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Costa Mesa Speedway
Orange County Fairgrounds
Costa Mesa, California

Costa Mesa Fair Derby
July 15, 2011
By: Ryan Evans

Former World and National Champion Billy "The Bullet" Hamill added another title to his prodigious trophy case by winning the 39th annual Orange County Fair Derby Championship in front of a large crowd at the world famous Costa Mesa Speedway.

Hamill lined up in gate three for the main event but inside him were two undefeated racers, National Champion Billy "The Kid" Janniro and Josh Larsen. Hamill made the best start and was able to get across the Janniro and Larsen entering turn one. As they rounded the bend Janniro pushed Hamill wide and tried to force his way into the lead. Hamill was having none of that and closed the door on the back straight and both riders entered turn three so far to the inside that Janniro had to place his front wheel on the infield just to make the turn. Both racers fought fiercely through the corner and drifted a little wide exiting turn four. Larsen saw opportunity and tried to blast up the inside, but Hamill was able to cut off his path and stay in front in turn one while Janniro went to the outside in search of traction. The three racers remained in a triangular formation through the second lap, but Janniro slid off in wild fashion in turn three. Hamill stretched his lead the final two laps and was first to the checkered flag to secure his first Fair Derby Championship. With his victory, he joined Bruce Penhall as the only riders to win the World Championship and the Fair Derby. Larsen finished second, eight-time Fair Derby Champion "Flyin" Mike Faria was third, Dukie Ermolenko finished fourth, and Janniro was credited with fifth.

Janniro kicked off the heats with a victory over John "Mongoose" Marquez. Larsen beat Aaron Fox in the second heat. Michael Raines impressively beat Faria in event three. Five-time Fair Derby Champion Bobby "Boogaloo" Schwartz beat 2009 Fair Derby Champion "Fast" Eddie Castro in the next heat. Hamill began his evening by beating Ermolenko. 2008 Fair Derby Champion Jimmy "Little Animal" Fishback beat two-time Fair Derby Champion Shawn "Mad Dog" McConnell to end round one.

Round two started with Janniro using a savvy cutback move on Austin Novratil to take the lead at the end of lap one and then running away with his second straight win. Larsen beat Tommy Hedden for his second win in a row. Dale Facchini defeated "Nasty" Nate Perkins in event 12. Schwartz made it two for two with a win over Marquez. Hamill's second consecutive win came at the expense of Castro. Ermolenko finished the second round by beating McConnell.

Janniro opened the final round by trapping from the outside and holding off Ermolenko to remain perfect. Larsen made it three straight wins by beating Fishback. Faria beat Novratil for his first win. Perkins beat Hedden in event 22. Hamill matched Janniro and Larsen by beating Tyson Talkington for his third win. Facchini made it two wins in a row by defeating McConnell to end the heats.

Larsen held off Hamill in a battle of undefeated racers to win the first semi, but Hamill would still join him in the main. Ermolenko took the initial lead of the second semi, but Janniro took over at the end of lap one and never looked back. Ermolenko finished second to join him in the main event. Faria used the outside on the first lap to take the lead and win the Last Chance to complete the five-rider main event field.

Gabe Price scored the biggest win of his career by putting together four smooth laps to win the Fair Derby Support Main Event. Brandon Leedy chased Price the entire distance but finished second, Rudy Laurer was third, Carl Gazafy finished fourth, and Rohn Zellner was fifth.

The Fair Derby was held on the Opening Night of the annual Orange County Fair, which is held on the fairgrounds on which Costa Mesa Speedway runs its events. It always attracts a large crowd and is also a showcase for speedway to potentially gain new fans because all fair patrons are admitted free into the speedway venue.

The Orange County Fair continues until August 14. Therefore, the next event at Costa Mesa Speedway should also draw a large crowd because it is Harley Night on Saturday, August 20. It will include the ever-popular street-legal Harley races.


