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2002 Fast Fridays Speedway Race Results

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Fast Fridays Speedway
Gold Country Fairgrounds
Auburn, CA

2002 AMA National Speedway Championship - Round 3
Fast Fridays
September 20, 2002
From Gary Roberts

Following Round 1 down in San Bernardino and Round 2 in Auburn, back in August, this was the third and final round of the 2002 AMA National Speedway Championship.

Series totals after 2 rounds:
SB Au Tot
Greg Hancock 16 20 36
Billy Hamill 21 14 35
Billy Janniro 18 16 34
Mike Faria 9 19 28
Eddie Castro 14 10 24
Scott Brant 12 11 23
Chris Manchester 11 12 23
Ryan Fisher 10 8 18
Bart Bast 6 9 15
Josh Larsen 7 7 14
Bobby Schwartz 4 4 8
Gary Hicks 8 - 8
Tommy Hedden 5 2 7
Alan Christian - 6 6
Bobby Hedden 1 5 6
Eric Carrillo 3 1 4
Chris Kerr - 3 3
Randy Difrancisco 2 - 2

This final round of the National Championship was held under cooler conditions than the previous round. Although its still hot during the day, the evenings are now down to more comfortable temperatures. About an hour before the races, a fine mist came the stadium, making some of us wonder if the track had perhaps been overwatered. No problem, the track was fine and more water was added as the night went on. General feedback from the racers was that the track was fine, although there was little traction on the outside, making over taking unpredictable.

First came the announcement that Greg Hancock, series leader was suffering from bronchitis and was unable to make the trip back. But with Hamill and Janniro only 1 and 2 points behind, Greg's chances of overall victory were by no means certain.

The format for the series has been a regular championship format, followed by A B C and D finals. The whole thing came down to the last race, the A final.

Unofficial results:

Preliminary qualifier races
Heat 1:
1. Bobby Hedden
2. Ivan Sevart
3. Billy Hiles
Eric Carrillo is still suffering from a broken wrist from the round 2.

Heat 2:
1. Bryan Yarrow
2. Chris Kerr
3. Randy Difrancesco
4. Bobby Krips

Heat 3:
1. Randy Difrancesco
2. Bobby Krips
3. Billy Hiles

Heat 4:
1. Bobby Hedden
2. Bryan Yarrow
3. Chris Kerr
4. Ivan Sevart

Heat 5:
1. Ivan Sevart
2. Bobby Krips
3. Randy Difrancesco

This made the 2 qualifiers for the open places Bobby Hedden and Bryan Yarrow. Greg Hancock's place was filled by Chris Kerr. Ivan Sevart was first reserve, Bobby Krips second reserve.

Points scored: 1 2 3 4 5 T
Billy Janniro 3 3 2 3 3 14
Bobby Hedden 2 3 3 2 3 13
Billy Hamill 3 3 1 3 3 13
Mike Faria 3 2 3 1 3 12
Chris Manchester 1 3 0 3 2 9
Scott Brant 1 1 2 2 2 8
Bart Bast 2 2 1 2 1 8
Eddie Castro 1 2 3 0 2 8
Alan Christian 3 0 0 2 2 7
Brian Yarrow 0 2 3 1 1 7
Josh Larsen 2 0 1 3 0 6
Tommy Hedden 2 1 2 0 1 6
Ryan Fisher 0 1 2 1 0 4
Gary Hicks 1 1 1 - - 3
Chris Kerr 0 0 0 1 1 2
Bobby Schwartz 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ivan Sevart 0 points from 3 rides
Bobby Krips 0 points from 2 rides

Heat 1: Christian, Bast, Hicks, Schwartz
Hicks lifted badly at the gate and lost ground. Christian took the lead and kept it. Hicks got past Schwartz

Heat 2: Janniro, T. Hedden, Brant, Fisher
Janniro got the gate and pulled away to leave the other 3 to battle hard for the remaining places. Tommy Hedden lead from the gate, but Scott Brant was determined to get past him. At this stage the track had little traction on the outside and although Brant was able to pull alongside Hedden, there was not the traction to get past. Meanwhile, Fisher was trying to get through on the inside. At the end of 3 laps of this, Brant finally established second place, but drifted too wide and went to last, while Ryan Fisher actually got through on the inside. But entering turn one the final time Fisher found his motorcycle coming too far round and fell, so Tommy Hedden kept second.

Heat 3: Faria, B. Hedden, Castro, Kerr
Faria got the gate and left Hedden and Castro to fight for second which they continued to do all four laps.

Heat 4: Hamill, Larsen, Manchester, Yarrow
Billy Hamill started again with an explosive gate, establishing a safe lead. The rest played follow the leader. 

Heat 5: B. Hedden, Yarrow, T. Hedden, Schwartz.
Bobby Hedden from the gate.

Heat 6: Hamill, Bast, Fisher, Kerr
Another dynamite gate for Billy Hamill, ahead of Coventry team mate Fisher. Bart Bast managed to get past Fisher for second.

Heat 7: Manchester, Castro, Brant, Christian
Chris Manchester got the gate. Christian fell on the third lap.

Heat 8: Janniro, Faria, Hicks, Larsen
Janniro got the gate, with Faria chasing. Larsen got overhauled by Hicks.

