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2006 Fast Fridays Speedway
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Fast Fridays Speedway
Gold Country Fairgrounds
Auburn, California

Fast Fridays, Auburn, California USA - July 21, 2006
By Gary Roberts

Last night there was more exciting racing from Fast Fridays Speedway, with the annual North verses South. The final result was that the North Team beat the South Team for the sixth consecutive year. Both sides were down on strength from previous years.

Both sides were down on strength from previous years. The North missed retired Bobby Hedden and injured Bart Bast. The South were without Chris Manchester and Ryan Fisher, both still suffering from early season injuries. All four of these riders have been past top scorers in this annual event.

The North had the benefit of the on-form pairing of Bryan Yarrow and Tommy Hedden and the experience of Mike Faria and Chad Felicio. The South had the experience of Charlie Venegas, Buck Blair and Nate Perkins, all three have been regular contenders at Fast Fridays this season. The South also had the benefit of a last minute addition, a retired veteran, who is always exciting to watch and always on form, a former World Finalist, John Cook. How did he qualify for the South team? He was born in Van Nuys and was a many year Los Angeles resident in his earlier career.

Despite the 100+ degree weather, the track was well prepared and got better as the evening went on.


Mike Faria 2 1 2 3 2 2 12
TJ Fowler 1 3 1 2 1 0 7
Chad Felicio 2 2 3 2 1 2 12
Matt Becker 1 1 0 1 0 1 4
Bryan Yarrow 3 3 1 2 3 3 15
Tommy Hedden 1 2 3 3 1 2 12

Bobby Schwartz 0 0 0 0 - 1 1
John Cook 3 3 2 1 2 0 11
Charlie Venegas 3 1 3 0 0 3 10
Nate Perkins 0 0 0 3 2 1 6
Buck Blair 2 2 1 1 6 3 3 18
Shawn Harmatiuk 0 0 2 0 0 1 3

Heat details:
Heat 1: Cook, Faria, Fowler, Schwartz; 3-3
Cook gated from the outside position, took the lead in the first turn and kept it for 4 laps.

Heat 2: Venegas, Felicio, Becker, Perkins; 6-6
Perkins, in the outside gate position looped his machine and the race was stopped. He restarted from a penalty line. Venegas got the gate and was chased closely for the rest of the race by Felicio.

Heat 3: Yarrow, Blair, Hedden, Harmatiuk; 10-8
Yarrow from the gate.

Heat 4: Cook, Felicio, Becker, Schwartz; 13-11
Felicio lead until turn 1 lap 4, when Cook eased past him.

Heat 5: Yarrow, Hedden, Venegas, Perkins; 18-12
Yarrow got the gate, followed by Venegas. Hedden took second place on lap 2.

Heat 6: Fowler, Blair, Faria, Harmatiuk;22-14
Fowler fell in turn 1. The race was stopped and a complete restart ordered. In the restart Blair got the gate and lead for 2 laps before Fowler got past.

Heat 7: Hedden, Cook, Yarrow, Schwartz; 26-16
Hedden and Yarrow got the gate. Cook overtook Yarrow on the outside and tried unsuccessfully to do the same with Hedden.

Heat 8: Venegas, Faria, Fowler, Perkins; 29-19
Venegas got gate with Fowler close behind. Faria moved past Fowler, but could not catch Venegas.

Heat 9: Felicio, Harmatiuk, Blair, Becker; 32-22
Felicio got the gate, Blair was left in last place at the start, but got past Becker on lap 3.

Heat 10: Faria, Fowler, Cook, Schwartz; 37-23
Schwartz made one of his perfect gates, but somehow managed to lose 3 positions before the end of lap 1. Cook passed Fowler on the outside and as working on Faria. The 3 took the last turn side by side, and Fowler managed to retrieve second place. This was probably the best race of the night with an extremely close finish.

Heat 11: Perkins, Felicio, Becker, Venegas; 40-26
Venegas fell in turn 2.

Heat 12: Hedden, Yarrow, Blair, Harmatiuk; 45-27
Yarrow and Hedden team rode.

Heat 13: Blair, Cook, Felicio, Becker; 46-35
It was at this point in the event where a rule from the British League was applied. To help a team that is behind catch up, the joker can be introduced, which doubles a rider's score for that race. It can only be used once during an event. Buck Blair came in for Bobby Schwartz with a joker. It paid off. Felicio got the gate, Blair passed on lap 1 back straight. Cook got past Felicio to take second place. This gave the South team their only 5-1, which with Buck Blair's joker counted as 8-1.

Heat 14: Yarrow, Perkins, Hedden, Venegas; 50-37
Yarrow got the gate with Venegas following, but Venegas lost 2 places.

Heat 15: Blair, Faria, Fowler, Harmatiuk; 53-40
Faria got the gate, but again, Blair took advantage on the first lap back straight.

Heat 16: Yarrow, Hedden, Schwartz, Cook; 58-41
Cook fell in the first corner and the race was restarted. Yarrow took the gate with Schwartz behind him. Schwartz moved back to last, Cook passed Hedden, then fell.

Heat 17: Venegas, Faria, Perkins, Fowler; 60-45
Order remained from the gate.

Heat 18: Blair, Felicio, Harmatiuk, Becker; 62-49
Order remained from the gate.

So the score was 62 to 49 at the end of the regular scoring program. Because of the weighted scoring in the A and B main event races, it was still possible for the South to pull off a win.

The B Main had Chad Felicio and TJ Fowler, for the North and John Cook and Nate Perkins for the South. Felicio got the gate and looked to have a solid lead, but Perkins, who definitely got better as the evening went on, worked his way past Felicio while Cook used an outside line to challenge for second. However on lap 3 Cook went down, leaving the score at 68 to 56.

This made it still possible for the South to win, if they could take both places in the A main. Coming out for the North were on form Hedden and Yarrow. The South nominated Buck Blair and Charlie Venegas. Yarrow got the gate and although Blair made a challenge for second, it was not to be. The Hedden Yarrow partnership was too strong. These two riders have spent a lot of time together this year with their extremely successful trips to Southern California and it paid off for the North team, with a final score of 88 to 66.

The Youth North vs. South that had taken place for the past 3 years was not to be this year, but there were 4 youth races for Division 1 and Division 2 youth riders. This turned out to be an all Felicio evening, with Ricky Felicio being the high points scorer for Division 1, while sister Amber was victorious in Division 2.

Youth Division 1
Ben Essary 4 4 F 4 12
Cody Cicciarelli F F 1 2 3
Will Hilgenberg 0 2 3 1 6
Bryce Starks 0 - - - 0
Ricky Felicio 3 3 4 3 13

Youth Division 2
Tanner Kane 2 2 F 2 6
Thomas Reich 1 1 2 F 4
Amber Felicio 3 3 3 3 12
Ben Turner 0 - - - 0

Gary Roberts - gary_rob@ix.netcom.com

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