Costa Mesa Speedway
Orange County Fairgrounds - Costa Mesa, CA
2000 Olympique of Speedway
Costa Mesa Speedway
May 20, 2000
From Ryan Evans
Charlie "The Edge" Venegas made a beautiful trap from gate five and took the
victory in the 2000 Olympique of Speedway at Costa Mesa.
Venegas was first out of the gate and used his momentum from the outside to
slam the door on the rest of the field. Pole-sitter "Rad" Brad Oxley also
made a good start, but Venegas was first to turn one and led at the
completion of lap one. Oxley tried in vain to catch Venegas, but "The Edge"
was too strong and stretched his lead all the way to the checkered flag.
Oxley finished second, Randy DiFrancesco was third, Andy Northrup was fourth,
and Chris Manchester was fifth.
The format used was similar to that of the Olympique at Wolverhampton.
Twenty riders competing in three rounds of five-man heats. First place
earned three points, second place earned two points, third place earned one
point, and fourth and fifth place each earned zero points. The first round
was strictly scratch racing. First and second round winners were then
handicapped 30 yards in the following round, second place finishers were
handicapped 20 yards, third place finishers were handicapped 10 yards, and
fourth and fifth place finishers started at the tapes. The top eight point
scorers from the qualifying rounds were then placed in one of two four-man
scratch semis. The format from that point reverted to the regular format of
scratch racing at Costa Mesa with the top two from each semi transferring to
the main event and third and fourth transferring to the Last Chance
Qualifier. The format provided some very interesting and exciting races with
some surprise winners in the qualifying rounds.
At the conclusion of the qualifying rounds a three-man runoff between
Venegas, Dukie Ermolenko, and 16 year old Ryan Fisher to determine the last
two spots in the semis. Venegas gave the crowd a preview of things to come
with a great start and an easy victory to book his place in the semis.
Fisher and Ermolenko battled with Fisher coming out ahead of the former
British League rider to earn the last spot in the semis.
The first semi took three attempts to complete as on the first attempt
DiFrancesco took Fisher down and forced the first restart with DiFrancesco
being penalized 20 yards. On the second attempt, Fisher went down forcing
DiFrancesco to lay his bike down. Fisher was also penalized 20 yards. Oxley
and Manchester, both all but guaranteed spots in the main, finished first and
second, respectively, sending Fisher and DiFrancesco to the Last Chance
Qualifier, but not after a great battle. Manchester got the gate and led for
two laps with Oxley on his back tire. Oxley's constant pressure forced
Manchester wide and the defending National Champion was able to take the lead
and he held it to the finish.
Venegas trapped from the outside in the second semi and ran away from the
field as he and Northrup qualified for the main as Shawn McConnell pulled up
after a near-collision with Northrup and Bobby Schwartz experienced bike
In the Last Chance Qualifier, Schwartz, borrowing a bike from Johnny Walker,
made the start and led for a lap and half. However, the unfamiliarity with
his borrowed machinery proved to be costly as he drifted wide and DiFrancesco
was able to pass him and take the last spot in the main.
Support racing used a scratch format and veteran rider Bentley Barrett showed
off his gating ability by getting a great start and running away with the
Support Main. The first attempt didn't get very far as Brad Sauer looped at
the line and was down for several minutes. Fortunately, he was unhurt and
able to compete in the restart. Barrett covered the field going into the
first turn and left the rest to battle for second. Kitt Nay won the battle
of minor placing's by finishing second, Sauer was third, and Mark Hitchcock was fourth.
In the Support B Main, Chad Newlee fought his way to the front in quick
fashion and looked to be assured of a second straight main event victory.
However, Newlee went down in turn three and Brent Smith assumed the lead.
Smith held on the rest of the way to take his first main event of the season.
Tom Collier finished second and Eloy Medellin finished third.
The evening also brought the return of former World Finalist and two-time US
Junior National Champion Josh Larsen to action. Larsen suffered through a
dismal night as he had trouble readjusting to the tight Costa Mesa oval.
