Costa Mesa Speedway
Orange County Fairgrounds
Costa Mesa, California
40th U.S. National Championship
October 4, 2008 - Costa Mesa
By: Ryan Evans
Billy “The Kid” Janniro dominated his competition with a perfect night en route to capturing the SRA U.S. National Championship at Costa Mesa for the second time in his career.
Janniro’s unblemished score in the heats entitled him to first choice of starting position in the National Championship Final and he selected gate two. Under 21 National Champion Ricky Wells, who earned second choice by winning a three-rider runoff, picked gate one. Three-time National Champion Chris Manchester, in his only race meeting of the season, chose gate three after pondering gate five. Two-time National Champion Bobby “Boogaloo” Schwartz opted for gate five which left two-time National Champion Charlie “The Edge” Venegas in gate four.
Janniro exploded from the tapes and led everyone into turn one with Wells in tow and Schwartz on the outside. Janniro extended his lead on the back straight with Wells securing second and Manchester following him into third. Wells set his sights on the leader, but couldn’t get close enough to pose a serious threat. Janniro was first to the checkered flag, Wells finished second, Manchester was third, Venegas finished fourth, and Schwartz was fifth.
Combined with his perfect performance at the AMA National Championship Round in June, Janniro won all eleven races that he competed in at Costa Mesa in 2008. Janniro’s victory also makes him the undisputed U.S. Champion as he won the AMA National Championship last month. Billy Hamill, who accomplished the feat twice, is the only other rider to complete the double. However, Janniro is also the only rider to win every round of the AMA National Series and capture the SRA National Championship in the same season.
The heats began with Schwartz getting the best start. Manchester hounded Schwartz the entire race and his persistence paid off as Schwartz drifted wide in the final corner and allowed Manchester to steal the win.
Shawn McConnell began his evening with a victory over Jimmy Fishback in event two. Venegas cruised to his first victory in event three. Wells blistered the competition with an easy win in race four. Janniro gave a preview of the evening with a runaway win in the final heat of round one.
Fishback opened round two by holding off Schwartz for his first win. Venegas made it two wins in a row by holding off Nate Perkins and Mike Faria. Janniro impressively kept Wells at bay to earn his second straight win. Manchester used the outside on the first lap to get around Jason Ramirez and led the rest of the way for his second win. Bryan Yarrow pressured Shaun Harmatiuk for two laps before he succumbed to the pressure and allowed Yarrow to charge up the inside for the victory.
Mike “Spiderman” Bloom opened the third round with a win over J.T. Mabry and Robbie Sauer. Wells got back on the winning track with a win over Schwartz. Janniro left everyone in his wake and scored his third straight win.
Venegas used the outside to grab the lead ahead of Manchester in event 14. Manchester, seeking to repeat his success in event one, kept the pressure on Venegas for three laps. Venegas entered the final corner with the lead, but drifted wide in turn four. Manchester pounced on the opportunity and made an inside move while Venegas looked for traction on the outside. As both riders dashed to the finish line, Venegas found too much traction and lifted. That allowed Manchester to steal the victory by inches and brought the crowd to its feet in appreciation of the battle between the former champions.
Faria, struggling up to this point in the evening, was victorious over Russell Green in the final race of round three.
The final round began with McConnell getting his second win of the evening. Venegas beat Schwartz to complete the heats with 11 points. Wells defeated Yarrow in the next heat to match Venegas’s score. Fishback and Faria were battling for the lead in event 19 before Faria straightened up in turn three. Fishback pulled away for the win and by the time Faria recovered the other riders were too far past him to make up any ground.
The final heat brought the only two undefeated riders to the tapes, Janniro and Manchester. The winner would earn the first choice in the National Championship Final. Second place meant a three-rider runoff with Venegas and Wells for a guaranteed spot in the Final. Janniro made the best start and used the outside line to extend his lead with each lap over the inside-rider Manchester. Janniro took the win and earned first choice in the Final. Manchester’s second place relegated him to the runoff.
The three-rider runoff between Venegas, Wells, and Manchester would determine the final two guaranteed spots in the National Championship Final with third place going to the Last Chance. Seventeen year old Wells showed poise beyond his years as he used the outside in the first corner to take the lead and then held off the two former National Champions to get into the Final. Manchester finished second and was also in the Final while Venegas would have to use the Last Chance to get there.
