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
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
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