San Bernardino County Fairgrounds
April 18, 2009 - Victorville
By: Ryan Evans
“Battling” Buck Blair took home the First Division Main Event victory, his first in 2009, at the Holeshot Challenge at Wheel2Wheel Raceway in Victorville.
Blair’s undefeated evening gave him first gate choice for the main event, with which he picked gate four. Charlie “The Edge” Venegas, making a rare appearance at Wheel2Wheel Raceway, had second choice and picked gate three. Tyson Burmeister then picked gate two, which left Jason Ramirez with gate one.
Burmeister beat his competitors to turn one, but Blair swept around the outside and emerged from turn two with the lead. Ramirez tried to claim second from Burmeister but was unable to find his way past on lap one. Blair stretched his lead while Burmeister continued to have his hands full with Ramirez. Ramirez went to the outside in turn three, but found too much traction and headed toward the fence. He laid his machine down but slid into the fence with his back taking the brunt of the blow. The race continued, but the positions remained the same. Blair cruised to the victory, Burmeister finished second, and Venegas was third. Ramirez was tended to my medical personnel, but suffered no broken bones and was not transported.
The evening also featured the Holeshot Challenge, a competition to see which rider is the fastest starter. Each race ended at a temporary chalk line at the exit of turn two. The winners of the three heats would transfer directly to the Holeshot Challenge Final with second place going to a Last Chance. Venegas won the first heat with Ramirez going to the Last Chance. John Marquez won the next heat with Brad Sauer going to the Last Chance. Blair took the final heat with Robbie Sauer getting second. Ramirez won the Last Chance to fill the Holeshot Challenge Final.
The Holeshot Challenge Final was contested under last-man-out rules. Blair, certainly one of the favorites to win, uncharacteristically touched the tapes, and was excluded. The first time the tapes actually rose it was Venegas who found himself at the back and eliminated. That left Ramirez and Marquez for the final challenge. Ramirez exploded off the line first and defeated Marquez to win the Holeshot Challenge Final.
The first round of heats greeted the riders with some tricky track conditions. Blair held off Burmeister to win the first heat. Former National Champion Scott Brant beat Brad Sauer in the next heat.
The third heat got as far as turn one before Austin Novratil went straight into Neil Facchini and forced both riders into the turn two wall and shortened both bikes significantly. Novratil withdrew from the meeting while an irate Neil Facchini borrowed a bike from his brother for the restart. Venegas kept Ramirez at bay for his first win. After the race, Facchini elected to withdraw from the meeting.
Blair started round two by defeating Dale Facchini and Venegas. Brant was leading the next heat, but was under immense pressure from Ramirez. The former Youth National Champion stalked the leader for two laps before going to the high-banked outside and made a spectacular pass around Brant for the lead and the win. Burmeister posted his first win ahead of Brad Sauer to end round two.
The third round began with Burmeister withstanding all of Ramirez's challenges for his second victory. Blair remained perfect with a win over Brant. Venegas ran away with the victory in the final heat.
In the first semi Blair and Ramirez were one-two, but Brant challenged Ramirez on the outside. Brant’s attempts were unfruitful for a lap and his bid ended when he slid off on the third lap. Blair and Ramirez cruised into the main event from there. Venegas won the second semi and was followed into the main event by Burmeister. Brant romped to victory in the First Division Consolation, but a spirited battle for second between the Sauer Brothers ended when Brad Sauer lifted on the back straight on the final lap and slid into the turn three wall. He was uninjured, but disappointed at not defeating his brother.
Drew Coats continued to impress by romping to victory in both of his heats and by winning the Second Division Main Event. Rick Fehrman finished second, Rohn Zellner was third, Steve Bowen finished fourth, and Bubba Vazzana was fifth.
Bander Alexander made an auspicious debut by leading from start to finish and won the Third Division Main Event. Tony DeAlmeida was second, Tim McGrath finished third, Gene Stone was fourth, Paul Thornton finished fifth, and Rick Huspek was sixth.
Maxwell Ruml led the Youth Main Event before Samuel Ramirez charged up the inside to take the lead. Samuel Ramirez was first to the checkered flag, Ruml finished second, and Nicky Reimer was third.
Reimer overcame a half-lap handicap to win the Pee Wee Main Event. Summer Fehrman finished second, Jayden Fields was third, and Dakota Shockley finished fourth.
The evening was dedicated to the memory of Speedway Billy, the brother of racer Rick Huspek and a very dedicated and beloved speedway fan who passed away last week. A moment of silence was held in his honor prior to the races and Blair dedicated his main event victory to him.
The next event at Wheel2Wheel Raceway is the Pit Stop Contest on Saturday, May 2.
Pee Wee Main Event
41 - Nicky Reimer
8 - Summer Fehrman
689 - Jayden Fields
34 - Dakota Shockley
Youth Main Event
22 - Samuel Ramirez
356 - Maxwell Ruml
41 - Nicky Reimer
Third Division Main Event
298 - Bander Alexander 0
157 - Tony DeAlmeida 10
186 - Tim McGrath 20
231 - Gene Stone 10
124 - Paul Thornton 10
226 - Rick Huspek 10
Second Division Main Event
195 - Drew Coats 10
240n - Rick Fehrman 10
163 - Rohn Zellner 20
177 - Steve Bowen 20
274 - Bubba Vazzana 10
Holeshot Challenge Heat #1: Venegas, Ramirez, Burmeister (fell)
Holeshot Challenge Heat #2: Marquez, B.Sauer, Brant
Holeshot Challenge Heat #3: Blair, R.Sauer, D.Facchini
Holeshot Last Chance: Ramirez, B.Sauer, R.Sauer
Holeshot Challenge Final
66 - Jason Ramirez
41 - John Marquez
43 - Charlie Venegas
39 - Buck Blair (tape exclusion)
First Division Heat Scoring 1 2 3 T
8j – Austin Novratil N - - 0
10 – Scott Brant 3 2 2 7
17 – Robbie Sauer 1 1 1 3
19 – Dale Facchini 1 1 1 3
21 – Brad Sauer 2 2 1 5
39 – Buck Blair 3 3 3 9
41 – John Marquez 0 0 2 2
43 – Charlie Venegas 3 2 3 8
66 – Jason Ramirez 2 3 2 7
86 – Neil Facchini 1 - - 1
110 – Jon Stasiefski 0 1 0 1
163 – Rohn Zellner 0 0 - 0
177 – Steve Bowen 0 - - 0
184 – Tyson Burmeister 2 3 3 8
5: (restarted) Blair, Burmeister, R.Sauer, Marquez
6: Brant, B.Sauer, D.Facchini, Stasiefski (tape penalty)
7: (restarted) Venegas, Ramirez, Facchini, Novratil (non starter)
12: Blair, D.Facchini, Venegas, Zellner
13: Ramirez, Brant, R.Sauer, Marquez (fell, remounted)
14: Burmeister, B.Sauer, Stasiefski (tape penalty)
19: Burmeister, Ramirez, R.Sauer, Bowen
20: Blair, Brant, B.Sauer, Zellner
21: Venegas, Marquez, D.Facchini, Stasiefski (tape penalty)
Semi #1: Blair, Ramirez, Brant, R.Sauer
Semi #2: Venegas, Burmeister, B.Sauer, D.Facchini
First Division Consolation
10 - Scott Brant
17 - Robbie Sauer
19 - Dale Facchini (fell, remounted)
21 - Brad Sauer (fell)
First Division Main Event
39 - Buck Blair
184 - Tyson Burmeister
43 - Charlie Venegas
66 - Jason Ramirez (fell)