) Rocco Scopellite (9)
4) Tuff McBride (2)

The second half portion of the program produced quite a different result from the first half of the program. Rocco Scopellite led the team with a perfect 9 while showing a very smooth and accurate riding style. Russell Green followed with 8, even grabbing 2 points in his final run despite going down. In England, when a rider goes down he generally stays there...not Russell. His California training kicked in and he managed 2 points from getting back up and finishing. Chris Thomas of Ohio had the game-changer with a huge 2 points in Heat 5. Without that pair of points, they would have been looking at a draw but instead, the Americans prevailed by 4 points. Tuff McBride also contributed 2 points while totally blowing his motor in his last heat.

The ATT will be return to this very same track next Sunday for some American style speedway.

The meeting scheduled for this Sunday, October 9, at Buxton has been canceled due to a flooded track.


American Touring Team v. King's Lynn Stars Select

From: Steve Graham - stephenagraham@hotmail.com
Friday, October 7, 2011

Opening night for the American Touring Team saw the team visiting the Norfolk Arena to take on the King's Lynn Stars Select Team. The Touring Team was permitted a private practice prior to the event, which was conducted from 1:30 to 2:30, and went quite smoothly with all team members looking very good on the 342m circuit.

The meeting went off at, at 7:30.

The King's Lynn Stars Select:

1. Kyle Hughes (0)
2. Tom Armstrong (9)
3. Scott Campos (8)
4. James Cockle (6)
5. Lewis Kerr (11)
6. Sam Woods (3)
7. Tom Stokes (8)

1. Mikey Buman (1)
2. Tuff McBride (1)
3. Eddie Castro (13)
4. Russell Green (3)
5. Austin Novratil (2)
6. Rocco Scopellite (5)
7. Michael Raines (10)
8. Chris Thomas (1)

Full scoring can be found on the speedway updates site.

The high points of the night were Eddie Castro collecting 13 points, including a big tactical ride in Heat 12, and Michael Raines picking up 10 points in 5 rides with to wins in his first 2 heats. Rocco Scopellite grabbed a needed win in Heat 6 with a great holeshot and led start to finish.

The Team was battered a bit last night with Mikey Buman twice going down hard, once in heat 1 and again Heat 11, Austin Novratil looping it at the line in Heat 4, Rocco Scopellite finding the airfence in Heat 2 and then hitting the track hard in Heat 8. There will be some sore riders today when the Team visits Redcar.

Chris Thomas, the man from Ohio, looked quite good with 1 from 2 and Russell Green was very steady picking up 3 from 3 with a couple of bonus points. Tuff McBride also showed flashes of brilliance, despite have a bike that wasn't running great.

The rain threatened most of the evening and then really started coming down in Heat 12. Heat 13 was run under terrible conditions with the meeting abandoned immediately after that.

The Touring Team found added support in the pits with ex-world champ Sam Ermolenko and current Plymouth Devil and Wolverhampton Wolf, Ricky Wells. Both were providing some personal instruction and tips to the boys which showed on the track.

The real story of the evening for the Team though was Michael Raines, who had some incredible gates and impressed everyone with 3 heat wins.

All-in-all the Team had a great time considering jet lag and this being the first meeting on totally unfamiliar ground.

Redcar tomorrow (Thursday) when the Team meets up with a serious Premier League team led by an ex-world champion on a very unique track. Ryan Fisher, Ricky Wells and Kenny Ingalls will be joining the team for tomorrow night's contest.

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