The five-rider Semi would transfer one rider into the Last Chance. McConnell started on the pole and used it to get the best start. Costa Mesa’s top main-event winner of 2008 cruised to victory and prolonged his evening.
Venegas got the best start in the Last Chance race but Fishback found too much traction on the outside and went over backward in turn two. The red flag came out and Fishback was banished to the penalty line for the restart. Schwartz was first to turn one and clamped down on Venegas. The two riders remained in lockstep for four laps with Schwartz leading Venegas to the checkered flag and both riders moving into the Final.
The evening also featured two Youth races. In Second Division, Rocco Scopellite led all four laps and held off a late charge from River McDougall to earn the victory. Major Davis was third, Nicky Reimer finished fourth, and Samuel Ramirez was fifth.
Austin Novratil led the First Division Youth race before a mistake in turn four allowed Gino Manzares to go up the inside for the lead and the victory. Novratil held on for second and Brad Pappalardo finished third.
Although the National Championship is the biggest event on the Costa Mesa calendar, it is not the final event of the season. Costa Mesa’s 2008 season will conclude this Saturday with the Fall Classic.
Youth Second Division
9 – Rocco Scopellite
43 – River McDougall
999 – Major Davis
41 – Nicky Reimer
22 – Samuel Ramirez
Youth First Division
21 – Gino Manzares
8 – Austin Novratil
1 – Brad Pappalardo
U.S. National Championship Scoring 1 2 3 4 T
5e – Mikey Buman 0 0 0 1 1
6 – Shawn McConnell 3 1 0 3 7
8n – Bryan Yarrow 0 3 1 2 6
9 – Mike Faria 2 1 3 0 6
11 – Bobby Schwartz 2 2 2 2 8
13 – Nate Perkins 1 2 1 1 5
14n – Billy Janniro 3 3 3 3 12
17 – Robbie Sauer 0 0 1 0 1
21 – Brad Sauer 1 0 0 0 1
22 – Mike Bloom 0 0 3 1 4
25 – Jimmy Fishback 2 3 0 3 8
40n – Tommy Hedden 1 1 1 1 4
43 – Charlie Venegas 3 3 2 3 11
66 – Jason Ramirez 1 2 F 0 3
86 – Neil Facchini 2 1 R 2 5
93n – J.T. Mabry 0 0 2 1 3
130 – Chris Manchester 3 3 3 2 11
139 – Shaun Harmatiuk 2 2 2 2 8
142 – Ricky Wells 3 2 3 3 11
321 – Russell Green 1 1 2 0 4
120 – Doug Greyson (R) Did Not Ride
1: Manchester, Schwartz, Perkins, Buman
2: McConnell, Fishback, B.Sauer, R.Sauer
3: Venegas, Facchini, Green, Bloom
4: Wells, Harmatiuk, Hedden, Mabry
5: Janniro, Faria, Ramirez, Yarrow
6: Fishback, Schwartz, Hedden, Bloom
7: Venegas, Perkins, Faria, R.Sauer
8: Janniro, Wells, McConnell, Buman
9: Manchester, Ramirez, Green, Mabry
10: Yarrow, Harmatiuk, Facchini, B.Sauer
11: Bloom, Mabry, R.Sauer, Buman
12: Wells, Schwartz, Facchini (retired), Ramirez (fell)
13: Janniro, Harmatiuk, Perkins, Fishback
14: Manchester, Venegas, Yarrow, McConnell
15: Faria, Green, Hedden, B.Sauer
16: McConnell, Harmatiuk, Bloom, Ramirez
17: Venegas, Schwartz, Mabry, B.Sauer
18: Wells, Yarrow, Perkins, Green
19: Fishback, Facchini, Buman, Faria
20: Janniro, Manchester, Hedden, R.Sauer
Runoff: Wells, Manchester, Venegas
6 – Shawn McConnell
13 – Nate Perkins
8n – Bryan Yarrow
9 – Mike Faria
86 – Neil Facchini (fell, remounted)
Last Chance (restarted)
11 – Bobby Schwartz
43 – Charlie Venegas
6 – Shawn McConnell
139 – Shaun Harmatiuk
25 – Jimmy Fishback (penalty line) (fell)
U.S. National Championship Final
14n – Billy Janniro
142 – Ricky Wells
130 – Chris Manchester
43 – Charlie Venegas
11 – Bobby Schwartz