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2001 West Coast Results Page

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Fast Fridays Speedway

Gold Country Fairgrounds - Auburn, CA

2001 North American World Championship Qualifier
Fast Fridays Speedway
June 1, 2001
From Gary Roberts

After weeks of baking hot sun, on the day of the North American World Championship Qualifier the temperature dropped, clouds appeared and for a while the threat of rain intimidated the event. But fortunately the rain didn't happen. The track had more dirt on it than many expected, certainly more than was there the night before for the official event practice session. For the first few heats the track was patchy, people were finding unexpected traction in odd places, but it soon turned into a really good race surface.

A couple of names were missing before the event even started. Mike Faria was banned, by the FIM, from the event because of his non-appearance at the Overseas Final last year. Sam Ermolenko was taken ill, earlier in the week and had to cancel. The East Coast qualifier, Tom Sephton, also cancelled. This let in reserves Jim Estes and Paul Orlandi.

The results were dominated by 3 names. One older one and two young ones. To me, the emergence of the 2 youngsters is encouraging. For too long American Speedway has been dominated by riders between the ages of late 20s and late 40s. At last the products of the California Junior Speedway program are breaking through and getting recognized as America's top riders. Janniro and Fisher are just the start. If the current future candidates stick with the program, there will be at least 3 new riders coming off this very efficient production line every year for the foreseeable future. 

Josh Larsen won the event, scoring a 15 point maximum, but the "kids" Coventry's Billy Janniro and runner up of last weekend's German Under 21 quarter final Ryan Fisher, took second and third places.

There were some excellent races. Josh Larsen dominated all his races except his third race, which was lead until the final turn by Ryan Fisher. Josh noticed that Ryan left a gap coming out of turn four and waited till the last lap to leap through it. He made it by such a fine margin that even he was asking who had won. Billy Janniro's British League experience has certainly improved his gating. Rather than having to win races from behind, Billy won his four races pretty much from the tapes. He only lost 2 points, both on his forth ride to Josh Larsen and Bobby Hedden, but as always with Billy, it was not for lack of trying, making this probably the best race of the night. Ryan Fisher lost points to Bobby Schwartz, Josh Larsen and Billy Janniro.

Former Speedway retiree, Louis Kossuth, made a one night exception. He showed that he accumulated no rust in retirement, with two wins a second and two falls. Gary Hicks who always impresses me at Auburn, had a good night in that he had none of his usual mechanical gremlins, but was not on his best form. John Cook was running well until his third ride, when his ignition went away on the line and that ended his evening. Eric Carrillo made his debut into top National racing and scored a respectable 4 points, including a win over Bobby Schwartz. Bobby, in turn, started the evening beating a persistent Ryan Fisher but then faded.

Josh Larsen 3 3 3 3 3 15

Billy Janniro 3 3 3 1 3 13

Ryan Fisher 2 3 2 3 2 12

Bobby Hedden 3 1 1 2 3 10

Bart Bast 1 3 2 2 2 10

Dukie Ermolenko 1 2 3 3 0 9

Gary Hicks 2 2 2 2 1 9

Louis Kossuth 2 0 0 3 3 8

Bobby Schwartz 3 1 1 0 2 7

John Cook 2 1 3 0 n/s 6

Chad Felicio 1 1 2 1 1 6

Tommy Hedden 0 2 0 1 2 5

Eric Carrillo 0 2 1 0 1 4

Chris Manchester 1 0 1 2 0 4

Jim Estes 0 0 0 1 1 2

Paul Orlandi 0 0 0 0 0 0

Scott McNeil - 1 ride 0

Chris Kerr - 1 ride 0

So who goes forward to the Overseas Final?

Earlier in the week the plan was that at least two of the four places would be taken by European based Americans. Without Sam, this would have given qualification by virtue of attendance to Janniro and Cook.

Josh Larsen, Billy Janniro and Ryan Fisher told me they would be taking their places at the Overseas Final. The fourth place will be announced next week, by the AMA.

A great evening of racing, and to me, encouraging signs for the future of American Speedway.

Important notes:

1. These results are unofficial.
2. The contents of this message may be used, without my permission, freely, for distribution over the internet, either by e-mail or publication on web sites, by anybody and everybody, to bring visibility to American Speedway or generally promote the sport of Speedway. It may not be used without my permission for printed publication resulting in subsequent sale.

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