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Costa Mesa Speedway
Orange County Fairgrounds - Costa Mesa, CA

2000 Costa Mesa
Costa Mesa Speedway
August 19, 2000
From Ryan Evans

Ryan Fisher Wins The Handicap and Gary Hicks Takes The Main Event!

Gary Hicks showed that he has regained his early season form by winning the Scratch Main in front of a near-capacity crowd on a controversial night at Costa Mesa. Shawn McConnell, Bobby Schwartz, and Hicks were lined up in gates one through three. Schwartz was first from the tapes but McConnell made contact with him sending him wide into turn one. McConnell led exiting turn two with Hicks giving chase. Hicks put a wheel under McConnell entering turn three and gently nudged him aside and assumed the lead. McConnell quickly fell off the pace as Dukie Ermolenko assumed second and Schwartz was third. Ermolenko tried to catch Hicks but it was to no avail as Hicks took his third Scratch Main of the year and his first since injuring himself in May. Hicks missed several weeks of competition due to broken ribs and a broken collarbone suffered in a crash in May. His road to recovery was lengthened during a freak incident in which he injured his foot at Ventura. He has steadily gotten himself back into racing condition and he proved it by winning the Handicap Main last week and the Scratch Main this week.

In the Handicap Main "Dazzling" Danny Perkins led from the 20 yard line but was quickly put in the cross hairs of 16 year old Ryan Fisher. The former three-time Junior National Champion quickly closed the gap between himself and Perkins. At the close of lap two the young star took control and quickly made it a race for second place. Hicks was able to get into second on the third lap but Fisher's lead was insurmountable. Fisher cruised to his first Southern California main event win of the year followed by Hicks. Eddie Castro finished third, Dukie Ermolenko was fourth, and Andy Northrup was fifth.

Former Southern California rider John DeFries returned from Utah to claim his second Support Main of the year. Pat Dwyer took the lead from the tapes as DeFries and Bentley Barrett quickly gave chase. DeFries relieved Dwyer of the lead on lap two and was pursued by Barrett. DeFries made his trip worth it by holding off Barrett for the victory, Shaun Harmatiuk was third, and Dwyer finished fourth.

In the Support B Main, Randy Kreps led from start to finish to earn his first main event win of his career. John Stunkard finished second, Philip Williams was third, and Northern California rider Kevin Fereira was fourth. The most memorable moment of the evening was an incident involving former National Champion Chris Manchester. In his Scratch Heat, he and Gary Hicks came together in turn one and forced a restart. Hicks was penalized 20 yards as the cause and after an extended period of time, Manchester took his place at the tapes. He was then informed that he was being penalized 20 yards for exceeding the two-minute limit. Manchester pleaded his case and, upon realizing he wasn't going to persuade the referee to change his mind, rode through the tapes and circled the track before taking his position at the 20 yard line. He was then informed that he was excluded for his method of protest. This prompted Manchester to ride through the tapes again on his way to the pits.

Just when all seemed to be calm, Manchester emerged from the pits and ran across the track to plead his case. He was then blind sided by a member of the infield crew prompting a wild scene in which several more infield crew members, track officials, and even Manchester's father and his girlfriend became involved.

When all had calmed down, Manchester, his father, and his girlfriend were escorted from the track. Needless to say, Manchester took no part in the Handicap Main, for which he had already qualified for. It was an unfortunate incident for any rider, especially one of Manchester's caliber, to be involved in. Hopefully, it will not leave a black eye on the sport, although judging by the crowd reaction it may very well sell more tickets as the crowd seemed thoroughly entertained by the whole matter. We'll have to see what kind of penalty or fine will be levied against Manchester.

Next week is the annual Dan Nay Night. Dan Nay is a very dedicated fan who pays tribute to the riders one evening each year by paying every heat winner $100 out of his own pocket in addition to the purse provided by the promoter.


Support B Consolation
211 - Doug Lupo     20
148 - Chris Metoyer 20
174 - Tomasz Hampel 10
168 - Howard Larson 20 (fell)
178 - Eloy Medellin 20 (penalty line)
269 - Ed Martinez   20 (penalty line) (fell, excluded)

Support B Main
165 - Randy Kreps     10 
249 - John Stunkard   10
239 - Philip Williams 10
143n - Kevin Fereira  10
132 - David Moore     10 (fell)
125 - Johnny Lupo     10 (fell)

Support Main
316 - John DeFries
300 - Bentley Barrett
139 - Shaun Harmatiuk
231 - Pat Dwyer

Handicap Main
36 - Ryan Fisher       40 yard
3 - Gary Hicks         50
14 - Eddie Castro      40
15 - Dukie Ermolenko   50
166 - Andy Northrup    40
6 - Shawn McConnell    50
189 - Danny Perkins    20
130 - Chris Manchester 50

Scratch Main
3 - Gary Hicks
15 - Dukie Ermolenko
11 - Bobby Schwartz
166 - Andy Northrup
6 - Shawn McConnell
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