April 20, 2008 - Perris Raceway
By: Ryan Evans
Austin Novratil captured the biggest title of his Junior Speedway career with a perfect day to win the prestigious Gumball Rally Championship at Perris Raceway.
Novratil won all three of his heats and wisely selected the pole to start the main event. Gino Manzares picked gate two, Joey Holt chose gate three, which left New York’s Corey Brookes with the outside. Novratil got the best start with Manzares following him into turn one. Novratil led comfortably for two laps, but drifted off the groove on the third lap and Manzares tried to exploit the opening. Novratil calmly closed the door on Manzares and led at the white flag. Novratil carefully navigated the final lap and held off Manzares for the win. Holt finished third and Brookes was fourth.
Novratil won the opening heat with Junior National Champion Jason Ramirez winning the other round one heat. Ramirez was denied any points in the second round after causing the race stoppage with a crash involving Holt. Novratil won his second straight by defeating Manzares. Manzares earned his first win to start the final round and Novratil made it three for three with Ramirez falling for the second time which prevented defending Gumball Champion from making the main event.
The Juniors who qualified for the main event also earned the right to contest the Last of the Mohicans Last Junior Out Challenge. Manzares was the first to be eliminated and was followed by Brookes. Novratil beat Holt to turn one in the two-lap battle and led the entire way for the victory.
Defending Second Division Gumball Champion Chad Hoyt trapped the field in the Second Division Gumball Main Event and led lap one. Rocco Scopellite closed ground and put the heat on the leader. As the pair exited turn two the third time Hoyt left a little room on the inside that Scopellite tried to go through. Hoyt secured the lead entering turn three and led at the end of the third lap. Hoyt went wide again coming out of turn two and this time Scopellite made him pay with a burst up the inside to take the lead. Scopellite held on through the final corner and took the win. Hoyt finished second, Samuel Ramirez was third, and Major Davis finished fourth.
River McDougall went undefeated in his four races to capture the First Division Pee Wee Championship despite starting well behind the field. Jack Stout finished second in every race to earn second overall and Justin Hanson was third overall.
Erika Lyons won three of four races to win the Second Division Pee Wee Championship. Dean Carden scored a heat win and three second-place finishes to get second overall and Gino Scopellite captured third overall.
Shonny McConnell successfully defended her Powderpuff Championship with three wins out of four races despite being handicapped as much as half of a lap. Margi Hamill was runner-up for the second consecutive year and Emalee Pappalardo completed the podium of second-generation racers by finishing third overall.
A team racing exhibition was staged in conjunction with the Gumball Rally for the third straight year and featured teams named the Vikings and the Aces. Billy Janniro flew in from England to be part of the event. Janniro, who had competed in a match in England just two days before, thoroughly dominated the event with a fifteen point maximum to lead the Vikings to victory.
Janniro began the event with his first victory with Ricky Wells finishing second. The second race had three riders fall in separate incidents and when they finally sorted themselves out it was John Marquez getting the win with Jim Painter finishing second. Ramirez defeated Michael Hull for his first win of the day. The first round of team racing ended with Jimmy Fishback getting his first win to give the Vikings a 13-10 lead over the Aces.
Wells was victorious in race 12 and his teammate Greg Ayers finished third to get the Aces within one point. Janniro and Mike Bloom retaliated with a 5-1 which was backed up by a 4-2 from Fishback and Russell Green to push the lead to 24-17. Ayers scored his first win to cut the lead back to five.
Ramirez and Tim Gomez combined for a 5-1 to begin the third round and Janniro continued his dominance with a runaway win to make the score 35-24 in favor of the Vikings.
The next race proved to be the best of Team Challenge. Fishback and Wells battled side-by-side for over two laps with veteran Greg Ayers right on their heels. On the backstraight Ayers blasted up the inside of both riders, much to the delight of the spectators, and took the lead entering turn three. Both of the riders, who seemed to be stunned by the move, tried to no avail to catch Ayers who took his second win. Wells finished second for an Aces 5-1.
Hull and Novratil teamed up for a 4-2 to get the deficit back to five, but Janniro and Fishback answered with a 4-2 of their own over Wells and Dale Facchini. Ramirez, with his third win in four races, and Green sealed the match with a 5-1 in the penultimate team heat. Janniro completed his maximum in the final team race to complete the 50-39 Vikings victory.
Ayers was the first to be eliminated in the Last of the Mohicans Last Man Out Challenge and Fishback was next to be eliminated after falling in turn four. Gomez was the third rider out which left Janniro and Wells for the two-lap battle. Wells got the best start, but Janniro made a crisp cutback move to get under Wells in turn two and the race was effectively over at that point. Janniro pulled away for the win to keep his day perfect.
The Gumball Rally has become one of the biggest events on the American speedway calendar. The event organized by 1996 World Speedway Champion Billy “The Bullet” Hamill and Kelly Inman. Hamill holds a special place in his heart for the Gumball Rally because his first ever speedway race was at the inaugural Gumball Rally held at Ken Maely’s Ranch in 1983.
