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2003 Fast Fridays Speedway
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Fast Fridays Speedway
Gold Country Fairgrounds
Auburn, California

AMA US Nationals Championship
September 26 2003 - Fast Fridays, Auburn
By Gary Roberts

Last night Fast Fridays hosted the second and final round of the AMA National Championship. The stands were packed to capacity, and the racing was first class. The results did not go as I think most were expecting and even selection of the overall winner came down to a run off, providing all the drama that one would hope for, from a top event.

From the first round Billy Hamill came in as leader, with Ryan Fisher in second place, Billy Janniro third and Greg Hancock fourth.

To start with the track was a little slick in some places and tacky in others, but it soon evened out and hand-watering and dragging every 4 Heats kept it in first class shape.

Everyone from the first round except Cam Rafferty showed up. Cam did not qualify in the top 14 in the previous round so would have gone through the pre-qualification process, and his place was taken by 16 year old Mark Carrillo. What a season Mark has had! From runner up in the Youth National Championship last year, into division 2 this year, up into division one, and finishing the season riding in the National.

Referee Steve "no nonsense" Lucero had a relatively easy night.

A minor change was made to the format of the pre-event qualifier to fill two floating positions and two reserve spots, on the 16 rider format. This was a reduction from 5 to 4 races, which did the necessary job.

Unofficial results:

Wildcard Heat 1
1. Mark Carrillo
2. JJ Martynse
3. Ivan Sevart
4. Chris Kerr

Chris Kerr fell while leading the first Heat and there ended his night.

Wildcard Heat 2
1. Bryan Yarrow
2.Bart Bardecki
3. Jim Estes
4. Bobby Krips

An easy win for Bryan Yarrow. An injury during the first round prevented him from scoring enough points to go straight into the event.

Wildcard Heat 3
1. Bart Bardecki
2. J.T. Martynse
3. Jim Estes
4. Ivan Sevart

Wildcard Final
1. Bryan Yarrow
2. Bart Bardecki
3. Mark Carrillo
4. J.T. Martynse
This put Yarrow and Bardecki into the main program and Carrillo became first reserve, Martynse second reserve.

Heat 1 - Manchester, B. Hedden, Janniro, Castro
Janniro lost the battle at the gate, but tried every line he knew, for 4 laps.
Heat 2 - Hancock, Venegas, Brant, Yarrow
Heat 3 -Faria, Bast, E. Carrillo, Schwartz
Heat 4 - Fisher, T. Hedden, Hamill, Bardecki
Hamill suffered the same as Janniro did in Heat 1.
Heat 5 - Hamill, Manchester, Venegas, E. Carrillo
Heat 6 - Yarrow, Bobby Hedden, J.J Martynse, M Carrillo
First time out Bobby Schwartz fell going into turn one and ended his evening. In the first re-run Tommy Hedden went down so was disqualified form the re-run.
J.J Martynse was in for Tommy Hedden, Mark Carrillo in for Schwartz.
Heat 7 - Faria, Janniro, Fisher, Brant
The best race of the night, if not the season. All 4 packed together for 4 laps, Janniro and Fisher swapping places each lap, with veteran Faria taking the win.
Heat 8 - Hancock, Castro, Bast, Bardecki.
Heat 9 - Faria, Yarrow, Manchester, Bardecki
Heat 10 - Fisher, Bast, Venegas, B. Hedden
Heat 11 - Hancock, Janniro, T. Hedden, Carrillo
Heat 12 - Brant, Castro, M Carrillo, Hamill
Mark Carrillo in for Schwartz.
The mistake that cost Billy Hamill his title. Leading the race he found too much traction coming out of turn four and looped it. He was soon up and back on, but only after the other 3 had gone past.
Heat 13 - Brant, Bast, Manchester, T. Hedden
Heat 14 - Hamill, Hancock, B. Hedden, Faria
Heat 15 - Janniro, Bardecki, Venegas, M. Carrillo
Mark Carrillo in for Schwartz
Heat 16 - Fisher, Yarrow, Castro, E. Carrillo
Heat 17 - Hancock, Fisher, Manchester, M. Carrillo
Mark Carrillo in for Schwartz
Heat 18 - B. Hedden, Carrillo, Bardecki, Brant
This time it was Scott Brant’s turn to be turn 4 victim. First to last, and on the final turn.
Heat 19 - Janniro, Hamill, Bast, Yarrow
If Hamill had won, it would have meant a run off with Janniro for the last place in the A final. Janniro made no mistake at the gate and kept hard battling Hamill behind him.
Heat 20 - Faria, Castro, Venegas, T. Hedden

