Costa Mesa Speedway
Orange County Fairgrounds
Costa Mesa, CA
5th Annual Jack Milne Cup
Costa Mesa Speedway
June 8, 2002
From Ryan Evans
Scott Brant capped a near-flawless evening by capturing the first major title of the Southern California season at the fifth annual Jack Milne Cup at Costa Mesa on Saturday night.
Brant had first gate choice and wisely took the pole. "Fast" Eddie Castro selected gate two, Shawn McConnell chose gate three, Josh Larsen was in four, and "Flyin" Mike Faria was left with the outside. Brant and Larsen gated together and entered turn one side-by-side. Behind them, Faria slid off, but the referee allowed the race to continue. Brant was on the all-important inside line and found more grip than Larsen did on the outside. Brant took control of the lead on the back straight while Larsen was forced to the pole to try to pass him. Larsen wouldn't allow Brant any breathing room and hoped to force a mistake. Despite being hounded by Larsen for four laps, Brant never relinguished the lead and collected the Jack Milne Cup. Larsen had to settle for second, Castro was third, McConnell finished fourth, and Faria was credited with fifth.
The Jack Milne Cup featured an all-scratch format with 20 riders competing in three rounds of five-man scratch heats, with a 4-3-2-1-0 scoring format. The top 10 point scorers qualified for two five-man semis with the riders choosing gate positions based on points. The top two finishers in each semi transfered to the main while the third and fourth place finishers transfered to the Last Chance. The winner of the Last Chance transfered to the Jack Milne Cup Final. The riders selected their gates in the Final based on cumulative points.
The evening began with Faria dominating the field in race one with an easy victory. Larsen trapped from gate five and, despite constant pressure from Brant, took the win in race two. It would prove to be Brant's only loss of the evening. McConnell held off Schwartz to win race three, but the real story was defending National Champion Chris Manchester finishing fourth behind Brian Thompson after running last most of the race. In the last race, Brad Sauer held a comfortable lead for nearly two laps before a crash forced a restart. On the restart, Andy "The Enforcer" Northrup, last week's Handicap Main Event winner, held off defending Milne Cup Champion Gary Hicks to close out round one.
Round one winners Faria and McConnell met to open round two and it was Faria with another fine performance to take the victory. Castro won the second race ahead of Northrup. Brant earned his first victory of the night while Manchester fought from the back to get second. Hicks got his title defense on track by closing out round two with a victory.
Round three began the same way the first two rounds began, an easy Faria victory. Dukie Ermolenko defeated DiFrancesco to win the second race of the round. Castro made it two in a row by defeating McConnell, while Manchester had to settle for third. Brant defeated Hicks to end the preliminary rounds.
After the preliminary rounds Faria sat at the top with a perfect 12 points; Brant and Castro were tied with 11 points; Hicks and McConnell each had 10 points; Ermolenko and Northrup had 9 points; Larsen had 8 points; Schwartz and DiFrancesco rounded out the semis with 7 points apiece. The field for the semis didn't include Manchester, who could only manage six points.
The first semi was all Brant as he jumped into the lead from gate two and ran away from the field for the win. Castro finished second to get into the main, while Ermolenko and Schwartz would go to the Last Chance. Northrup's fifth place meant his evening was over.
In the second semi, Larsen got a great start from gate four and was first into turn one and first the rest of the way to book his spot in the main. McConnell took second place to get into the main as well. Faria, previously unbeaten, got a bad start and finished third, while DiFrancesco finished fourth and joined Faria in the Last Chance. Defending Jack Milne Cup Champion Hicks, a nephew of Milne, finished fifth, thus ensuring a new champion would be crowned.
Faria regained his winning form and used a great start to get the lead and cruised to the victory in the Last Chance. Schwartz was second, DiFrancesco finished third, and Ermolenko was fourth.
David Lynch made it two weeks in a row, and three for the season, by winning the Support Main Event. Lynch, the 2001 Support Points Champion, trapped from gate four and led all the way to checkered flag. John Stunkard, the current Support points leader, finished second, Jeff Blaydes was credited with third, and Rick Valdez was credited with fourth.
