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Costa Mesa Speedway

Orange County Fairgrounds - Costa Mesa, CA

2001 Fanfare’s Cinco de Mayo
Costa Mesa Speedway
May 5, 2001
From Ryan Evans


Chris Manchester won his second consecutive Scratch Main at Costa Mesa in an event filled with controversial incidents before, during, and after the race.

The action started prior to the race when Manchester was lining up in gate four and Ryan Fisher was lining up in gate five. The two riders were literally rubbing elbows with neither rider willing to move for the other. Referee Brian Galvin eventually stepped in and created ample space between the two riders. At the start Manchester and Fisher entered turn one together, but bumped and Fisher went down. Manchester had the lead near the end of lap one when the red light came on. Manchester was still at full speed when he entered turn one and narrowly missed Fisher before he stepped onto the infield. On the restart Manchester held the lead entering turn three when Fisher went down again as well as Dukie Ermolenko. The referee ordered a complete restart again.

On the third attempt Manchester and Fisher entered turn one simultaneously with Fisher going down a third time, but the red light did not come on this time. Manchester and Randy DiFrancesco were side-by-side on the back straight but the former Overseas Champion pulled it down to the pole entering turn three to secure the lead. Shawn McConnell then slipped under DiFrancesco for second. As Manchester entered turn one Fisher had just remounted and raced in front of him, nearly one lap down, for the next couple laps. Meanwhile, DiFrancesco and Ermolenko waged a great battle for third with DiFrancesco holding the inside while Ermolenko remained on the high line. Manchester held a comfortable lead, but as he took the white flag he had closed on Fisher. As they entered turn three the final time Manchester took Fisher wide before taking the checkered flag. McConnell finished second, DiFrancesco fought off Ermolenko for third, and Fisher finished fifth.

On the safety lap Manchester vehemently waved his arm at Fisher and slowed down to voice his displeasure. As they passed the finish line the gesturing went back and forth until Manchester grabbed Fisher's helmet and didn't let go until the bikes stopped and both were forced to dismount in turn one. The arguing continued until several track officials intervened. Fortunately, both riders discussed the situation in the pit area and settled the incident peacefully.

Since the crowd had not seen the summit meeting in the pits, they were unaware that the issue had been put to rest between the two combatants. This created an electric atmosphere for the Handicap Main as the fans drew their lines in the sand and chose sides.

Kitt Nay started at the tapes and led the eight-man field into turn one with Junior National Champion Bryan Yarrow right behind him. Veteran Jim Estes passed the 16 year old at the start of lap two and quickly set after Nay. DiFrancesco held third but the action was fast and furious behind him. Manchester, Fisher, and McConnell swapped positions and riding lines several times in the middle of the pack. At the front of the field, Nay was doing all he could to hold Estes back. At the end of five laps Nay remained in front of Estes, who now had Fisher camped on his back tire. Estes went down in turn two, collecting Fisher who then went on a wild ride on the back straight as he was horizontal on his bike as it whipped him back and forth. Fortunately, Fisher was able to bring it down as the incident could've been much worse. Fisher's ability to save himself in such a dire situation speaks volumes of his talent.

The field would restart with three laps to go with Nay at the tapes and Fisher just 10 yards back. Estes was put on the penalty line for being the cause of the restart. Fisher immediately pressured Nay and went under him in turn three. The 3-time Junior National Champion raced away with his first win of 2001. DiFrancesco finished second, McConnell was third, Manchester was fourth, and Ermolenko was fifth. In a show of sportsmanship, Manchester rode up to Fisher on the safety lap and the two riders shook hands.

John DeFries trapped from gate five to take the lead in the Support Main and was quickly pursued by Bobby Krips. Krips went down in turn two forcing Gerry Duttweiler to lay his bike down and force a restart with Krips being banished to the penalty line. DeFries trapped again and held the lead after lap one. Krips went down again with Paul Hitchcock laying his bike down, but the red light didn't come on this time. DeFries was being chased by 18 year old Donny Robinson. Robinson went down on lap three giving DeFries an insurmountable lead and an easy victory. Gerry Duttweiler managed to avoid the fallen riders to take second, Krips finished third, Robinson was fourth, and Hitchcock was fifth.

Speedway newcomer Robert Fiesler held on to win the restart of the Support B Main Event. Fiesler was pressured by Tomasz Hampel the entire race but was able to take his first main event win. Eloy Medellin finished third and Tom Rossano was fourth. The race had to be restarted when Doug Lupo crashed in turn four. Lupo was down for several minutes before being carried off on a stretcher after experiencing some pain in his shoulder area. Lupo waved his arm in acknowledgment to the cheering crowd as he was being carried off.


Support B Consolation
148 - Chris Metoyer              10 
196 - Rod Lenz                 20 
198 - Mike Boyle               20 
135 - Kerry Connor             20 
112 - Bryan Baichtal           20   (fell) 
171 - Kenny Montague             10  (non-starter) 

Support B Main  (restarted)
106 - Robert Fiesler             10 
174 - Tomasz Hampel            20 
178 - Eloy Medellin            20 
296 - Tom Rossano                10 
123 - Chad Newlee              20   (fell) 
126 - Doug Lupo                  10  (non-starter) 

Support Consolation
100 - Phil Harmatiuk             10 
182 - Rudy Laurer              20 
239 - Philip Williams          20 
173 - Jeff Blaydes             20 
161 - Hector Quevedo             10   (fell, remounted) 
338 - Dave Delbridge           20  (non-starter) 

Support Main  (restarted)
316 - John DeFries 
200 - Gerry Duttweiler 
223 - Bobby Krips           (fell, remounted) 
388 - Donny Robinson        (fell, remounted) 
114 - Paul Hitchcock        (fell) 

Handicap Main  (restarted)
 36 - Ryan Fisher                 40 
 12 - Randy DiFrancesco           40 
  6 - Shawn McConnell             50 
130 - Chris Manchester            50 
 15 - Dukie Ermolenko             50 
216 - Kitt Nay                     0 
254 - Bryan Yarrow                10 
 56 - Jim Estes                   30  (engine failure) 

Scratch Main (restarted twice)
130 - Chris Manchester 
  6 - Shawn McConnell 
 12 - Randy DiFrancesco 
 15 - Dukie Ermolenko 
 36 - Ryan Fisher            (fell, remounted)
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