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2007 Fast Fridays Speedway
Gold Country Fairgrounds
Auburn, California

2007 North American Under 21 World Qualifier and the 2007 Youth National Championship
Fast Fridays, Auburn, California USA - August 24, 2007
By Gary Roberts

Last night Fast Fridays hosted the 2007 North American Under 21 World Qualifier and the 2007 Youth National Championship. Both events had a field with a broad range of talent. The Under 21 comprised everyone from 40 yard first division riders to zero yard third division riders. The youth program has been less well supported in recent years and again riders from all three youth divisions competed.

Winner of the Under 21 was Ricky Wells, but it really came down to his last race, when he and Alex Marcucci came to the line with 11 points each from their first 4 rides. Marcucci got the gate, but Wells found his way past. Wells had earlier lost a point to JT Mabry and Marcucci lost his point to Dale Facchini. Kenny Ingalls, who had a couple of disappointing races, by his normal standards, was tied on points for third with New York state visitor Mikey Buman. Considering that Buman had only raced here once before as a youth rider, he put on an outstanding display to compete with the regulars. Ingalls was awarded the third place, since he beat Buman in his heat.

The evening started with even the top riders struggling with the track. In the first race, three top locals, Marcucci, Ingalls and Mabry found themselves following behind Southern California new comer John Marquez. Then just as Mabry passed him, he slid out, leaving Marcucci the job of finding a way past him, a job that Ingalls could not do. Facchini, another rider who has ridden well at Auburn in the past few weeks was only able to get third behind Hooten and Buman in the next race. Travis Henderson’s visit to Auburn last week paid off and he won his first two races, but his evening trailed after that, none the less finishing with 10 points.

Several riders will be thinking if only . . . . If Hooten’s Tire had not gone flat in his fourth race, he would have finished third. If Mabry had not fallen in the first race, he would have been tied for second.

Justin Boyle who won this event in 2004 ended the night with 2 points and an injured knee. He and Dale Facchini were locked in a hard battle for heat 11, when he found traction coming out of turn four and both went down. Facchini, who was runner up last year had only 2 points after two races, but came back to finish on 10.

The new Youth National Champion is Southern California ’s Jason Ramirez. Tied on 12 points were local riders Ben Essary, Cody Ciciarelli and Will Hilgenberg. Time constraints prevented a run-off so Essary, who had beaten the other two in the heats was awarded second and Ciciarelli third.

In the race where Essary, the local favorite, came up against Ramirez, his chain came off, while he was in second place. Ramirez made it look easy all evening, scoring a 15 points maximum and winning most races by half a lap. Ciciarelli and Hilgenberg both rode sensibly all evening, stacking up the points by finishing consistently first or second in all races. Thomas Reich and Russell Green had consistently good results, both finishing on 10 points. Bryce Starks, who has had several first division youth wins this year won two races, took a second behind Ramirez in another and fell in the other two, while leading. The ladies, Amber Felicio and Kendra Warren rode well. With two and one more youth Nationals ahead of them respectively, a female youth national winner is still a possibility.

Overall a good night of racing, some interesting previews to the 2020 AMA National Championship.

Unofficial scores:

2007 North American Under 21 World Qualifier

Ricky Wells 14; Alex Marcucci 13; Kenny Ingalls 11; Mikey Buman 11; Greg Hooten 10; Dale Facchini 10; Travis Henderson 10; JT Mabry 9; Scott York 7; John Marquez 7; Steven Reese 6; RJ Becerra 4; Ronny Woodsford 4; Justin Boyle 2; Tori Hubbert 1; Tom Fehrman 0; Michelle Fehrman (res) 0 (4 rides); John Randolf (res) 0 (2 rides).

2007 Youth National Championship

Jason Ramirez 15; Ben Essary 12; Cody Ciciarelli 12; Will Hilgenberg 12; Thomas Reich 10, Russell Green 10; Bryce Starks 8; Kendra Warren 7; Amber Felicio 6; Richard Crocker 6; Tanner Kane 6; Joey Holt 5; Jamison Dilkey 5; Tyler Warren 4; Joseph Dingle 1; Desi Fehrman (res) 1 (2 rides); Mitchell Johnson 0.

This was the first time that the under 21 was held at Fast Fridays. This was also the first time that Fast Fridays has held the Youth National on anything other than the track championship night. How successful was this event? In terms of giving a night of undivided attention to the youngsters, it did the job. In terms of providing fast, exciting and entertaining racing, I believe the standard of racing that these riders displayed exceeded most peoples’ expectations. In business terms for Fast Fridays, the stands were much thinner than on a regular night. When I was involved with running the youth program several parents used to ask why the youth did not get their own event, like they used to at Costa Mesa , back in the 80s. I think the number of spectators last night answered that question.

Next week it’s the final round of the AMA National Championship series, with Greg Hancock and Billy Hamill plus all the top Americans from this side of the pond.

Gary Roberts - gary_rob@ix.netcom.com

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