This year’s event garnered tremendous sponsorship from businesses and individuals who showed their support for the future stars of American Speedway. There was a great turnout of spectators which included speedway racers past and present as well as 2007 World Hillclimb Champion Robie Peterson. This marked the third consecutive year the event has been held at Perris Raceway.
Last of the Mohicans Last Junior Out Challenge
8 – Austin Novratil
4 – Joey Holt
70e – Corey Brookes
21 – Gino Manzares
Last of the Mohicans Last Man Out Challenge
14n – Billy Janniro
142 – Ricky Wells
30 – Tim Gomez
25 – Jimmy Fishback
99 – Greg Ayers
Vikings Team Scoring 1 2 3 4 5 T (50)
1 – Billy Janniro 3 3 3 3 3 15
2 – Mike Bloom 1 2’ 2 1 6+1
3 – Tim Gomez 1 0 2’ 2 5+1
4 – Jason Ramirez 3 2 3 3 11
5 – Jimmy Fishback 3 3 0 1 0 7
6 – Russell Green F 1 1 2’ 4+1
7 – Jim Painter 2 0 0 0 2
Aces Team Scoring 1 2 3 4 5 T (39)
1 – Ricky Wells 2 3 2’ 2 1’ 10+2
2 – Greg Ayers 0 1 3 3 7
3 – Michael Hull 2 2 2 3 2 11
4 – Travis Henderson 0 0 0 1 1
5 – Dale Facchini 2 0 0 0 2
6 – Austin Novratil F 1 1 1 3
7 – John Marquez 3 1’ 1 0 5+1
1: Janniro, Wells, Bloom, Ayers (4-2) (4-2)
2: Marquez, Painter (fell, remounted), Green (fell), Novratil (fell) (2-3) (6-5)
3: (restarted) Ramirez, Hull, Gomez (penalty line), Henderson (4-2) (10-7)
4: Fishback, Facchini, Marquez, Painter (3-3) (13-10)
12: Wells, Ramirez, Ayers, Gomez (fell, remounted) (2-4) (15-14)
13: (restarted) Janniro, Bloom, Novratil, Facchini (5-1) (20-15)
14: Fishback, Hull, Green, Henderson (4-2) (24-17)
15: Ayers, Bloom Marquez, Painter (2-4) (26-21)
23: Ramirez, Gomez, Novratil, Facchini (5-1) (31-22)
24: Janniro, Hull, Bloom, Henderson (4-2) (35-24)
25: Ayers, Wells, Green, Fishback (1-5) (36-29)
26: Hull, Gomez, Novratil, Painter (2-4) (38-33)
34: Janniro, Wells, Fishback, Facchini (4-2) (42-35)
35: Ramirez, Green, Henderson, Marquez (fell, remounted) (5-1) (47-36)
38: Janniro, Hull, Wells, Fishback (3-3) (50-39)
Second Division Pee Wee Overall
77 - Erika Lyons
2 - Dean Carden
7 - Gino Scopellite
22 - Brandon Larsen
43 - Kielen Venegas
111 - Seth Bloom
5 - Dane Inman
First Division Pee Wee Oveall
43 - River McDougall
5 - Jack Stout
23 - Justin Hanson
35 - Anthony Reed
00 - Hayden Earwood
12 - Nathan Remington
53 - Garrett Reed
15 - Zach Adams
5 - Shonny McConnell
12 - Margi Hamill
611 - Emalee Pappalardo
288 - Cassi Novratil
7 - Kylie Ayers
43 - Anissa Venegas
178 - Cassandra Medellin
8 - Kylee Evans
Second Division Junior Scoring 1 2 3 T
9 – Rocco Scopellite 3 3 2 8
13 – Gabe Price 2 1 1 4
22 – Samuel Ramirez F 3 2 5
43 – River McDougall 1 1 1 3
77 – Erika Lyons 1 2 0 3
154 – Chad Hoyt 3 F 3 6
999 – Major Davis 2 2 3 7
Second Division Junior Consolation
13 – Gabe Price
43 – River McDougall
77 – Erika Lyons
Second Division Junior Main Event
9 – Rocco Scopellite
154 – Chad Hoyt
22 – Samuel Ramirez
999 – Major Davis
First Division Junior Scoring 1 2 3 T
1 – Jason Ramirez 3 F F 3
4 – Joey Holt 0 3 2 5
8 – Austin Novratil 3 3 3 9
12 – Thomas Reich 1 R 2 3
21 – Gino Manzares 1 2 3 6
70e – Corey Brookes 2 2 1 5
611 – Brad Pappalardo 2 0 0 2
First Division Junior Consolation
12 – Thomas Reich
611 – Brad Pappalardo
1 – Jason Ramirez (non starter)
First Division Junior Main Event
8 – Austin Novratil
21 – Gino Manzares
4 – Joey Holt
70e – Corey Brookes