Points scored:
Greg Hancock        3 3 3 2 3  14
Mike Faria          3 3 3 0 3  12
Ryan Fisher         3 1 3 3 2  12
Billy Janniro       1 2 2 3 3  11
Billy Hamill        1 3 0 3 2   9
Bobby Hedden        2 2 0 1 3   8
Chris Manchester    3 2 1 1 1   8
Bart Bast           2 1 2 2 1   8
Scott Brant         1 0 3 3 0   7
Bryan Yarrow        0 3 2 2 0   7
Eddie Castro        0 2 2 1 2   7
Charlie Venegas     2 1 1 1 1   6
Tommy Hedden        2 0 1 0 0   3
Eric Carrillo       1 0 0 0 2   3
Bart Bardecki     0 0 0 2 1   3
Bobby Schwartz      0 0 - - -   0
Mark Carrillo (res) - 0 1 0 0   1
JJ Martynse  (res) - 1 - - -   1

The numbers broke down conveniently, requiring no run-offs for the A, B, C and D mains.

D final T. Hedden, E. Carrillo, Bardecki.
Schwartz, non starter, credited with 4th place.

C final Brant, Yarrow, Castro, Venegas

B final. Hamill, Bast, Manchester, B. Hedden

A final. Hancock, Fisher, Janniro, Faria

Series total after 2 rounds

Greg Hancock     14 21  35
Ryan Fisher      19 16  35
Billy Janniro    16 18  34
Billy Hamill     21 12  33
Mike Faria       11 14  25
Scott Brant      12  8  20
Bart Bast         9 11  20
Bobby Hedden     10  9  19
Chris Manchester  8 10  18
Charlie Venegas   7  5  12
Eddie Castro      5  6  11
Tommy Hedden      6  4  10
Bryan Yarrow      1  7   8
Eric Carrillo     3  3   6
Bobby Schwartz    4  1   5
Cam Rafferty       2  0   2
Bartek Bardecki  0  2   2

With only 2 points separating the top 4, the European based Americans were in a separate class. Ryan Fisher and Greg Hancock, tied on 35 meant a run-off for the title of AMA National Champion. Ryan got the pole and Greg the outside. It was a close gate, but Greg was first into the turn and that was the way it stayed. A well deserved win for Greg, he was certainly the best rider on the night. A great second place for Ryan, still only 19 and with an outstanding future. Billy Janniro, who rode hard in both rounds has certainly done more laps at Auburn over the years than Fisher, Hamill or Hancock. He left here 3 years ago a good rider, who would occasionally challenge Faria or Bast and now returns to easily take third place, ahead of all the regulars. What I am sure is a disappointing fourth for Billy Hamill, who looked unbeatable in the first round, but was not riding at the same level last night.

So Hamill and Hancock have, between them, held the AMA National Championship since the event moved up to Auburn. How much longer can they keep the youngsters at bay? Janniro and Fisher are more than ready to relieve them of the title, I for one would not be surprised to see a new name go on the silverware next year.

It encouraging to see both Billy Janniro and Ryan Fisher come back from Europe with the ability to ride at the top level. Next season at Fast Fridays 2001/2002 Youth National Champion T.J. Fowler moves up, along with top division 1 youth riders JT Mabry and Danny Easley. I expect T.J. Fowler to quickly rise to become a very competitive division 1 rider. Mabry and Easley will also be in division 1 before mid season. Northern California Speedway’s investment in Youth Speedway has really paid off in recent years. In addition to Janniro and Fisher, Yarrow, Eric and Mark Carrillo, Martynse, Kerr, Browne, Hooten are all continuing to improve as division 1 riders.

One more event at Fast Fridays before we finally go into hibernation. On Saturday November 1, they host the third annual USA verses the World. Fast Fridays promoter Dave Joiner sets off for Europe to recruit his World Team next week.

Gary Roberts - gary_rob@ix.netcom.com

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