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2004 Costa Mesa Speedway
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Costa Mesa Speedway
Orange County Fairgrounds
Costa Mesa, California

Orange County Harley Blow-out!
May 22, 2004 - Costa Mesa
By: Steve Evans

Chris Manchester

Chris Manchester led from flag to Flag to win the Scratch Main, after a lightning fast gate. Castro's bike gave up at the gate, with the remaining four riders literally locked together like a train for 4 laps. Venegas came out of turn two in second and chose an outside line, which dropped him to fourth on the blue-grooved track. That promoted National Champion Scott Brant to 2nd with Mike Faria in third.

Andy Northrup led all eight laps to win the Handicap Main. The 40 yard line was crowded with six riders, but it was Northrup who led the ever-improving Shaun Harmatiuk from the 30 yard line into turn one and held a very solid inside line for eight laps. Harmatiuk was also on the rails in second, until his chain fell off midway through, giving McConnell second place. Venegas came in third, Manchester fourth, and Schwartz a distant fifth. Faria and Castro also pulled out with machine trouble.

The meeting saw the return, after 20 years out of the saddle of Danny "Bezerko" Becker. He hit the deck in both of his heats, yet gave his all and certainly was not afraid to mix it after such a big absence. I think the last time Becker raced was when he was teammates in 1983 with a certain unknown rookie called Sam Ermolenko!

It was an incident packed night at the 2004 "Orange County Harley Blowout" for the sellout 8,000 crowd. There were many fierce crashes. In handicap heat 2, Doug Greyson did a 180 & was collected head on by Justin Boyle. Both riders got up, Boyle in some pain, reverting to his spare bike. Then in Support Semi #1, Rudy Lauer had a scary brush with the wall on the home straight, losing control and being flung over the safety fence, ending up feet from the announcer. The crowd gave him a huge reception as he rose to his feet, though it was suspected he had a broken collar bone. In the Support Main Nate Perkins put the bike down exiting turn 4 to avoid a solid head on hit with the crash wall. Then in the Sidecar Main, in the first running, Danny & Chris careened across the infield, over the water hose supply which was then gushing into the air like a geyser until brought under control. In the restart, Joe Jones & Brandi McElroy were pouring smoke for four laps as they carved through the field, the engine erupting into flames with rider and passenger jumping to safety on the wind down lap! Never a dull night at speedway!

A first, perhaps, in Support heat one, when 16 year old phenomenon Dario Galvin fell & then remounted, passing all other riders to win the heat! Dario sure is one for the future!


Support B Main Event
115 - Mark Baldwin

Support Main Event
249 - John Stunkard
145 - Dario Galvin
240 - Heidaka Ota
389 - Nate Pekins	(fell)
113 - Mike McCarthy 	(fell)

Handicap Main Event
166 - Andy Northrup 	30
  6 - Shawn McConnell	40
 43 - Charlie Venegas	40
130 - Chris Manchester	40
 11 - Bobby Schwartz	40
  9 - Mike Faria	40	(engine failure)
139 - Shaun Harmatiuk	30	(retired)
 14 - Eddie Castro	40	(engine failure)

Last Chance
 14 - Eddie Castro
 11 - Bobby Schwartz
 24 - Bobby Krips
139 - Shaun Harmatiuk

Scratch Main Event
130 - Chris Manchester
  1 - Scott Brant
  9 - Mike Faria
 43 - Charlie Venegas
 14 - Eddie Castro	(engine failure at the gate)
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