Costa Mesa Speedway
Orange County Fairgrounds - Costa Mesa, CA
2001 Jack Milne Cup
Costa Mesa Speedway
June 8, 2001
From Ryan Evans
Gary Hicks captured the fourth annual Jack Milne Cup at Costa Mesa Saturday Night with a perfect night and brought the trophy back to the family, but what led up to the outcome will remain etched in everyone's minds for a long time.
The field for the Jack Milne Cup Final was made up of Ryan Fisher, Josh Larsen, Chris Manchester, Bobby Schwartz, and Hicks. Schwartz drew the pole, Hicks was in gate two, Fisher in three, Manchester in four, and Larsen on the outside. The first attempt was over in turn one as Hicks and Fisher came together forcing Manchester and Larsen into the turn one wall. Both riders were down for several minutes but were able to make the restart. The second attempt didn't get much further as Manchester was the only rider left upright following a clash in turn two. Manchester wouldn't be so lucky the next time.
On the third attempt the field managed to get through turn one with Hicks holding the lead. Manchester went to the outside on the back straight but Hicks held him off entering turn three. Hicks went wide in turn four to hold back Manchester but left the door open on the inside allowing Schwartz to get beside him on the front straight. Hicks found enough speed to hold Schwartz back and keep the lead entering turn three. Manchester found enough traction to challenge on the outside coming out of turn four, while Schwartz attempted to pass Hicks on the inside again. Hicks drifted wide exiting turn four and Schwartz made his move for the lead. Hicks then cut back to the inside to try to block Schwartz on the front straight. The two riders came together entering turn one just as Manchester attempted to pass both on the outside. The two riders went down and collected Manchester in the process.
Schwartz, obviously upset at what he felt was unfair riding, went to Hicks and stood over him angrily waving his arms. Schwartz then kicked Hicks, who retaliated by punching Schwartz in the leg. Both riders had to be restrained by track officials. Meanwhile, Manchester was still lying on the track and remained there for several minutes before being removed via stretcher with an undetermined leg injury.
Referee Bryan Galvin ordered a complete restart, although it would take place without the injured Manchester. Hicks made the best start on the fourth attempt and held Schwartz back on the low line in turn one. Larsen immediately went to the outside and put the pressure on Hicks. Hicks was able to maintain the lead as Larsen continued to ride the outside line and stay close. Larsen made the outside work and was beside Hicks as they took the white flag. Larsen stayed wide in turn one to make a run for the lead, but Hicks blocked him near the wall on the back straight and held the lead to the finish to become the first two-time winner of the Milne Cup. Larsen, who it was later determined had been riding with a broken hand suffered during the first attempt, was second, Schwartz was third, Fisher was fourth, and Manchester was fifth. On the safety lap Schwartz pulled alongside Hicks and the riders shook hands in attempt to put their incident behind them. Larsen, however, wasn't happy with being pinched against the wall on the last lap and not only cut Hicks off during his victory lap, but had some words for Hicks before exiting the track.
The victory has sentimental value for Hicks as he his the grandnephew Jack Milne. He has stated on many occasions that this race means as much as any to him and that bringing the trophy back to his family is a priority.
The format for the Milne Cup was 20 riders competing in three rounds of five-rider scratch heats with only four riders being eliminated from the four different four-rider semis. Hicks and Manchester dominated the qualifying rounds as each recorded perfect 12 point scores. Larsen and Schwartz were next as each dropped one point for a total of 11. Fisher was the only other rider in double-digits with 10.
The first semi saw Fisher avenge an earlier loss to Schwartz as the 17 year old defeated the winner of the first Milne Cup and earn a trip to the main. Larsen was an easy winner in his semi over Randy DiFrancesco. Manchester had to earn his semi victory as Jim Estes made a great start from the outside and led for a lap before Manchester took the lead. Hicks continued his perfect night with a win in the fourth semi.
The Last Chance race had Brad Oxley, racing for the first time in 2001, on the pole, DiFrancesco in gate two, Brad Sauer in three, and Schwartz on the outside. Schwartz trapped at the start but was pursued by Oxley, who was riding an old Weslake. Schwartz was able to shake off Oxley and take the win ahead of DiFrancesco, who passed Oxley, while Sauer finished fourth.
The Support Main Event provided a sign of things to come in the Jack Milne Cup Final as a couple of nasty crashes forced three attempts to get the race finished. Since the program was ahead of schedule the riders were allowed the rare occasion of pushing their bikes to the starting line to draw for position and to be interviewed by track announcer Terry Clanton.
Bobby Krips drew the pole, Mark Hitchcock was in two, Winston Williams was in three, Philip Williams in four, and Sean McDougall on the outside. On the first attempt McDougall got a good start and was trying the outside when he and Winston Williams came together and went down in turn two. A full restart was ordered and on the second attempt Winston Williams got tangled with Hitchcock and went down in turn one leaving Philip Williams nowhere to go. Philip Williams ran straight into the prone Winston Williams and spun him around in the air. Winston Williams was down for a couple minutes before walking off under his own power. While leaving the track Winston Williams, thinking it was souvenir night at speedway, threw his goggles, and then his helmet, into the stands!
