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2004 Fast Fridays Speedway
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Fast Fridays Speedway
Gold Country Fairgrounds
Auburn, California

October 30, 2004 - Fast Fridays, Auburn
By Gary Roberts

The annual USA vs. The World team event took place last Friday night.

Despite the wet and cold weather that we have suffered of late, the weather was kind to us for this event. On Thursday night Fast Fridays held a practice session to allow The World team some familiarity with the track. A couple of the US team showed up as well and agreed that the recent rain had made the track absolutely perfect. No the case 2 days later! For some reason it started off very slick, but did improve as the evening went on. A good crowd saw some good racing, with a lot of close finishes.

The result was a win for the US team by 77 points to 70. The program had 18 heats, with each member of the team getting 6 rides, followed by two final heats with weighted points.

Unofficial results from the 18 heats:

Bobby Hedden      3 3 3 3 3 2    17
Tommy Hedden      2 1 0 1 1 1     6
Bart Bast         2 2 1 2 1 2    10
Bryan Yarrow      0 1 2 1 3 3    10
Charlie Venegas   3 1 3 2 0 3    12
Chris Kerr        2 0 0 3 1 0     6

The World
Armando Castagna  0 3 1 0 2 2     8
Jonas Davidsson   1 0 2 2 0 0     5
Steve Johnston    1 2 2 3 2 2 3  15
Eric Carrillo     3 3 1 0 3 1 0  11
Darius Sledz      1 2 3 1 0 1     8
Bartek Bardecki   0 0 0 0 4

B main:
Bast, Venegas, Castagna, Sledz
Scores 6, 4, 2, 1

A main:
Carrillo, Johnston, Yarrow, B. Hedden
Scores 12, 8, 4, 2

Generally, both teams put on a good show. It was clear that the local riders had a definite home track advantage. Having said that, several US riders found difficulty with the track in the early heats.

Bobby Hedden looked unbeatable until his last heat race, when Steve Johnston got a better shot at the first turn, and Bobby could not get past him. In the A main Bobby fell on turn one and despite getting up quickly and back in the race, was a half lap behind. Charlie Venegas showed a lot of his old form, putting in a thorough effort in every race. Chris Kerr found too much traction coming out of turn 2 and put himself and Charlie into the wall. It looked nasty but both were quickly on their feet. Armando Castagna, a regular competitor in this event, took a fall when his rear chain came off. Again, he was quickly on his feet. Second time visitor, Steve Johnston put on a great show, as did World team Englishman Eric Carrillo. As a 50% American, he should be recruited for the US team next year! So another Northern Californian season comes to an end.

The 2004 season is not quite complete with events continuing in Southern California, in particular the Under 21 championship and the California State Youth Championship, which take place at the Grand, later this month.

The 2004 season was quite unique in the quality and quantity of ex-youth riders transferring to adult status. Fowler, Mabry, Marcucci, Easley (no sign of him so far this season, but he told me he would ride in the Under 21) from NorCal, and Gomez, Galvin, Facchini from So Cal. A lot of talent for one season. I predict a bright future for all of them, in years to come.

So its back to the ballet and the opera and the challenge of what to do to survive another off-season and wait till May 9, 2005, when Fast Fridays re-opens again.

Interleaved in Fast Fridays USA vs. The World event on Saturday was the USA vs. The World Youth Championship. Although youth racing has taken place each year during this event, this is a newly introduced title, attracting a top field of youth talent. All entrants were invitees, based on their performance during the Youth National Championship.

Unofficial results:

Qualifying heats:
Heat 1
1. Ricky Wells
2. Jason Ramirez
3. Miles Calvin
4. Ben Essary
Heat 2
1. Krystal Cramer
2. Jay Ricketts
3. Ricky Valdez
4. Tom Fehrman

Main event:
1. Ricky Wells
2. Krystal Cramer
3. Jay Ricketts
4. Jason Ramirez

1. Ben Essary
2. Tom Fehrman
3. Miles Calvin
4. Ricky Valdez

If there is sufficient interest, and weather permitting, we are hoping to run some youth events/ practice sessions in the Auburn/Grass Valley area. If anyone is interested, please contact me. Gary Roberts.

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