Heat 9: Castro, Fisher, Larsen, Sevart
Bobby Schwartz found traction coming out of the gate and looped it, something I have never seen him do before. In the re-run he was replaced by Sevart where Castro got the gate and the procession followed.

Heat 10: Faria, T. Hedden Bast Krips.
Tommy Hedden looped it around the same place as Bobby Schwartz had in the previous race. Chris Manchester ran into him and also fell. In the rerun Chris touched the tapes. Chris's place in the rerun was taken by Krips. In the third attempt to run the race Faria and Bast were first from the gate, but Tommy Hedden found his was past Bart.

Heat 11: Bobby Hedden, Janniro, Hamill, Christian
The best race of the night, at least for Bobby Hedden. Janniro got the gate and took Billy Hamill out wide, while Hedden slipped through on the inside. Janniro spent 4 laps trying to catch Hedden, while holding the ex World Champ back. Neither an easy task. Again, Christian fell in last place.

Heat 12: Yarrow, Brant, Hicks, Kerr
3 weeks after his 18th birthday Bryan Yarrow got the gate with Chris Kerr close behind, holding back seasoned veterans Brant and Hicks. Brant got past Kerr, but was unable to pass Yarrow. On the last lap Kerr ran into the wall at the exit of turn 2, and took out Hicks. Hicks went down hard but was awarded third place. I am sure he would have preferred fourth without the pain.

Heat 13: Hamill, Brant, Faria, Schwartz
Another runaway victory for Hamill. Faria tried to get around Brant, without success.

Heat 14: Janniro, Bast, Yarrow, Castro
Janniro and Castro got the gate, but Castro found traction in turn 2 and hit the wall hard. Miraculously, he suffered only a cut leg and a banged up toe. Sevart replaced him in the rerun, which was won from the gate.

Heat 15: Larsen, Christian, Kerr, T. Hedden.

Heat 16: Manchester, B. Hedden, Fisher, Sevart.

Heat 17: Janniro, Manchester, Kerr, Schwartz.

Heat 18: B. Hedden, Brant, Bast, Larsen

Heat 19: Faria, Christian, Yarrow, Fisher

Heat 20: Hamill, Castro, T. Hedden, Krips

The points made the separation for the 4 groups easy.

D Final: Schwartz, Kerr.
Bobby Schwartz maintained his consistent form throughout the series of winning the D main. Fisher and Hicks were non starters. Ryan told me after the meeting, he had no excuses. No engine problems, he just had a bad night. I assume Gary did not ride after his fall.

C Final: Yarrow, Christian, Larsen, T. Hedden.
Bryan Yarrow made another great gate and ran off with this race. Behind him Larsen and Christian swapped second place, back and forth.

B Final: Castro, Brant, Manchester, Bast.
Despite his crash earlier, Eddie won the B main. Manchester got the gate, and lead from turn one, but over the next 4 laps slipped to third.

A Final: Hamill, B. Hedden, Janniro, Faria
The first time out Janniro and Hamill gated, but Janniro hit the wall on the exit of turn 2, in spectacular fashion. In the rerun, Billy Hamill made no mistake and got out in front. Janniro was second and tried getting round the outside of Hamill. The next result was losing second place to Bobby Hedden.

Series totals after 3 rounds:
SB Au Au Tot
Billy Hamill 21 14 20 55
Billy Janniro 18 16 19 53
Mike Faria 9 19 14 42
Eddie Castro 14 10 12 36
Greg Hancock 16 20 - 36
Scott Brant 12 11 11 34
Chris Manchester 11 12 10 33
Bart Bast 6 9 9 24
Bobby Hedden 1 5 18 24
Josh Larsen 7 7 6 20
Ryan Fisher 10 8 0 18
Alan Christian - 6 7 13
Bobby Schwartz 4 4 4 12
Tommy Hedden 5 2 5 12
Gary Hicks 8 - 0 8
Chris Kerr - 3 3 6
Eric Carrillo 3 1 - 4
Randy Difrancisco 2 - - 2

So Billy Hamill retained his 2002 AMA National Championship title. The series rewarded consisten performance more than a one night event, particularly since one of the rounds was on another track. Second man Janniro was also second last year. But this year he was only second by 2 points and the series included a couple of races where Janniro finished ahead of Hamill. Billy Janniro has improved so much with his European experience, he is really now in a class above the US based riders. Third place last year went to Ryan Fisher. This year, veteran Mike Faria took it back, but the points gap is significant of the strides that Janniro has made.

Well as I always state at this time of the year, apart from the USA vs. The World on November 1, Northern California is back into the cultural vacuum again till next May. So I am back to the difficult task of finding other things to do. Last weekend after living in the US for 20 years, I tried my first game of American Football. Well, at the risk of upsetting some people, I will go on. First, it's a lot closer to rugby than football, but it's so slow. I was really impressed with the protective clothing they were wearing, they are better protected than most Speedway riders. But the real thing that prevents me getting into this sport is the cost. $20 car park, $60 admission, $7.50 beer, Speedway is such a bargain!!!

Gary Roberts - gary_rob@ix.netcom.com

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