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Costa Mesa Speedway
Orange County Fairgrounds - Costa Mesa, CA

2000 Season Farewell
Costa Mesa Speedway
October 7, 2000
From Ryan Evans

Josh Larsen tuned up for next week's United States National Championship by sweeping the program including the Scratch Main at the 2000 Season Farewell at Costa Mesa

Larsen and 1992 U.S. National Champion Chris Manchester each won their semis to qualify for the main event, but Larsen had first gate choice because he scored more points in the preliminary rounds. Larsen chose the pole while Manchester chose gate two. Rounding out the field was Ryan Fisher in gate three, Eddie Castro in gate four, and Gary Hicks on the outside.

Larsen and Hicks gated together and entered turn one simultaneously. Larsen remained low with Hicks trying to pass him on the outside. Larsen made the groove work to his advantage and took control coming out of turn two. Hicks, realizing he wasn't going to pass Larsen on the outside, dove back to the inside behind Larsen entering turn three just before Manchester could take second. Manchester leaned on Hicks a bit in turn four but slowed himself down in the process to allow Hicks some breathing room.

Hicks continuously tried to get underneath Larsen but the former World Finalist was not going to be denied as he held off Hicks the rest of the way to take his second Scratch Main of the season and gain momentum for next week's National Championship. Manchester held onto third ahead of Fisher while Castro ended up fifth.

The racing format was 20 riders competing in three rounds of five-man scratch heats. The top 10 point scorers would then transfer to two five-man semis. First and second from each semi transferred to the main with third and fourth transferring to the Last Chance. The winner of the Last Chance transferred to the main.

Top scorers after the preliminary rounds were Larsen with a perfect 12 points, Manchester and Fisher with 11, Hicks and Charlie Venegas each with 10, Castro and Dukie Ermolenko with 8, and Shawn McConnell scored 7 as did Kitt Nay, who was impressive in doing so.

Three riders were tied with 6 points with only one spot up for grabs in the semis. A runoff consisting of Bobby Schwartz, Gary Ackroyd, and Randy DiFrancesco, who was forced to borrow a bike from Brad Oxley after destroying the front end of his Jawa when he hit the turn two wall. Schwartz won easily ahead of DiFrancesco to take the last spot in the semis.

In the first semi, Manchester gated quickly and took the lead ahead of Fisher who was battling Ermolenko for second. Manchester took an easy victory, but in the battle behind him Ermolenko tried to make the outside work in an effort to pass Fisher. It was to no avail as the three-time U.S. Junior Champion held him back to take his spot in the main.

The second semi didn't go as smoothly. Venegas got the start but the red light immediately came on as it was determined that Venegas had moved before the tapes went up. When the referee ordered Venegas to the penalty line "The Edge" argued vehemently but unsuccessfully. Rather than take his chances on the restart Venegas rode into the pits in obvious disgust. The restart was all Larsen as he took his fourth straight victory ahead of Hicks who would join him in the main event.

Castro got a lighting-quick start in the Last Chance and despite the efforts of Dukie Ermolenko, he was able to take the victory and earn the last slot in the main event.

Newly crowned Junior National Champion Bryan Yarrow made a very auspicious debut with a beautiful heat race win and a dominating performance in the Support Main Event. Yarrow got the start in his heat but was penalized 20 yards for jumping the start. On the restart he quickly passed got into second place, then made a beautiful pass on veteran David Lynch to get the victory. In the main, Yarrow made a great start from the outside and rode the wide line in turns one and two to take the lead and run away with an easy win ahead of Lynch, Michael Mattocks, Randy Kreps, and Tim Tucker.

Eloy Medellin led all the way to take the Support B Main Event. Medellin was chased by Hideaki Ota all four laps but he kept his composure and held off the Japanese rider for his first main event win of the season.

This event was originally billed as the Costa Mesa Farewell but thanks to the recent announcement that Costa Mesa will host speedway in 2001 the event was changed to the 2000 Season Farewell.

It was announced last week that International Speedway Inc. had reached an agreement with the Orange County Fair Board to host speedway events at the world famous "bullring" in 2001. Although the Oxleys were hoping for a three-year contract, they were happy to reach an accord that would see speedway return for another year.

The possible closing of Costa Mesa Speedway has been a hot news item throughout the year with this season being labeled "The Last Season Ever". Had Costa Mesa not operated next year Southern California could've possibly been left without a speedway venue.


Support B Main
178 - Eloy Medellin         0
240 - Hideaki Ota           10
249 - John Stunkard         10
147 - Winston Williams      10
103 - Brent Smith           10
118 - Scott Tidwell         0

Support Main
 17n - Bryan Yarrow
131 - David Lynch
122 - Michael Mattocks
165 - Randy Kreps
215 - Tim Tucker    (fell)

SCORING                 1   2   3       Total
  1 - Brad Oxley        3   E   E       3
  3 - Gary Hicks        4   2   4      10
  4 - Josh Larsen       4   4   4      12
  6 - Shawn McConnell   3   4   0       7
  8 - Gary Ackroyd      2   3   1       6
 11 - Bobby Schwartz    1   2   3       6
 12 - Randy DiFrancesco 2   1   3       6
 14 - Eddie Castro      3   3   2       8
 15 - Dukie Ermolenko   2   2   4       8
 19 - Richard Jones     0   E   2       2
 36 - Ryan Fisher       4   4   3      11
 43 - Charlie Venegas   3   3   4      10
 47 - Johnny Walker     0   1   0       1
 56 - Jim Estes         F   1   1       2
 57 - Brian Thompson    1   1   1       3
119 - Brad Sauer        1   0   1       2
130 - Chris Manchester  4   4   3      11
216 - Kitt Nay          2   3   2       7
223 - Mark Adams        1   2   2       5
230 - Doug Greyson      0   0   0       0

Race Results
 1: Manchester, Venegas, Ackroyd, Thompson, Estes (fell)
 2: Larsen, McConnell, Nay, Schwartz, Walker
 3: Fisher, Oxley, DiFrancesco, Sauer, Jones
 4: Hicks, Castro, Ermolenko, Adams, Greyson
 8: Fisher, Venegas, Hicks (penalty line), Walker, Greyson
 9: Manchester, Castro, Schwartz, Thompson, Jones (engine failure)
10: McConnell, Nay, Adams, Estes, Oxley (engine failure)
11: Larsen, Ackroyd, Ermolenko, DiFrancesco, Sauer (penalty line)
15: Venegas, DiFrancesco, Castro, Sauer, Walker
16: Hicks, Schwartz, Jones, Estes (penalty line), Greyson
17: Larsen, Manchester, Adams, Thompson, Oxley (engine failure)
18: Ermolenko, Fisher, Nay, Ackroyd, McConnell (fell, remounted)
Semi #1: Manchester, Fisher, Castro, Ermolenko, Schwartz
Semi #2: Larsen, Hicks, McConnell, Nay, Venegas (nonstarter)
Last Chance: Castro, Ermolenko, McConnell (penalty line), Nay
Main Event: Larsen, Hicks, Manchester, Fisher, Castro
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