The field lined up for the third time, but this time it was without Winston Williams. Krips took the lead and never looked back as he cruised to an easy victory. Hitchcock had his hands full with McDougall, but was able to hold onto second ahead of his fellow Bakersfieldrider, fourth went to Philip Williams, with souvenir-give-away man Winston Williams getting credit with fifth.
Mike Lewis made his debut at Costa Mesa a success by winning the Support B Main Event. The race began oddly as Hector Quevedo managed to break the tapes after jumping the start from the 10 yard line. On the restart, Lewis took the lead with Tom Rossano in pursuit. Rossano stalked Lewis for three laps before falling. Lewis held on for the victory, while Rohn Zellner finished second, Rossano remounted to take third, Bryan Baichtal was fourth, >Shane Kump was fifth, and Quevedo was sixth.
The Jack Milne Cup is held in honor of the 1937 World Speedway Champion. Milne was one of speedway's pioneers prior to World War II and was the first American to win a motor sports world championship of any kind. Milne was also very influential in getting Costa Mesa started and helping Harry Oxley and the Oxley family throughout the years. Milne was a fixture at the race track until his death several years ago. Mounted atop of the perpetual award is the actual trophy that was presented to Milne after winning the World Championship at Wembley Stadium.
Support B Consolation
197 - Kim Stevens 10
103 - Brent Smith 20
153 - Craig Muzio 10 (fell)
137 - Jeremiah LeBlanc 10
Support B Consolation
293 - Rick Valdez 10
132 - David Moore 20
198 - Mike Boyle 20
210 - Ron Cochard 20
310 - KG Fairborn 10
136 - Jim Wynhoff 10 (fell)
Support B Main Event
205 - Mike Lewis 10
163 - Rohn Zellner 20
296 - Tom Rossano 10 (fell, remounted)
112 - Bryan Baichtal 20 (fell, remounted)
228 - >Shane Kump 20
161 - Hector Quevedo 10 (tape exclusion)
Support Main Event
223 - Bobby Krips
177 - Mark Hitchcock
243 - Sean McDougall
239 - Philip Williams
147 - Winston Williams (non starter)
QUALIFYING SCORES 1 2 3 T
3 - Gary Hicks 4 4 4 12
4 - Josh Larsen 3 4 4 11
5 - Brad Oxley 3 2 3 8
11 - Bobby Schwartz 3 4 4 11
12 - Randy DiFrancesco 4 3 2 9
17 - Robbie Sauer 2 2 2 6
19 - Richard Jones 0 0 1 1
21 - Brad Sauer 3 1 3 7
23 - Mark Adams 2 2 1 5
36 - Ryan Fisher 4 3 3 10
56 - Jim Estes 1 3 2 6
100 - Phil Harmatiuk 0 0 0 0
130 - Chris Manchester 4 4 4 12
139 - Shaun Harmatiuk 2 1 F 3
166 - Andy Northrup 2 3 1 6
189 - Danny Perkins 1 2 3 6
200 - Gerry Duttweiler 1 1 1 3
230 - Doug Greyson 0 0 0 0
316 - John DeFries 1 1 2 4
388 - Donnie Robinson 0 0 N 0
1: Hicks, Oxley, R.Sauer, Duttweiler, Robinson
2: Fisher, Larsen, S.Harmatiuk, Estes, Jones
3: Manchester, B.Sauer, Adams, DeFries, P.Harmatiuk
4: DiFrancesco, Schwartz, Northrup, Perkins, Greyson
9: Hicks, Northrup, Adams, DeFries, Jones
10: Larsen, DiFrancesco, Oxley, B.Sauer, Greyson
11: Manchester, Fisher, Perkins, Duttweiler, Robinson
12: Schwartz, Estes, R.Sauer, S.Harmatiuk, P.Harmatiuk
15: Hicks, B.Sauer, DeFries, Duttweiler, P.Harmatiuk
16: Larsen, Perkins, Estes, Northrup, Greyson
17: Manchester, Oxley, R.Sauer, Adams, Robinson (non starter)
18: Schwartz, Fisher, DiFrancesco, Jones, S.Harmatiuk (fell)
Semi #1: Fisher, Schwartz, Perkins, Adams
Semi #2: Larsen, DiFrancesco, Northrup, DeFries
Semi #3: Manchester, Oxley, Estes, Duttweiler
Semi #4: Hicks, B.Sauer, R.Sauer, S.Harmatiuk
Last Chance: Schwartz, DiFrancesco, Oxley, B.Sauer
Jack Milne Cup Main Event (restarted three times)
3 - Gary Hicks
4 - Josh Larsen
11 - Bobby Schwartz
36 - Ryan Fisher
130 - Chris Manchester (non starter - injured)