Costa Mesa Speedway
31st Fair Derby
Orange County Fairgrounds
Costa Mesa, California
Costa Mesa Speedway
July 11, 2003
From Ryan Evans
Mike Faria capped a spectacular evening of racing by defeating National Champion Billy "The Bullet" Hamill to win his sixth Fair Derby Championship at Costa Mesa Friday night.
Hamill had first choice of gate position and selected the pole. Scott Brant chose second and picked the outside. Faria was next and chose gate two. Gary Hicks picked gate three, which left Eddie Castro with gate four.
When the tapes went up Hamill was first into turn one with Faria in tow. As he got to turn two Hamill drifted a little wide and Faria shot to the inside of the former World Champion. They entered turn three side by side and completed the first lap in the same fashion with Hamill trying to make the outside work and Faria riding along the inside. Their inside-outside duel continued throughout the second lap, but on the back straight of the third lap Faria finally surged ahead. Hamill made another effort around the outside, but as they took the white flag Faria had the lead secured and Hamill slotted in behind the former National Champion. Faria was first to the checkered flag, Hamill was second, Hicks finished third, Brant was fourth, and Castro finished fifth.
The format for the Fair Derby was the same as what was used in the Olympique last month. Three rounds of five-man preliminary heats with the first round being scratch racing. Rounds two and three use an earned-handicap format in which the rider is handicapped 10 yards for every rider he beat in the previous round. The top ten point scorers transferred to the two five-man semis which reverted back to the scratch format. The top two finishers in each semi transferred to the Fair Derby Main Event with third and fourth transferring to the Last Chance. The winner of the Last Chance completed the field for the five-man Fair Derby Main Event. The format provided some awesome racing in rounds two and three.
Bobby "Boogaloo" Schwartz began the evening by cruising to victory. Faria held off Shawn McConnell to win race two. Brant was in easy victor in the third race. Hamill acclimated himself to the 185 yard bullring quickly as he raced away from Castro to close out round one with a win.
Anyone who witnessed round two will be talking about what they saw for a long time. The round featured some incredible outside passing and the fans spent more time out of their seats than in them.
The first race of the round had Hicks on the 20 yard line and Castro on the 30. Hicks chose to attack Justin Boyle and Jonathan Curry from the inside. The two young riders held their ground on the first lap and bottled up Hicks. Anyone who has seen Castro perform knew he was going to the dirt on the outside. Castro went to the outset and stayed out there the first lap. He went around Hicks and made a big sweep through turns one and two again and passed Boyle and Curry to take the lead on the back straight before diving to the pole in turn three. It was all Castro from there as he cruised to the victory.
Steve Murray started at the tapes in race 10 and held the early lead. McConnell, who had started on the thirty yard line passed George Fox and then Paul Colston on the first two laps and set his sights on Murray. As they entered turn three Murray fell and McConnell went by for the lead and held it to the checkered flag.
Race 11 had Brant and Faria starting on the forty and they both had the outside line as their target. Faria beat Brant to the first corner and immediately went to the outside and began passing the front markers one at a time. Faria had the lead on the second lap, but Brant had been held up. Randy DiFrancesco held second and Brant used the outside to try to pass him. Faria crossed the line first, but DiFrancesco and Brant battled all the way to the stripe. DiFrancesco was declared second after the tough battle.
The last race of the round certainly had the fans wondering if Hamill could match the exploits of the back yardage riders from the previous three races. Andy Northrup had started on the 20 yard line and took the lead on the second lap. Hamill struggled to get past anyone on the first lap but he used the outside and found himself behind Northrup on the second lap. Hamill stayed on the outside on lap three and inched ahead as they took the white flag. Hamill dropped down in front of Northrup entering turn one with only inches separating the two. Hamill went on to collect his second victory of the night.
The outside action of round two must've inspired Bobby Krips because he used the same line to acquire the lead in the opening race of round three. Krips then held off Hicks to take the win. Northrup got his first victory in race 16 just ahead of Castro and McConnell. Brant earned his second win of the evening in race 17 to bring his point total to 10.
The final preliminary race brought a lot of anticipation as it pitted the only two undefeated riders against each other, Hamill and Faria. In addition, they would both line up on the 40 yard line. After the fireworks of round two, everyone knew they were going to see something spectacular. Hamill built the suspense up further by being banished to the 60 yard line for rolling the start. There was a good battle at the front between John Stunkard, Paul Colston, and Boyle. Faria lost his advantage on Hamill when he got caught up on the inside of the pack on lap two. Hamill raced by on the outside and went after the rest of the field. Boyle and Stunkard entered turn three shoulder to shoulder and forced Hamill to go extremely wide and allowed Faria to make up some ground on the inside. Hamill went around Stunkard on the third lap and set his sights on Boyle. The 17 year old rider kept his composure while Hamill made a desperate attempt on the outside in the final corner. Hamill came up inches short as Boyle impressively held him back. Faria finished third, just a bike-length behind.
In the first semi, Brant and Schwartz entered turn one together with Brant on the inside and Schwartz on the outside. They remained side by side through lap one, but Schwartz bobbled slightly in turn two which allowed Hicks to take second. Brant took the win ahead of Hicks and they went to the main event. In the second semi, Hamill used the pole to shoot into the lead just ahead of Faria. Faria remained close to Hamill, but couldn't force a mistake and Hamill took the victory. Faria held on to second and also booked his place in the main. Castro won the Last Chance Race to take the final position in the main.