Jimmy Steet, making his debut in speedway, followed up his heat race win with four smooth laps and a victory in the Support B Main Event. Eloy Medellin came home second, Michael Novratil finished third, Kevin Templeton was fourth, Carl Gazafy finished fifth, and Tom Rossano was credited with 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 before passing away 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
103 - Brent Smith 20
108 - Mike Hernandez 10
133 - Craig Collier 20
169 - Dan Wensloff 10
144 - Tom Hamilton 20 (fell, remounted)
229n - Jason Botsford 10 (fell, remounted)
Support B Main Event
312 - Jimmy Steet 10
178 - Eloy Medellin 20
181 - Michael Novratil 20
155 - Kevin Templeton 10
176 - Carl Gazafy 20
296 - Tom Rossano 20 (fell)
182 - Rudy Laurer
118 - Scott Tidwell
125 - Johnny Lupo
332 - Brian Hunt
147 - Winston Williams
106 - Robert Fiesler
161 - Hector Quevedo
100 - Phil Harmatiuk (retired)
Support Main Event
131 - David Lynch
249 - John Stunkard
173 - Jeff Blaydes (fell)
293 - Rick Valdez (fell)
99 - Miles Calvin
27 - Krystal Cramer
2 - Skyler Greyson
PRELIMINARY ROUND SCORING 1 2 3 T
1 - Chris Manchester 1 3 2 6
2 - Josh Larsen 4 2 2 8
3 - Gary Hicks 3 4 3 10
6 - Shawn McConnell 4 3 3 10
9 - Mike Faria 4 4 4 12
10 - Scott Brant 3 4 4 11
11 - Bobby Schwartz 3 1 3 7
12 - Randy DiFrancesco 2 2 3 7
13 - Kitt Nay 0 1 F 1
14 - Eddie Castro 3 4 4 11
15 - Dukie Ermolenko 2 3 4 9
17 - Robbie Sauer 1 0 1 2
21 - Brad Sauer 1 0 1 2
23 - Mark Adams F 1 2 3
27n - Chris Kerr F 2 1 2
57 - Brian Thompson 2 2 1 5
89 - Danny Perkins 0 0 0 0
139 - Shaun Harmatiuk 2 0 0 2
166 - Andy Northrup 4 3 2 9
223 - Bobby Krips 1 1 1 3
1: Faria, Castro, Harmatiuk, R.Sauer, Adams (fell)
2: Larsen, Brant, Ermolenko, Krips (tape penalty), Perkins
3: McConnell, Schwartz, Thompson, Manchester, Nay
4: Northrup, Hicks, DiFrancesco, B.Sauer, Kerr (fell)
9: Faria, McConnell, DiFrancesco, Krips, R.Sauer
10: Castro, Northrup, Larsen, Nay, Perkins
11: Brant, Manchester, Thompson, Adams, B.Sauer
12: Hicks, Ermolenko, Kerr, Schwartz, Harmatiuk
20: Faria, Schwartz, Adams, R.Sauer, Nay (fell)
21: Ermolenko, DiFrancesco, Larsen, B.Sauer, Perkins
22: Castro, McConnell, Manchester, Harmatiuk, Thompson
23: Brant, Hicks, Northrup, Krips (fell, remounted), Kerr (fell, remounted)
Semi #1: Brant, Castro, Ermolenko, Schwartz, Northrup
Semi #2: Larsen, McConnell, Faria, DiFrancesco, Hicks
Last Chance: Faria, Schwartz, DiFrancesco, Ermolenko
Jack Milne Cup Final
10 - Scott Brant
2 - Josh Larsen
14 - Eddie Castro
6 - Shawn McConnell
9 - Mike Faria (fell)
Jack Milne Cup Champions
1998 - Bobby Schwartz 2001 - Gary Hicks
1999 - Gary Hicks 2002 - Scott Brant
2000 - Charlie Venegas