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2001 West Coast Results Page

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Fast Fridays Speedway

Gold Country Fairgrounds - Auburn, CA

2001 Auburn Track Championship
Fast Fridays Speedway
August 31, 2001
From Gary Roberts

Fast Fridays held the Auburn Track Championship last night, on a track that started off wet and slushy but soon turned into a good race surface.   The regular track surface preparer was unavailable last night, so Dave Joiner in addition to being promoter and referee took on the job of track preparer.

The racing was good, although the results took on a class system, with riders consistently grouped. In a class of their own were Bart Bast, Chris Manchester, Mike Faria and Bobby Hedden. Chad Felicio, Tommy Hedden and Dukie Ermolenko rode well, but at the next level down, then there was another gap before Bryan Yarrow, Eric Carrillo, Rich Marcucci and Rick Shafer.  Then there was nothing!

Referee, Dave Joiner was active with exclusions, giving the reserves no less than 11 rides, which I think is the highest I have heard of at any championship event, ever!   Few exclusions needed debate, for some reason riders were drawn into the tapes, and collecting instant disqualification's.

Auburn track championship winner was on-form Bart Bast.  At the end of 4 races Bart was unbeaten.  Mike Faria had lost one point, to Bart.  Chris Manchester has a history at Auburn of being hot or cold.  His evening started cold with a third place behind Faria and Felicio, but then turned around, became hot and those were the only points he lost for the rest of the night. Bobby Hedden, always the most spectacular rider, with his outside line, lost points to Ermolenko, Bast and Manchester.  So at the end of four rounds Bast, looked to taking the Track Championship with a maximum, with Faria one point behind.  Not the case.  In the penultimate heat, Chris Manchester took a point from Bast, suggest that Bast would line up for a run-off with Faria. But in the final heat, Bobby Hedden took a further point from Mike, making Bart the Champion, and putting Mike down on 13 points, level with Manchester. Chris won the run-off from the gate, giving him second place, and Mike third.

What happened to the rest of the field?  Chad Felicio had four good races but fell and was disqualified in the fifth.  Dukie did exactly the same.  Eric Carrillo lost 2 points when he clutch disintegrated.  Bryan Yarrow started well, but faded as the night went on, ending the night with a tape disqualification.  Rick Shafer finished with a credible 6 points and declared his retirement from the sport.  In the five years that I have followed Northern California Speedway Rick has gone from a struggling-only-just-Division 1 rider, to a consistent competitor.  He plans to continue to support the races, by riding up on his Harley, to watch.

At the top of the list of disappointments of the night was Chris Kerr.  Chris has continued to improve this season, but had an off night, with 2 disqualification's and ending the night with only one point.

Reserves Glenn Moore and JJ Martynse rode well, and were usually in the thick of the action, but despite their many rides, the only points they took were from one another!

Unofficial scores were as follows:

Bart Bast         3 3 3 3 2     14
Chris Manchester  1 3 3 3 3     13
Mike Faria        3 2 3 3 2     13
Bobby Hedden      3 2 2 2 3     12
Chad Felicio      2 0 3 2 3     10
Dukie Ermolenko   0 3 2 2 3     10
Tom Hedden        2 2 2 3 1     10
Bryan Yarrow      3 2 1 1 0      7
Eric Carrillo     2 3 1 0 1      7
Rich Marcucci     2 1 0 1 2      6
Rick Shafer       1 1 2 0 2      6
Ivan Sevart       1 1 1 1 0      4
Billy Hiles       1 0 0 0 1      2
Ian Essary        0 0 0 2 0     2
Chris Kerr        0 0 0 0 1     1
Paul Orlandi      0 0 0 ns ns    0
Glenn Moore (R)   2 from 5 rides
JJ Martynse (R)   1 from 6 rides

Division 2 Track Championship
The main event for Division 2 was full of misfortunes. Favorite, Matt Browne was disqualified for touching the tapes in his heat.  In the main event Robert Mellor looked like a winner until he stopped to turn his fuel on.  Tom Adams then looked good until the last corner, when he fell, leaving Ron Woodsford to take the win.

