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2004 Ken Maely's Ranch
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Ken Maely's Ranch
Corona, California

2004 Gumball Ralley
February 29, 2004 - Ken Maely's Ranch
By: Ryan Evans

Ricky Wells

Ricky Wells captured the Billy Hamill Gumball Rally for the second consecutive year with a dramatic victory in the A Final to complete his perfect day at Maely's Ranch in Corona, California.

Winning all five of his heat races enabled Wells to have first gate selection. The 12 year old rider decided on gate two. Krystal Cramer, who scored 12 points, then chose the pole position. Jason Ramirez selected gate three which left Dale Facchini with gate four. The first start ended about 10 feet from the tapes as Ramirez lifted at the line and was thrown from his machine. Ramirez was able to get up after a couple minutes but would have to restart from the penalty line.

On the restart Cramer jumped into the lead with Wells in tow. Cramer hugged the inside line entering turn three while Wells shifted his attack to the outside. At the end of lap one Cramer held a slight lead. The two riders completed the second lap side-by-side this time with Wells holding the slight advantage. Wells firmly established himself in the lead on the backstraight, but the young lady remained immersed in the battle. Wells wouldn't be allowed a mistake and he was up to the challenge as he held on to win the title. Cramer finished second, Ramirez was third, and Facchini was fourth.

The Gumball Rally was resurrected last year by 1996 World Champion Billy Hamill. It is a two-day event with a training school with Hamill serving as teacher on Saturday and the race meeting on Sunday. The first Rally was held in 1983 and was Hamill's first meeting and is very sentimental to him. This year's event had an international flavor as Swedish Youth National Champion Simon Gustafsson, son of former Speedway Grand Prix rider Henka Gustafsson, and Smederna youth rider Linus Eklöf competed in the meeting.

Gustafsson blazed to an immaculate performance winning all five races in the 80cc competition. His experience and talent on the two-stroke machines was apparant as he never trailed in any of the races. Wells finished second in each 80cc race but the deficit to Gustafsson diminished with each round and he was right on his back fender at the conclusion of the final race. Eklöf had the misfortune of suffering an engine failure on his own machine prior to the meeting and struggled with the spare bike.

In 200cc action, Austin Novratil was the top scorer in the heats followed by Blake Bowen and Tamara Krips. In the A Final, however, Krips turned the tables by jumping into the lead and racing away with the win. Novratil finished second and Bowen was third. In the B Final, Gino Manzares was the victor with Joey Holt finishing second and Ricky Valdez finishing third.

Justin Boyle swept all four Under 21 Exhibition races which included a couple memorable highlights. In the first race, Boyle and 15 year old Tim Gomez battled within inches of each other for four laps with Boyle barely holding back Gomez. The other highlight was Dario Galvin stalking Gomez on the outside for two laps before getting around him on the third lap.

The overall winner in the 50cc-A Class was Jack Higginson, 50cc-B honors went to Braydan Galvin, and the 50cc-C Class was won by Nick Schoonover.

Gustafsson was out of the gate first in the initial 250 heat, but Wells went by on the inside for a lead he would never relinguish. Ramirez took the other heat in round one ahead of Cramer. Cramer turned the tables on Ramirez to begin round two while Wells made it two in a row by defeating Facchini. Wells defeated Ramirez in his round three heat while Cramer finished ahead of Northern California's Jay Ricketts to remain one point behind Wells. It was Cramer and Wells who were the victors in round four setting up a showdown in the final round. Facchini scored his lone victory to begin the final round while Wells remained perfect by winning the final race and Miles Calvin finished second with Cramer finishing third. In the B Final, Calvin was victorious over Ricketts.

In the first 200cc heat, Novratil passed Valdez on the second lap for the win while Bowen was a winner ahead of Holt. Bowen made it two straight by winning his second round heat with Krips winning the other heat. Valdez scored a victory in round three along with Novratil. Novratil booked his place in the A Final by winning his round four heat and Bowen did the same by winning his. Manzares was victorious in the B Final with Holt finishing second, and Valdez finishing third.

This year's Gumball Rally was the first since the passing of Ken Maely, whose ranch as hosted the event each year that it has been held. Maely had a positive impact on the lives of many speedway racers, but he had a special place in his heart for the young riders. He stated many times that he wanted to provide a place for the younger generation to have a positive diversion and his wish is living on.

50cc - A
  2 - Jack Higginson
  3 - Kylee Smith
  7 - Hayley Graf

50cc - B
  8 - Braydan Galvin
 64 - Parker Colston
    - Kurtis Hamill

50cc - C
  2 - Nick Schoonover
  7 - Alan Mohrmann
  3 - Larry Smith

Under 21 Scoring            	1     2    3     4          T
 18 - Justin Boyle          	3     3    3     3         12
 36 - Tim Gomez           	2     1    1     2          6
145 - Dario Galvin           	0     2    2     1          5
301 - Dale Facchini         	1     0    N     N          1

80cc Scoring            	1     2    3     4    5          T
  1 - Simon Gustafsson   	3     3    3     3    3         15
  2 - Linus Eklöf        	R     0    1     1    1          3
142 - Ricky Wells           	2     2    2     2    2         10
146 - Tyler Odom            	1     1    R     0    0          2

200cc Scoring          	        1     2    3     4          T
  5 - Ricky Valdez           	1     1    3     2          7
  8 - Austin Novratil         	3     2    3     3         11
 21 - Gino Manzares       	2     2    2     1          7
 69 - Blake Bowen          	3     3    1     3         10
114 - Joey Holt         	2     1    1     1          5
223 - Tamara Krips         	1     3    2     2          8

200cc B Final
 21 - Gino Manzares
114 - Joey Holt
  5 - Ricky Valdez

200cc A Final
223 - Tamara Krips
  8 - Austin Novratil
 69 - Blake Bowen

250cc Scoring          	        1    2    3     4    5          T
  1 - Simon Gustafsson          1    1    0     N    N          2
  2 - Linus Eklöf        	0    2    -     -     -         2
 27 - Krystal Cramer       	2    3    3     3    1         12
 29 - Jay Ricketts           	0    0    2     1    0          3
 66 - Jason Ramirez        	3    2    2     2    1         10
 99 - Miles Calvin              1    1    1     2    2          7
142 - Ricky Wells           	3    3    3     3    3         15
146 - Tyler Odom            	0    F    1     0    N          1
301 - Dale Facchini         	2    2    F     1    3          8

250cc B Final
 99 - Miles Calvin
 29 - Jay Ricketts
  1 - Simon Gustafsson   (non starter)
  2 - Linus Eklöf        (non starter)
146 - Tyler Odom         (non starter)

Gumball Rally Championship Final (restarted)
142 - Ricky Wells
 27 - Krystal Cramer
 66 - Jason Ramirez  (penalty line)
301 - Dale Facchini
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