Larsen went down in his first heat and was excluded, won his second race, and
fell twice during his third race.
QUALIFYING ROUND SCORING
1 2 3 T
1 - Brad Oxley 2 2 3 7
4 - Josh Larsen Fx 3 F 3
6 - Shawn McConnell 3 o 3 6
8 - Gary Ackroyd 1 1 1 3
11 - Bobby Schwartz 3 E 3 6
12 - Randy DiFrancesco 2 2 2 6
14 - Eddie Castro 2 0 2 4
15 - Dukie Ermolenko 1 1 3 5
16 - Charlie Cooley 0 3 0 3
23 - Robbie Sauer 0 R 0 0
36 - Ryan Fisher 3 1 1 5
43 - Charlie Venegas 1 2 2 5
47 - Johnny Walker N o R 0
56 - Jim Estes 1 2 1 4
57 - Brian Thompson 0 0 o 0
119 - Brad Sauer (R) o - - 0
130 - Chris Manchester 3 1 2 6
189 - Danny Perkins o 0 N 0
223 - Mark Adams 0 3 0 3
230 - Doug Greyson o 0 o 0
Note: 0=4th place finish; o=5th place finish
Note: Number following name indicates designated handicap for that round.
1: Fisher, DiFrancesco, Venegas, Adams, Greyson
2: Schwartz, Northrup, Estes, Thompson, Walker (Non-Starter)
3: Manchester, Oxley, Ermolenko, Cooley, Perkins
4: (restarted twice) McConnell, Castro, Ackroyd, R.Sauer, B.Sauer, Larsen (Fell, Ex)
9: Larsen-0, Venegas-10, Manchester-30, Castro-20 (penalty line), Walker-0
10: Cooley-0, DiFrancesco-20, Ackroyd-10, Greyson-0, Schwartz-30 (Eng. Failure)
11: Northrup-20, Oxley-20, Fisher-30, Thompson-0, R.Sauer-0 (retired)
12: Adams-0, Estes-10, Ermolenko-10, Perkins-0, McConnell-30
17: Ermolenko-10, Venegas-20, Ackroyd-10, R.Sauer, Greyson
18: Schwartz-0, Castro-0, Fisher-10, Adams-30, Thompson-0
19: Oxley-20, DiFrancesco-20, Estes-20 (penalty line), Walker (retired), Perkins (NS)
20: (restart) McConnell-0, Manchester-10, Northrup-10, Cooley-30, Larsen-30 (fell)
Runoff: Venegas, Fisher, Ermolenko
Semi-Final #1 (restarted twice) Semi-Final #2
1 - Brad Oxley 43 - Charlie Venegas
130 - Chris Manchester 166 - Andy Northrup
36 - Ryan Fisher (penalty line) 6 - Shawn McConnell (retired)
12 - Randy DiFrancesco (penalty line) 11 - Bobby Schwartz (engine failure)
Last Chance Qualifier
12 - Randy DiFrancesco
6 - Shawn McConnell
36 - Ryan Fisher
11 - Bobby Schwartz
Olympique Main Event
43 - Charlie Venegas
1 - Brad Oxley
12 - Randy DiFrancesco
166 - Andy Northrup
130 - Chris Manchester
Support Consolation (restart) Support Main (restart)
300 - Bentley Barrett 19 - Richard Jones
131 - David Lynch 216 - Kitt Nay
114 - Paul Hitchcock 119 - Brad Sauer
321 - Billy Lyons 177 - Mark Hitchcock
Support B Consolation Support B Main
125 - Johnny Lupo 20 103 - Brent Smith 20
143n - Kevin Fereira 10 141 - Tom Collier 20
317 - Craig Mumma 20 178 - Eloy Medellin 10
165 - Randy Kreps 20 123 - Chad Newlee 20
196 - Rod Lenz 10 (fell) 147 - Winston Williams 20
148 - Chris Metoyer 10 (non-starter) 269 - Ed Martinez 10