San Bernardino County Fairgrounds
14800 Seventh Street
Sunday August 4, 2002
From Ryan Evans
Josh Larsen capped a near-perfect night by capturing the Scratch Main Event at Wheel2Wheel Raceway in Victorville Sunday night.
Three riders had entered the final race having dropped just one point each. Gary Hicks, Eddie Castro, and Larsen scored 11 of a possible 12 points in the preliminary heats. They were joined by Jeff Blaydes who had scored an impressive eight points to qualify for the main.
Castro lined up on the pole, Blaydes was in gate two, Hicks was in three, and Larsen was on the outside. Castro, Hicks, and Larsen entered turn one together and were three-wide in turn two. Larsen's outside line allowed him to take full advantage of the high banking as he surged ahead on the back straight. Castro tried the low line in turn three and made a little contact with Larsen. Castro went wide and Hicks moved into second. Larsen only led by a bike-length after lap one, but stretched his lead slightly on lap two. Castro went by Hicks for second and set his sights on Larsen. Castro closed in over the last two laps, but the former World Finalist was never bothered as he took the win. Castro settled for second, Hicks was third, and Blaydes finished fourth.
In the Scratch Consolation Shaun Harmatiuk made a brilliant start from gate three and took the lead ahead of Bryan Yarrow and Bobby Krips. Yarrow and Krips put the pressure on Harmatiuk throughout lap one, but neither could get past. As Yarrow and Krips began to battle each other for second, Harmatiuk pulled away for the win. Yarrow finished second, Krips was third, and Doug Benjamin was fourth.
Round one began with Larsen getting an easy victory over Blaydes and track promoter Dukie Ermolenko. Hicks gated ahead of Castro and Yarrow, and despite Castro's best effort to get by, he was able to hold on for the win. Krips closed out the first round with a victory over Harmatiuk.
Yarrow started round two by getting an easy victory. Hicks made it two for two by cruising to the win in race 13. Castro earned his first victory of the evening with a convincing win over Larsen to end round two.
Hicks remained perfect by winning the opening race of round three. Larsen regained his winning stride in defeating teenagers Harmatiuk and Yarrow in the next race. Castro defeated Krips to finish the third round.
Blaydes put himself in a good position to qualify for the main by winning the opening race of the final round. The next race was a showdown between Hicks, who had been perfect all night, and Larsen who had only dropped one point. Drama unfolded as Hicks pulled to the line and discovered his bike was on fire. Hicks and track officials helped douse the flames and Hicks remounted for the start.
Hicks jumped into the lead while Larsen tried the outside on the back straight before dropping to the low line in turn three. Hicks held off Larsen on lap one, but Larsen wasn't giving up that easily. Larsen went high again in turn one and remained up there to get a good run on the back straight. Entering turn three Larsen was alongside Hicks and proceeded to pass him on the outside in turn four. The move brought cheers from the crowd and Larsen pulled away for the win.
Castro was an easy winner in the final preliminary race to complete the three-way tie at the top.
The field for the Second Division Main Event was made up of Rod Lenz, who had scored 11 points, Tomasz Hampel with 10 points, Devin DeFreece with eight points, and Randy Kreps, also with eight points. DeFreece got the best start and took the lead on the first lap. DeFreece drifted wide in turn three on the second lap and Lenz made his move. Lenz took the lead exiting turn four. Lenz held off DeFreece the rest of the way for a hard-fought victory. Kreps finished third and Hampel was fourth.
10 - Tim Gomez
3 - Justin Boyle
Second Division Heat Scoring 1 2 3 4 T
109 - Jeff Archer 1 0 0 Fx 1
112 - Bryan Baichtal 2 3 1 0 6
112n - Devin DeFreece 0 3 3 2 8
124 - Mitch Melott F E 0 1 1
144 - Tom Hamilton 0 2 1 1 4
165 - Randy Kreps 2 2 2 2 8
174 - Tomasz Hampel 3 3 1 3 10
196 - Rod Lenz 3 2 3 3 11
227 - Mark Robertson 1 1 2 0 4
244 - DeWayne Stark 1 1 3 1 6
269 - Ed Martinez 3 1 0 2 6
296 - Tom Rossano 2 0 2 3 7
Second Division Consolation
244 - DeWayne Stark
112 - Bryan Baichtal (fell, remounted)
296 - Tom Rossano (fell)
269 - Ed Martinez (non starter)
Second Division Main Event
196 - Rod Lenz
112n - Devin DeFreece
165 - Randy Kreps
174 - Tomasz Hampel
First Division Heat Scoring 1 2 3 4 T
2 - Josh Larsen 3 2 3 3 11
3 - Gary Hicks 3 3 3 2 11
8n - Bryan Yarrow 1 3 1 2 7
14 - Eddie Castro 2 3 3 3 11
15 - Dukie Ermolenko 1 0 1 1 3
24 - Bobby Krips 3 1 2 1 7
106 - Robert Fiesler 0 0 0 1 1
123 - Chad Newlee 0 1 0 2 3
128 - Doug Benjamin 1 2 1 0 4
139 - Shaun Harmatiuk 2 2 2 0 6
173 - Jeff Blaydes 2 1 2 3 8
4: Larsen, Blaydes, Ermolenko, Newlee
5: Hicks, Castro, Yarrow
6: Krips, Harmatiuk, Benjamin, Fiesler
12: Yarrow, Benjamin, Blaydes, Fiesler
13: Hicks, Harmatiuk, Newlee
14: Castro, Larsen, Krips, Ermolenko
19: Hicks, Blaydes, Ermolenko, Fiesler
20: Larsen, Harmatiuk, Yarrow
21: Castro, Krips, Benjamin, Newlee
27: Blaydes, Newlee, Fiesler
28: Larsen, Hicks, Krips, Harmatiuk
29: Castro, Yarrow, Ermolenko, Benjamin
139 - Shaun Harmatiuk
8n - Bryan Yarrow
24 - Bobby Krips
128 - Doug Benjamin (engine failure)
Scratch Main Event
2 - Josh Larsen
14 - Eddie Castro
3 - Gary Hicks
173 - Jeff Blaydes