Desert Empire Fairgrounds
2009 High Desert Spring Festival Championship
May 15, 2009 - Ridgecrest
By: Ryan Evans
Shaun Harmatiuk won all five of his races, including the main event to take home the High Desert Spring Festival Championship at the Desert Empire Fairgrounds in Ridgecrest.
The start of the main event was delayed when Buck Blair went into the tapes and was penalized. On the second try, Harmatiuk made the best start, but former Youth National Champion Jason Ramirez found more traction exiting turn two and ran into the leader. Ramirez went down hard, but was able to get up and restart. Harmatiuk made the best start on the third attempt with Ramirez in tow. The 17 year old gave chase after the leader, but was unable to significantly close the gap. Harmatiuk was first to the checkered flag, Ramirez finished second, Austin Novratil was third, and Blair finished fourth.
Ramirez began the evening with an impressive win over Blair. Harmatiuk was awarded the victory in the second heat after a fallen rider brought out the red flag. Blair fended off the charge of Tyson Burmeister in heat three for his first win. Harmatiuk and Ramirez twice traded the lead in the fourth heat with Harmatiuk getting the victory in the end.
The next heat required two restarts but the third attempt was the best speedway race of 2009. Former Northern California Champion John Houston, in his first race in several years, was the initial leader, but his three young opponents all took aim at the lead. Houston, Dale Facchini, Tyson Burmeister, and Ramirez all raced in tight formation swapping the lead and other positions several times and brought the crowd to life. In the end it was Ramirez leading Houston across the line for the win.
Harmatiuk beat Blair for his third straight win in the next heat. Blair came back to win the next heat in front of Dale Facchini. Novratil appeared destined for his first win, but lost a chain about 20 yards short of the finish and handed the win to Harmatiuk. Novratil held off Houston in the final heat to earn a spot in the main.
Houston led the Consolation from start to finish with Facchini getting second and Burmeister coming in third.
Josh Abbott carved his way through the field from the 30 yard line and ran away with the Support Handicap Main Event. Tim McGrath finished second, Kris Harlow was third, Jeff Remington finished fourth, and Robert Fiesler was fifth.
Abbott doubled his pleasure by getting the best start in the Second Division Main Event and leaving everyone in his wake en route to the victory. Fiesler was second, Remington finished third, and Bubba Vazzana was credited with fourth.
After falling hard in the first attempt, McGrath got off the deck and made a dramatic last-corner pass on Harlow to win the Third Division Main Event. Tony DeAlmeida finished third, and Remington was fourth.
Not to be outdone by her father, Ally McGrath started a half-lap behind, but caught up to and passed Dakota Shockley to take the win in the Pee Wee Main Event.
The High Desert Spring Festival is the first of five speedway events in Ridgecrest being held by Steve Evans Promotions. The next event will be the Firecracker Derby on Saturday, July 4.
Pee Wee Main Event
186 - Ally McGrath
34 - Dakota Shockley
Support Handicap Main Event
141 - Josh Abbott 30
186 - Tim McGrath 30
255 - Kris Harlow 10
252 - Jeff Remington 20
106 - Robert Fiesler 30 (fell, remounted)
Third Division Main Event (restarted)
186 - Tim McGrath 30 (penalty line)
255 - Kris Harlow 10
157 - Tony DeAlmeida 10
252 - Jeff Remington 30 (fell, remounted)
Second Division Main Event (restarted)
141 - Josh Abbott
106 - Robert Fiesler
252 - Jeff Remington
274 - Bubba Vazzana (non starter)
First Division Scoring 1 2 3 4 T
8j – Austin Novratil 0 1 2 3 6
11n – John Houston 2 2 F 2 6
19 – Dale Facchini 1 1 0 2 4
39 – Buck Blair 2 3 2 3 10
66 – Jason Ramirez 3 2 3 R 8
86 – Neil Facchini 0 1 0 0 1
110 – Jon Stasiefski 0 R 1 1 2
139 – Shaun Harmatiuk 3 3 3 3 12
184 – Tyson Burmeister 1 2 1 1 5
1: Ramirez, Blair, Burmeister, N.Facchini
2: (awarded) Harmaituk, Houston, D.Facchini, Stasiefski (fell)
6: Blair, Burmeister, D.Facchini, Novratil
7: Harmatiuk, Ramirez, N.Facchini, Stasiefski (retired)
9: (restarted twice) Ramirez (penalty line), Houston, Burmeister (penalty line), D.Facchini (penalty line)
10: Harmatiuk, Blair, Novratil, N.Facchini (fell, remounted)
14: (restarted) (awarded) Blair, D.Facchini, Stasiefski, Houston (penalty line) (fell)
15: Harmatiuk, Novratil, Burmeister, Ramirez (retired)
17: (restarted) Novratil, Houston (tape penalty), Stasiefski, N.Facchini (penalty line) (fell)
First Division Consolation (restarted)
11n - John Houston
19 - Dale Facchini
184 - Tyson Burmeister
86 - Neil Facchini (penalty line)
110 - Jon Stasiefski (retired)
First Division Main Event (restarted)
139 - Shaun Harmatiuk
66 - Jason Ramirez
8j - Austin Novratil
39 - Buck Blair (tape penalty)