Costa Mesa Speedway
Orange County Fairgrounds
Costa Mesa, CA
Warren Russell Cup
Costa Mesa Speedway
October 5, 2002
By: Ryan Evans
Josh Larsen lifted the Warren Russell Cup for the second consecutive year with a perfect night in the final regular meeting of the year at Costa Mesa.
Larsen had first choice of starting position in the main event and he wisely chose the pole. Three-time National Champion "Flyin" Mike Faria then chose gate two, Defending National Champion Chris Manchester selected gate five, Andy "The Enforcer" Northrup took gate three, and Bobby "Boogaloo" Schwartz was left with gate four.
Larsen exploded from the line and held the lead going into turn one, but Manchester was trying to make a big run around the outside. Larsen found enough grip exiting turn two and was able to fend off Manchester's challenge down the back straight. Manchester stayed wide through turns three and four, but couldn't make up any ground on Larsen. Manchester then settled in behind Larsen on the low line and watch the season points champion steadily pull away for the victory. Northrup finished third, Schwartz was fourth, and Faria finished fifth.
The first of three rounds of qualfying heats began with Randy DiFrancesco scoring a victory over Manchester.
The second heat featured the return of Costa Mesa legend, and 1985 National Champion, Alan "Crazy" Christian. Christian's evening started off on a sour note as he was penalized for touching the tape. On the next start, "Fast" Eddie Castro flipped over backward at the start line in spectacular fashion. He was down for several minutes, but was able to take his place on the penalty line for the restart. The third start ended in turn one when Christian and Castro got together and went down. Finally, the fourth start would be completed and Larsen romped to an easy victory, while Castro was able to overtake Shaun Harmatiuk on the outside to earn second.
Faria battled Dukie Ermolenko and Shawn McConnell to earn the win. Northrup closed out round one with a victory over Schwartz.
Manchester began round two with his first victory of the evening. Larsen made it two for two by defeating Gary Hicks and Northrup in race 14. Faria kept pace with Larsen by winning the next race ahead of Bobby Krips. Schwartz scored his first win in the last race of the round.
Manchester cruised to another victory to open the final qualifying round. Larsen kept his score perfect by passing 2000 National Champion Charlie Venegas to take the win. Hicks became the first rider to defeat Faria by making an excellent trap from the outside and holding off Faria's challenges for the win. Schwartz finished off the qualifying rounds with a victory ahead of Northrup.
Ten riders who qualified for the two five-man semis. Larsen, who scored nine points; Manchester, Faria, and Schwartz each had eight; Northrup scored six; Hicks, McConnell, DiFrancesco, and Ermolenko each had five; and Venegas, who had four, made up the field for the semis.
The first semi was all Faria as he led Manchester the entire way and they transferred to the main event. The start of the second semi ended in turn one when several riders went down and brought out the red flag. On the restart Larsen jumped into the lead and cruised to the victory. Northrup finished second to also qualify for the main event. Schwartz came back to win the Last Chance to take the final spot in the main.
The Denim Doctor Challenge brought out Manchester, Larsen, Christian, McConnell, and Faria. Christian was the first rider eliminated and he was followed by Faria. The third start had McConnell, Larsen, and Manchester in a tight bunch for the entire lap. McConnell and Larsen were on the inside while Manchester was on the outside. The finish was close, but Manchester was deemed third and was eliminated. This left McConnell and Larsen to battle for two laps. McConnell started on the inside and held the lead through turn one and two while Larsen rode the outside line. They were side-by-side on the back straight and into turn three. Larsen found some traction coming out of turn four and squeezed past McConnell on the front straight before dropping down to the pole in turn one. McConnell tried to battle back on the last lap, but Larsen held him off for the win.
Two crashes brought a halt to the first two attempts to start the Support Main Event. On the third start, 1995 Junior National Champion Jimmy Fishback, son of legendary Southern California rider Jim "The Animal" Fishback, jumped into the lead from gate four. Fishback had the lead at the end of lap one, but John DeFries began to make up ground. DeFries was planted on Fishback's back tire and made tried to go under Fishback entering turn one the third time. Fishback held off that challenge and DeFries lost valuable ground. Fishback pulled away from DeFries to take the win in just his second week of action since returning from a six year layoff. Sean McDougall finished third, and Jeff Blaydes was fourth. John Stunkard was credited with fifth, but he clinched the Support Division Season Points Championship.
