San Bernardino County Fairgrounds
14800 Seventh Street
2002 Spring Classic
April 28, 2002
From Ryan Evans
National Champion Chris Manchester turned in a dominant performance has a recorded a sweep of the program and was victorious in the Scratch Main as speedway returned to Victorville after five years.
Dukie Ermolenko, promoting under the name Elite Speedway Productions, brought speedway back to the San Bernardino County Fairgrounds in Victorville at the Wheel 2 Wheel Raceway built by John Aden. The new track runs perpendicular to the original track and is a 220 yard banked oval.
Manchester entered the Scratch Main with a perfect 12 points after 4 preliminary rounds. Eddie Castro, Gary Hicks, and Aden, who was returning to speedway after a two year layoff, had scored 10 points each in the preliminary rounds. At the start, Manchester blasted into the lead from the tapes and was never challenged as he cruised to the victory. Castro exited turn two in second and remained there for the duration of the race after a brief battle with Hicks. Hicks finished third and Aden was fourth.
The evening began with a race-long battle between Northern California's Tommy Hedden and Castro with Castro finally earning the victory. Race two was glimpse of what was in store for the evening as Manchester romped to an easy victory. Hicks closed out round one with a victory over Aden.
Round two started with Manchester earning another convincing victory, this time over Hicks. Bobby Krips was victorious in the next race and Aden finished the round by defeating Castro.
Manchester made it three for three to start the third round. Then Hedden earned the victory in race 13. Aden scored his second victory of the night to bring round three to a close.
Castro started round four with a victory and earned a place in the Scratch Main. Manchester kept his tally perfect by defeating Aden in the next race, but Aden would get another chance at Manchester in Scratch Main. Hicks booked the final place in the main by defeating Shawn McConnell to end the preliminary rounds.
Manchester wasn't the only dominant performer of the evening as Doug Benjamin followed up a strong performance in his heat with a Support Main Event victory. Marvin Sonnier finished second, Jeff Blaydes was third, Terry McCurdy finished fourth, Colorado's Chuck Johansen was fifth, and Rudy Laurer finished sixth.
Ed Martinez got a great start and ran away with the win in the Support B Main Event. Brian Hunt finished second, Mike Boyle was third, and Geoff Herkner finished fourth.
Junior National Champion T.J. Fowler stalked Ricky Wells before passing him as they took they white flag. Fowler then held off Wells to get the victory. Justin Boyle finished third, Krystal Cramer was fourth, and Bryan Earnhardt finished fifth.
Ermolenko has 10 races scheduled at Victorville for the 2002 season. The regular season will begin Sunday, June 9. Ermolenko's events are scheduled for every other Sunday evening through September 22 with the exception of two Saturday races in July.
Support B Consolation
127 - Mike Fontaine
212 - Steve Dziadus
124 - Mitch Melott (fell, remounted)
Support B Main Event
269 - Ed Martinez
332 - Brian Hunt
198 - Mike Boyle
208 - Geoff Herkner (fell, remounted)
165 - Randy Kreps 10
174 - Tomasz Hampel 10
131 - David Lynch 40
243 - Sean McDougall 40
248 - Mark DeVay 10
Support Main Event
128 - Doug Benjamin 10
52 - Marvin Sonnier 20
173 - Jeff Blaydes 30
158 - Terry McCurdy 20
45c - Chuck Johansen 20
182 - Rudy Laurer 30
Junior Main Event
1 - T.J. Fowler 40
142 - Ricky Wells 20
3 - Justin Boyle 40
27 - Krystal Cramer 20
8 - Bryan Earnhardt 0
First Division Scoring 1 2 3 4 T
1s - Chris Manchester 3 3 3 3 12
3 - Gary Hicks 3 2 2 3 10
6 - Shawn McConnell 1 0 1 2 4
7 - John Aden 2 3 3 2 10
11 - Bobby Schwartz 0 1 1 1 3
12 - Randy DiFrancesco R 0 E R 0
14 - Eddie Castro 3 2 2 3 10
21 - Brad Sauer 1 1 0 0 2
40n - Tommy Hedden 2 1 3 1 7
139 - Shaun Harmatiuk 0 0 1 1 2
223 - Bobby Krips 2 3 2 0 7
316 - John DeFries 1 2 F 2 5
1: Castro, Hedden, McConnell, Harmatiuk (fell, remounted)
2: Manchester, Krips, Sauer, DiFrancesco (retired)
3: Hicks, Aden, DeFries, Schwartz
7: Manchester, Hicks, Hedden, McConnell
8: Krips, DeFries, Sauer, Harmatiuk
9: Aden, Castro, Schwartz, DiFrancesco
12: Manchester, Hicks, Harmatiuk, DeFries (fell)
13: Hedden, Krips, Schwartz, DiFrancesco (engine failure)
14: Aden, Castro, McConnell, Sauer
16: Castro, DeFries, Hedden, Krips (fell, remounted)
17: Manchester, Aden, Harmatiuk, DiFrancesco (retired)
18: Hicks, McConnell, Schwartz, Sauer (fell, remounted)
Scratch Consolation: Schwartz, Sauer, Harmatiuk, DiFrancesco (nonstarter)
Scratch Consolation: McConnell, Hedden, Krips, DeFries
Scratch Main Event
1s - Chris Manchester
14 - Eddie Castro
3 - Gary Hicks
7 - John Aden