1. Ron Woodsford
2. Vince Bertolucci
3. Robert Mellor
4. Tom Adams

Division 3 Track Championship
David Baker took the win in the Division 3 class, from Mike Achilles and David's brother Bruce.
1. David Baker
2. Mike Achilles
3. Bruce Baker
4. Kim Reeg

Since I have been involved more with Junior Speedway this year, for me, the highlight of the night was the Junior National Championship.  It promised to be a good one and it certainly lived up to it.  There were some upsets, but generally I think all riders did well.

Division 1 Junior National Championship
Winner was TJ Fowler.  TJ was unbeaten all night, and a well deserved winner.   This follows winning the Division 2 Junior National Championship last year, which followed missing most of the previous year with a broken leg.

Unofficial scores:
TJ Fowler 12
Mark Carrillo 10
Justin Boyle 9
Greg Hooten 7
Alex Marcucci 6
Danny Easley 4
JT Mabry 4
Jeff Butler 2

Mark Carrillo took second place and Justin Boyle third.  Greg Hooten, who was second last year, and looked to me at the beginning of the season to be this year's favorite had a disappointing evening, losing a point to TJ and another to Mark, and falling in another race.  Greg will move up to ride a 500 next year, so his Junior Speedway days are over.  Danny Easley, who I had pegged for more points also fell in one race, but did the best job of the evening at giving TJ a run for his money.  Third place man, Justin Boyle finished in the same position as he achieved last year.  Since he comes from Los Angeles, he has less familiarity with the Auburn track, although has constantly available practice facilities, at Maely's Ranch, something that our Northern California Juniors lack.

The fact that both Fowler and Carrillo moved from Division 2 last year plus the fact that both have another 2 years of Junior Speedway says a lot for the future of our Junior competition.

Division 2 Junior National Championship
Paul Johnson, who narrowly missed taking the Division 3 Junior National Championship last year, was the worthy winner of the Division 2 class.  Bruce Bast won a run-off with Pete King for second place.

Unofficial Scores:
Paul Johnson 9
Bruce Bast 6
Pete King 6
Amanda English 4
Jay Ricketts 3
Tom Fehrman 2

Division 2 has been close all year.  I believe every one of the competitors have won main events at some stage throughout the season, as each competitor's form has peaked.   Tom Fehrman has been the one with the winning streak of late, but last night suffered machine problems. Last night was the last Junior race for Amanda English, who moves up to a 500 next year.

Division 3 Junior National Championship
Since there were 12 competitors, a qualifying championship replaced the points championship. The main event turned out to be a battle of the Rickys.
Unofficial Main event result:
1. Ricky Wells
2. Ricky Felicio
3. Ricky Adams
4. Ronny Woodsford

Winner Ricky Wells, from New Zealand, currently living in Los Angeles, rode very well, especially considering he was on a 175 Honda, against 250 Weslakes.

Having spent 3 years driving through the atrocious traffic in the San Francisco Bay area, to make the drive up to Auburn every Friday, I understand what the Becerra family has suffered each week they come up to race.  So I felt extra bad for RJ Becerra, whose engine disintegrated a couple of weeks ago, going out in one race on a borrowed machine, failing to qualify for the semi-final, then going out on his brother's machine in the last chance and failing to qualify by a place, cooking that engine in the process.  I also felt bad for his brother, therefore having no machine to take ride in the semi, for which he had qualified.

All in all, the Junior National Championship went off well. Each kid finished the evening being given with medallions, bags of tools, accessories, T-shirts, etc. provided by a lot of generous sponsors, too many to list.

Fast Fridays staff did a great job to complete these two major championships in three hours. The pit steward told me afterwards that the junior competitors had contributed to this by doing a great job of being ready for each race. I don't know how to put it diplomatically, but British Speedway could learn from this model.  20 Division 1 races, 3 Division 2 races, 3 Division 3 races, 21 Junior races, 2 run-offs, (total 49 heats) plus 4 track maintenance breaks and an intermission, in 3 hours, not too shabby!

No Gold Country Fair Championship next week, it got cancelled, so there is a 3 week break before the September 21 AMA National Championship.

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