Eloy Medellin rode four perfect laps to win the final Support B Main Event of the 2002 season. Bryan Baichtal was second, Mark Baldwin finished third, Craig Collier was fourth, Shane Kump finished fifth, and Tom Rossano was sixth.
In the Junior Main Event, Jason Ramirez started at the front of the field and held the lead on the first two laps. On lap three Krystal Cramer began to put some pressure on Ramirez and it looked as if she was going to make the pass. Ramirez never succumbed to the pressure, however, and was able to hold her off for his first ever main event victory. Miles Calvin was third, Skyler Greyson finished fourth, and Dario Galvin was fifth.
Next week is the biggest evening on the Costa Mesa calendar with the 34th U.S. National Speedway Championship will be held at the world famous bullring.
Support B Consolation
197 - Kim Stevens 0
176 - Carl Gazafy 10
107 - Monte McKeon 0
102 - Jim Lavender 10
169 - Dan Wensloff 0
100 - Phil Harmatiuk 10
Support B Main Event
178 - Eloy Medellin 0
112 - Bryan Baichtal 0
115 - Mark Baldwin 10
133 - Craig Collier 10
228 - Shane Kump 0
296 - Tom Rossano 10 (fell)
269 - Ed Martinez
163 - Rohn Zellner
117 - Billy Braden (fell, remounted)
111 - Joe Schultz
293 - Rick Valdez
321n - Richard Christian
165 - Randy Kreps
338 - Dave Delbridge
Support Last Chance
249 - John Stunkard
196 - Rod Lenz
240 - Hideaki Ota (fell, remounted)
214 - Steve Murray (fell, excluded)
Support Main Event
25 - Jimmy Fishback
316 - John DeFries
243 - Sean McDougall
173 - Jeff Blaydes (fell)
249 - John Stunkard (two minutes)
Junior Main Event
66 - Jason Ramirez 0
27 - Krystal Cramer 20
99 - Miles Calvin 20
2 - Skyler Greyson 20 (penalty line)
5 - Dario Galvin 10 (penalty line)
Denim Doctor Challenge
2 - Josh Larsen
6 - Shawn McConnell
1 - Chris Manchester
9 - Mike Faria
2n - Alan Christian
Scratch Heat Scoring 1 2 3 T
1 - Chris Manchester 2 3 3 8
2 - Josh Larsen 3 3 3 9
2n - Alan Christian 0 0 1 1
3 - Gary Hicks 0 2 3 5
6 - Shawn McConnell 1 2 2 5
8n - Bryan Yarrow 1 1 0 2
9 - Mike Faria 3 3 2 8
11 - Bobby Schwartz 2 3 3 8
12 - Randy DiFrancesco 3 1 1 5
14 - Eddie Castro 2 0 1 3
15 - Dukie Ermolenko 2 2 1 5
24 - Bobby Krips 0 2 0 2
43 - Charlie Venegas 1 1 2 4
139 - Shaun Harmatiuk 1 0 0 1
166 - Andy Northrup 3 1 2 6
230 - Doug Greyson 0 0 0 0
1: DiFrancesco, Manchester, Yarrow, Hicks
2: Larsen, Castro (penalty line), Harmatiuk, Christian (tape penalty) (fell, remounted)
3: Faria, Ermolenko, McConnell, Greyson
4: Northrup, Schwartz, Venegas, Krips
13: Manchester, Ermolenko, Venegas, Harmatiuk
14: Larsen, Hicks, Northrup, Greyson
15: Faria, Krips, DiFrancesco, Castro (fell, remounted)
16: Schwartz, McConnell, Yarrow, Christian
20: Manchester, McConnell, DiFrancesco, Greyson
21: Larsen, Venegas, Christian, Krips
22: Hicks, Faria, Ermolenko, Yarrow
23: Schwartz, Northrup, Castro, Harmatiuk
Semi #1: Faria, Manchester, Hicks, Venegas, McConnell (fell, remounted)
Semi #2: Larsen, Northrup, DiFrancesco, Schwartz, Ermolenko
Last Chance: Schwartz, DiFrancesco, Hicks, Venegas,
Warren Russell Cup Main Event
2 - Josh Larsen
1 - Chris Manchester
166 - Andy Northrup
11 - Bobby Schwartz
9 - Mike Faria