Support Main Event
113 - Gabe Price
151 - Brandon Leedy
182 - Rudy Laurer
176 - Carl Gazafy
163 - Rohn Zellner (tape penalty)

First Division Heat Scoring123T
1 – Billy Janniro 44412
2 – Josh Larsen 44412
6 – Shawn McConnell 3339
9 – Mike Faria 3249
11 – Bobby Schwartz 44210
13 – Nate Perkins 0347
14 – Eddie Castro 3328
15 – Dukie Ermolenko 34310
17 – Robbie Sauer 1R 12
18 – Justin Boyle 1023
19 – Dale Facchini 24410
22 – Mike Bloom 1225
23 – Steve Russell 1113
24 – Bobby Krips 1Nr23
25 – Jimmy Fishback 4239
27 – Austin Novratil E336
28 – Joey Holt 2114
39 – Buck Blair 0000
40 – Tommy Hedden 1337
41 – John Marquez 3306
46 – Aaron Fox 3F03
48 – Tyson Talkington 2237
63 – Michael Raines 4116
66 – Jason Ramirez 2125
98 – Doug Nicol 2215
104 – Billy Hamill 44412
120 – Doug Greyson 0F00
141 – Josh Abbott 0101
293 – Rick Valdez 0000
389 – Ryan Tovatt 2215

Race Results
1: Janniro, Marquez, Ramirez, Krips, Blair
2: Larsen, Fox, Nicol, Bloom, Perkins (tape penalty)
3: Raines, Faria, Holt, Russell, Greyson
4: Schwartz, Castro, Tovatt, Sauer, Abbott (fell, remounted)
5: Hamill, Ermolenko, Talkington, Boyle, Novratil (engine failure)
6: Fishback, McConnell, Facchini, Hedden, Valdez
10: Janniro, Novratil, Fishback, Sauer (retired), Greyson (fell)
11: Larsen, Hedden, Talkington, Abbott, Blair
12: Facchini, Perkins, Faria (tape penalty), Ramirez, Boyle
13: Schwartz, Marquez, Nicol, Russell, Valdez
14: (restarted) Hamill, Castro, Bloom, Raines (penalty line), Krips (non starter – restart)
15: (awarded) Ermolenko, McConnell, Tovatt, Holt, Fox (fell)
19: Janniro, Ermolenko, Boyle, Raines, Marquez (fell, remounted)
20: Larsen, Fishback, Bloom, Tovatt, Valdez (fell, remounted)
21: Faria, Novratil, Krips, Holt, Blair
22: Perkins, Hedden, Schwartz, Sauer, Fox
23: Hamill, Talkington, Ramirez, Russell, Greyson
24: (restarted) Facchini, McConnell, Castro, Nicol (penalty line), Abbott
Semi #1: Larsen, Hamill, McConnell, Castro, Facchini (engine failure)
Semi #2: (restarted) Janniro, Ermolenko, Schwartz, Faria (fell, remounted), Fishback (retired)

First Division Last Chance
9 - Mike Faria
6 - Shawn McConnell
14 - Eddie Castro
11 - Bobby Schwartz (retired)

Fair Derby Main Event
104 - Billy Hamill
2 - Josh Larsen
9 - Mike Faria
15 - Dukie Ermolenko
1 - Billy Janniro (fell)

Past Fair Derby Champions
1970 – Bill Cody
1971 – Sonny Nutter
1972 – Rick Woods
1973 – not contested
1974 – not contested
1975 – Mike Curoso
1976 – Bruce Penhall
1977 – not contested
1978 – Bobby Schwartz
1979 – Alan Christian
1980 – Mike Muntean (handicap race)
1981 – Lance King
1982 – Mike Bast
1983 – Kelly Moran
1984 – John Sandona
1985 – Robert Pfetzing
1986 – Mike Faria
1987 – Mike Faria
1988 – Shawn McConnell
1989 – Steve Lucero
1990 – Bobby Schwartz
1991 – Phil Collins
1992 – Mike Faria
1993 – Bobby Schwartz
1994 – Bobby Schwartz
1995 – Steve Lucero
1996 – Robert Pfetzing
1997 – Shawn McConnell
1998 – Bobby Schwartz
1999 – Mike Faria
2000 – Charlie Venegas
2001 – Josh Larsen
2002 – Mike Faria
2003 – Mike Faria
2004 – Mike Faria
2005 – Mike Faria
2006 – Bryan Yarrow
2007 – Ricky Wells
2008 – Jimmy Fishback
2009 – Eddie Castro
2010 – Buck Blair

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