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Fast Fridays Speedway
Gold Country Fairgrounds
Auburn, California

The South Snaps Civil War Skid
Janniro’s perfect night leads to big win for the visitors at Fast Fridays
By Michael Kirby (Story & Photos)
Auburn, California, USA, July 24, 2009

It was a classic speedway match-up Friday night at the Gold Country Fairground's Fast Friday's Speedway track in Auburn, as the South impressively beat the North in the yearly North vs. South motorcycle speedway battle. In a rivalry that began at Fast Friday’s in 1991 pitting six of the best riders from Southern California against Northern California’s six best speedway riders, the tradition of the North vs. South Speedway war continued Friday night as the two teams did battle once more. The North Vs South Challenge is a team-scoring event different from the weekly riding at Fast Friday’s, which is individual scoring.

For the North riders Bart Bast, Tommy Hedden, Kenny Ingalls, Bryce Starks, Greg Hooten, and Mark Carrillo took on Charlie Venegas, Billy Janniro, Bryan Yarrow, Jimmy Fishback, Tyson Burmeister, and Jason Ramirez of the South in 18 heat races leading up to the B Main and A Main Events. When the battle was over and the dust settled the South had come out the winner in front of a near capacity crowd by a score of 77-62. The 18 scratch heat races which each included two South riders and two North riders were scored 4 points for the winner, 3 points for second, 2 for third and 0 for fourth and then combined for a team score that carried over into the main events as the scoring increased. Competition was fierce as the teams raced against each other.

Heat 15 thrilled the crowd as Billy Janniro riding for the South, rode on the outside of the track up against the wall on the straight-aways in an effort to get around the skillful Bart Bast of the North on the inside. Janniro was able to pull it off and picked up the 3 points. Kenny Ingalls went out of the competition after a crash into the wall in heat 11 and was unable to finish the evening. At the end of the heat races the South led by a score of 63-45.

In the B Main Event for the South, Charlie Venegas lined up in lane one and Tyson Burmeister was in lane three. For the North Greg Hooten was in lane two and Bryce Starks was in lane four, as the North desperately tried to pick up more points heading in the A Main Event. Hooten and Starks rode impressively as Hooten picked up a first place finish and Starks notched second place, giving the North seven more points, though the North's hope of repeating wins in 2008 and 2007 seemed dim.

The A Main was set with North riders Bart Bast in lane one, and Tommy Hedden in lane three. South riders had Billy Janniro in lane two, and Jimmy Fishback in lane four, as the tapes went up. Janniro's skillful riding kept Bast just a bike length behind as he used the entire track, inside and out, to pull off the win. Bast finished second, Hedden third, and Fishback was fourth, as the South wrapped up a very impressive win picking up ten more points and cinching the 2009 North vs. South title.

The overall score now stands at eleven North wins and eight South wins. Since 2000 the North has dominated the challenge and the South’s Friday night win is bragging rights for at least one year. Auburn’s Bart Bast holds the distinction of having ridden in more North vs. South contests than any other rider. Bast has ridden in every race except one when an injury kept him out. Bast also has scored the most points in the North vs. South events and has won three main events. Billy Janniro took the checkered flag in every race he rode Friday night for the South and has won the most North vs. South main events as he picked up his fourth Friday night. It was an exciting night of racing as the classic duel continues. "The North vs. South Challenge is very popular with Fast Friday’s fans, it’s a classic event and the riders really have a good time also," said Fast Friday's promoter David Joiner. "It's good team racing, and everybody just loves it."

Score after 18 Heat Races North-45 South-63
Score after B Main North-52 South 67
Score after A Main (Final) North 62 South 77

A Main: 1. Billy Janniro 2. Bart Bast 3. Tommy Hedden 4. Jimmy Fishback
B Main: 1. Greg Hooten 2. Bryce Starks 3. Tyson Burmeister 4. Charlie Venegas

Photos By Michael Kirby

Bart Bast on Pole Bart Bast, right, gets set to go out of Gate 1 during the A-Main final Friday during the Civil War Challenge.
Billy Janniro Billy Janniro leads the pack around the turn on his way to a heat-race victory Friday night at the Gold Country Fairgrounds during the Civil War Challenge. Janniro won every race he was in, leading the South team to victory.
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