The first attempt to start the Support Main Event got no further than turn one as three riders went down. When the riders lined up again Rudy Laurer touched the tapes and was penalized 20 yards. When the tapes finally went up again Billy Braden jumped into the lead and held it after lap one. Laurer went through the pack swiftly and was in second on lap two. Laurer put the pressure on Braden the rest of the way, but couldn't force a mistake and Braden went on to take his first victory of 2003. Laurer had to settle for second, Chris Metoyer was third, Shane Kump was credited with fourth, and Doug Benjamin was credited with fifth.
The Fair Derby is one of the most prestigious championships in the United States. It has been held in conjunction with the Orange County Fair since 1970 and the trophy is a hat once belonging to Sonny Nutter that has been bronzed and mounted on a plaque.
The first winner of the Fair Derby, North American Jawa distributor "Wild" Bill Cody, was in attendance Friday night and received a very warm reception when introduced to the fans.
There will be no racing at Costa Mesa the next three weekends due to the fair. Racing will return to the world famous oval on Saturday, August 9 when the Freestyle Motocross Jumpers will make another appearance.
338 - Dave Delbridge
176 - Carl Gazafy
269 - Ed Martinez
185 - Keith Mullally
332 - Brian Hunt
106 - Robert Fiesler
161 - Hector Quevedo
118 - Scott Tidwell
178 - Eloy Medellin
100 - Phil Harmatiuk (fell)
Support Last Chance
128 - Doug Benjamin
165 - Randy Kreps
164 - Rusty Hall
389 - Nate Perkins (fell, remounted)
Support Main Event (restarted)
117 - Billy Braden
182 - Rudy Laurer (tape penalty)
148 - Chris Metoyer
228 - Shane Kump (retired)
128 - Doug Benjamin (retired)
First Division Scoring 1 2 3 T
1 - Billy Hamill 4 4 3 11
3 - Gary Hicks 2 3 3 8
6 - Shawn McConnell 3 4 2 9
9 - Mike Faria 4 4 2 10
10 - Scott Brant 4 2 4 10
11 - Bobby Schwartz 4 3 1 8
12 - Randy DiFrancesco 3 3 2 8
14 - Eddie Castro 3 4 3 10
23 - Mark Adams 2 1 1 4
24 - Bobby Krips 1 2 4 7
29 - George Fox 2 1 1 4
31n - Jonathan Curry 0 0 F 0
64 - Paul Colston 1 2 0 3
89 - Danny Perkins 1 1 2 4
139 - Shaun Harmatiuk 3 2 3 8
166 - Andy Northrup 2 3 4 9
197 - Justin Boyle 1 1 4 6
214 - Steve Murray 0 F 0 0
249 - John Stunkard 0 0 1 1
293 - Rick Valdez 0 0 0 0
1: Schwartz, DiFrancesco, Hicks, Perkins, Murray
2: Faria, McConnell, Northrup, Boyle, Stunkard
3: Brant, Harmatiuk, Fox, Krips, Valdez
4: Hamill, Castro, Adams, Colston, Curry
9: Castro , Hicks , Harmatiuk , Boyle , Curry 
10: McConnell , Schwartz , Colston , Fox  (fell, remounted), Murray  (fell)
11: Faria , DiFrancesco , Brant , Adams , Stunkard 
12: Hamill , Northrup , Krips , Perkins , Valdez 
15: Krips , Hicks , DiFrancesco , Fox , Valdez 
16: Northrup , Castro , McConnell , Adams , Curry  (fell)
17: Brant , Harmatiuk , Perkins , Schwartz , Murray 
18: Boyle , Hamill  (penalty line), Faria , Stunkard , Colston 
Semi-Final #1: Brant, Hicks, Castro, Schwartz, Northrup
Semi-Final #2: Hamill, Faria, McConnell, Harmatiuk, DiFrancesco (fell)
Last Chance: (awarded) Castro, Schwartz, McConnell, Harmatiuk (retired)
Fair Derby Main Event
9 - Mike Faria
1 - Billy Hamill
3 - Gary Hicks
10 - Scott Brant
14 - Eddie Castro
1970 - Bill Cody 1987 - Mike Faria
1971 - Sonny Nutter 1988 - Shawn McConnell
1972 - Rick Woods 1989 - Steve Lucero
1973 - not contested 1990 - Bobby Schwartz
1974 - not contested 1991 - Phil Collins
1975 - Mike Curoso 1992 - Mike Faria
1976 - Bruce Penhall 1993 - Bobby Schwartz
1977 - not contested 1994 - Bobby Schwartz
1978 - Bobby Schwartz 1995 - Steve Lucero
1979 - Alan Christian 1996 - Robert Pfetzing
1980 - Mike Muntean (handicap race) 1997 - Shawn McConnell
1981 - Lance King 1998 - Bobby Schwartz
1982 - Mike Bast 1999 - Mike Faria
1983 - Kelly Moran 2000 - Charlie Venegas
1984 - John Sandona 2001 - Josh Larsen
1985 - Robert Pfetzing 2002 - Mike Faria
1986 - Mike Faria