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

2003 USA vs. World Championship
November 1, 2003 - Fast Fridays, Auburn
By Gary Roberts

On Saturday night a large crowd were treated to the annual USA vs. The World at Fast Fridays Speedway in Auburn, California. In the three years of running this event, this was by far the most competitive one so far. The racing was close, the teams were equally matched, but it was bloody cold!!! From 90 degrees on Wednesday to 30 degrees yesterday morning, we skipped autumn and went directly to winter.

The World Team this year contained three very hard hitters, Belle Vue’s Steve Johnston, Swindon’s Charlie Gjedde and perennial seasoned veteran Italian Armando Castagna with back up from Poles Bartek Bardecki and Darius Sledz and New Zealander Michael Long. The US team was without last year’s Hamill, Janniro, Fisher and Bast, and maybe that’s what evened things up, but no complaints about the quality of the event.

Unofficial results:

Bobby Hedden     3 2 3 3 0 2  13
Tommy Hedden     1 1 1 1 1 1   6
Bryan Yarrow     3 3 0 3 3 2  14
Bob Hicks        1 0 1 1 1 1   5
John Cook        0 1 3 0 1 2   7
Eric Carrillo    1 2 2 1 2 0   8
The World
Bartek Bardecki 2 1 1 2 2 3  11
Darius Sledz     0 0 0 0 0 0   0
Armando Castagna 2 3 2 2 3 3  15
Michael Long     0 0 0 0 0 0   0
Charlie Gjedde   2 3 2 3 2 0  12
Steve Johnston   3 2 3 2 3 3  16

This brought the score to 54 to 53 in favor of the World team. Then came the B and A main events. These had weighted scoring.

B Main
T. Hedden, Castagna, Hicks, Bardecki
With scoring of 4, 3, 2, 1 it put the US in the lead by 59 to 58.

A Main
Johnston, Yarrow, B. Hedden, Gjedde
With scoring of 6, 4, 3, 2 the score was an even 66 to 66.

Not content with a draw, there was a run off.  Bobby Hedden beat Steve Johnston, with one of the few overtaking moves of the night. Johnston got the gate, but coming out of turn 2, Bobby found a path on the inside.

The track was more like a British league track than the normal Auburn track. There was very little dirt. This certainly played in the favor of the visitors. John Cook arrived with his notorious 22 inch wheel, which worked so well for him at the past 2 Costa Mesa Nationals and realizing there was no dirt on the outside resorted to a regular rear wheel. This had the corresponding result that most races were won from the gate. When Charlie Gjedde, who had been outstanding in his first 5 races, made a mistake coming out of turn 2 and went to last, he was unable to make up any places.

It must be remembered that most of these riders have never seen a small track like Auburn before. There was a practice session on Thursday night to acquaint them. Australia’s Steve Johnston took to the track instantly and was the star of the night. Charlie Gjedde, who has raced on Auburn sized tracks before, but as a youth on an 80cc 2-stroke, was also very good. Armando Castagna has been in this event since its inception and again demonstrated his mastery of the track.
For the US, Bryan Yarrow as outstanding. The experience gained from his weekly trips to Costa Mesa have paid off for him and this year he has moved from promising to dominating. Bobby Hedden, as always, had a great night.

There were casualties. Eric Carrillo hooked up in turn 2 hitting the wall hard but after a time on the ground walked away from it. I bet he will be sore today. Bryan Yarrow’s shoulder popped out in one race but he managed to get it back in to complete his successful evening.

The program was supplemented with some Youth Speedway races.

Unofficial results:

Main Event
1. TJ Fowler
2. JT Mabry
3. Krystal Cramer
4. Paul Johnson

Consolation Event
1. Alex Marcucci
2. Jay Ricketts
3. Mitchell Johnson

So there ends Fast Fridays Speedway for 2003.

But yesterday was also the birth of a new Speedway venue, in Chowchilla, on Highway 99, south of Sacramento. This is a covered track, with a covered pit area that will obviously not be affected by rain and with plans to run every Saturday until March. This will provide both practice sessions in the morning and racing in the afternoon for all riders. See www.speedwaybikes.com for more details. This is probably the best thing that has happened to Northern California speedway for a long time. Hopefully with additional and more practiced riders, a demand may be generated for a second track in 2004.

Gary Roberts - gary_rob@ix.netcom.com

    USA vs World Nov 1, 2003 Auburn, California    

Back row: Sledz, Bardecki, T. Hedden, Long, Castagna, Gjedde, Johnston
Front row: Carrillo, B. Hedden, Cook, Hicks, Yarrow

    USA vs World Nov 1, 2003 Auburn, California    
Opening Heat
Sledz, B Hedden, T Hedden, Bardecki.
Charlie Gjedde  Auburn Nov 2003   Armando Castagna Auburn 2003   Steve Johnston  Auburn 2003
Gjedde   Castagna   Johnston
Darius Sledz  Auburn Nov 2003   Michael Long  Auburn 2003   Bartek Bartechi  Auburn 2003
Sledz   Long   Bardecki
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