San Bernardino County Fairgrounds
14800 Seventh Street
2002 Opening Night
June 9, 2002
From Ryan Evans
Josh Larsen swept the program for a perfect 15 points to take the overall victory at Opening Night in Victorville on Sunday night.
First Division featured an all-scratch championship-style format, while the support divisions were in their typical handicap format. The evening started with Eddie Castro coming from the back to pass Gary Hicks and take the win in the opening race. Larsen ran away with his first victory in race two. Chris Manchester and Scott Brant were easy winners in races three and four, respectively.
The second round began with Shawn McConnell and Larsen battling for the lead on the first lap before McConnell slid off entering turn three and allowing Larsen to take the win. Hicks got his first win of the evening in the second race of the round. Event eight was a great battle between Manchester and Brant before Manchester suffered engine problems on the second lap. Brant went uncontested after that for his second win in as many races. Castro came from the back again, this time Bobby Schwartz was the victim as the diminutive rider kept pace with Larsen and Brant with six points.
Manchester showed that he may have solved his bike problems by opening round three with an easy victory. Race thirteen looked like a Scratch Main as Schwartz, Larsen, Brant, and Hicks all rolled to the tapes. Larsen and Brant entered with a perfect six points and Hicks had five. Larsen was away from the tapes first and Brant couldn't get close enough to put the heat on him. Larsen kept his score sheet perfect while Brant had to settle for second. Northern California's Chris Kerr scored an impressive victory over Andy Northrup in race 14. Castro was unable to keep pace with Larsen's perfect score as he finished third behind McConnell and Aden to end round three.
John Aden began round four with a win over Kitt Nay. Manchester was victorious over Hicks and McConnell in race 20. "Cowboy" Bobby Krips gated ahead of Larsen in race 21 and was holding the former World Finalist at bay throughout the first three laps. Just when it looked as if Larsen would drop his first point of the evening, Krips left an opening on the inside coming out of turn two the last time. The small opportunity was all Larsen needed as he blasted under Krips to take the lead and maintain his perfect score. Brant kept his hopes for the overall victory alive by winning race 22.
Brant started the final round with a victory to bring his total to 14 points. All he could do now was wait and hope that Larsen would be defeated. Hicks earned his second win of the evening by defeating Northrup in race 26. McConnell passed Schwartz to get the win in race 27. Race 28 would decide the overall winner of the evening. Larsen entered with a perfect 12 points, but it would not be an easy chore in his final race as he would have to face Manchester and Castro. Larsen and Manchester entered turn one together and exited turn two side-by-side, but Larsen had the inside and pulled ahead on the back straight. Manchester would never get close enough to mount a serious challenge. Larsen raced away with the win to cap his perfect night.
Although the overall winner was decided, the top four riders would come back on the track for the Denim Doctor Shootout. This is an extra "trophy dash" type of race, but there is some money and pride on the line. Larsen, Brant, Manchester, and Hicks would take their places at the tapes. At the start it was Hicks who had the best gate and he came off turn two with the lead. Brant was right behind him while Manchester and Larsen were at the back. Brant tried valiantly to supplant Hicks for the lead, but Hicks wasn't moving off the inside line. Hicks won the Shootout, Brant was second, Manchester was third, and Larsen was fourth.
Randy Kreps began the Support Main Event in the front and held the lead until the second lap when Doug Benjamin took over. Benjamin, who won the Support Main at Victorville's Spring Classic in April, was still in front when Billy Lyons went down forcing Terry McCurdy to lay his machine down and also forcing the referee to stop the race. Since more than half the laps were complete, the race was declared over with Benjamin getting credit for the victory. Jeff Blaydes was declared second, McCurdy was third, Kreps was fourth, Chad Newlee finished fifth, and Lyons was sixth.
Jason Botsford made his trip from Northern California a rewarding one as he put together four smooth laps to win the Support B Main Event. Tom Rossano was second, Mitch Melott finished third, Brian Hunt was fourth, Bryan Baichtal finished fifth, and Louis Hunt was sixth.
Victorville is promoted by Dukie Ermolenko and is located at the Wheel2Wheel Raceway on the San Bernardino County Fairgrounds. The track has been built with a different size and shape and is perpendicular to the original track. The track is approximately 1/8-mile with high banking in the corners. The track provides high speeds for it's size and several racing lines. Ermolenko's next event is scheduled for Sunday, June 23.
Support B Consolation (restarted)
240 - Hideaki Ota 10
350 - Kodiak Calkin 0
244 - DeWayne Stark 0
144 - Tom Hamilton 10
212 - Steve Dziadus 0 (retired)
119 - Jeffrey Badders 0 (non starter - restart)
Support B Main Event
229n - Jason Botsford 0
296 - Tom Rossano 10
124 - Mitch Melott 0
332 - Brian Hunt 10
112 - Bryan Baichtal 10
264 - Louis Hunt 0
118 - Scott Tidwell 0
112n - Devin DeFreece 0
131 - David Lynch 30
178 - Eloy Medellin 10
126 - Doug Lupo 0
Support Main Event (Ruled completed after 3 laps)
128 - Doug Benjamin 20
173 - Jeff Blaydes 30
158 - Terry McCurdy 20
165 - Randy Kreps 10
123 - Chad Newlee 20
321 - Billy Lyons 20
Denim Doctor Shootout
3 - Gary Hicks
10 - Scott Brant
1 - Chris Manchester
2 - Josh Larsen
Race Scoring 1 2 3 4 5 T
1 - Chris Manchester 3 E 3 3 2 11
2 - Josh Larsen 3 3 3 3 3 15
3 - Gary Hicks 2 3 0 2 3 10
6 - Shawn McConnell 2 0 3 1 3 9
7 - John Aden F 1 2 3 T 6
10 - Scott Brant 3 3 2 3 3 14
11 - Bobby Schwartz 0 2 1 1 2 6
13 - Kitt Nay 1 1 0 2 0 4
14 - Eddie Castro 3 3 1 T 1 8
17 - Robbie Sauer 0 0 0 F 0 0
21 - Brad Sauer 1 0 2 1 1 5
27n - Chris Kerr 2 1 3 F 2 8
139 - Shaun Harmatiuk 0 2 1 0 1 4
223 - Bobby Krips 2 2 0 2 1 7
243 - Sean McDougall 1 1 1 1 0 4
1: Castro, Hicks, Nay, Harmatiuk
2: Larsen, Kerr, McDougall, Aden (fell)
3: Manchester, Krips, Northrup, Schwartz
4: Brant, McConnell, B.Sauer, R.Sauer
6: Larsen, Northrup, Nay, McConnell (fell, remounted)
7: Hicks, Krips, McDougall, R.Sauer
8: Brant, Harmatiuk, Aden, Manchester (engine failure)
9: Castro, Schwartz, Kerr, B.Sauer
12: Manchester, B.Sauer, McDougall, Nay
13: Larsen, Brant, Schwartz, Hicks
14: Kerr, Northrup, Harmatiuk, R.Sauer
15: McConnell, Aden, Castro, Krips
19: Aden, Nay, Schwartz, R.Sauer
20: Manchester, Hicks, McConnell, Kerr
21: Larsen, Krips, B.Sauer, Harmatiuk
22: Brant, Northrup, McDougall, Castro (tape exclusion)
25: Brant, Kerr, Krips, Nay
26: Hicks, Northrup, B.Sauer (fell, remounted), Aden (tape exclusion)
27: McConnell, Schwartz, Harmatiuk, McDougall
28: Larsen, Manchester, Castro, R.Sauer